After the tea ceremony in my last post, we went to Tsukiji Market – the mother of all fish/seafood markets. This market is actually a massive network of wholesale vendors, narrow alleyways, vendors with various food related goods, and small restaurants serving the very freshest catch of the day. While a very special attraction is the 5AM tuna auction, our trip was in the afternoon right before the vendors had all packed up.
It was amazing how packed the area was even when the fresh fish sales were basically over. The lines for virtually all of th restaurants were 20+ people deep. We popped into a small restaurant on the edge of the market for our lunch. My colleagues opted for fresh mackerel and sushi, I had a very tasty tendon bowl (tempura over rice in a bowl). The prawn was sheer heaven. I am pretty sure tempura is spoiled for me forever – it will never be as good as it is in Japan.
We also went to Namiyoke Inari Shrine which is a shrine to ask for protection and safe voyage, avoiding of misfortune, and for good luck. It was a really nice place to visit in the midst of the busy market area. There is a giant egg statue…. it is there to basically thank eggs for the sacrifices they make to feed so many people.
It was a special time to visit Tsukiji Market because next year portions of the market will actually be moving to a new location under much protest from the local people. It would be like deciding so move the Magnificent Mile in Chicago to the other side of the city, so I can appreciate the protest. The current market location has been serving the Tokyo are since 1935, so there is so much history in the area.