This post is written by Daniel Foster, founder of Pixsy, as a part of our “Pixsy Travels” series. In this post, Daniel covers the particularities of photographing Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan.

Tsukiji Market is the world’s largest wholesale fish market, known to handle over 2,000 tons of marine products per day. With its remarkable fast-paced atmosphere, legendary tuna-auction, and more kinds of fish that you can possibly imagine (or even knew existed), Tsukiji Fish Market is a must-see destination for any photographer visiting Tokyo.

Getting there

The fish market is a short walk from Tsukijishijō Station (Toei Ōedo Line) adjacent to the central Ginza district.

Show up as early as possible. I arrived at 7:00 a.m and the market was kicking out tourists at 9:00 a.m. If you show up around 3:00 a.m. you can even see the famous live tuna auction. The market is open on most days, and you can check the calendar here to verify before you make the pre-dawn trek.

Quick photography tip: Bring a fast lens and watch out for moving vehicles!

Tokyo-Tsukiji-Fish-Market-EntranceThe Tsukiji fish market is first and foremost a workplace for thousands of people, and it’s easy to get run over. I found myself carefully weaving between freight transporters, workers, and trucks. Your photography will certainly be the least of anyone’s priorities.

Tsukiji-Fish-Market-Tokyo-Fresh-produceThe outer part of the market is host to a number of other vendors and shops. Things don’t get fishy until you walk into the inner parts.

Tsukiji-Fish-Market-Tokyo-boxes-stacked-warehouseThe fish market is an endless maze of alleys, stalls, and stacks of boxes. Careful, it’s easy to get lost!

Tsukiji-Fish-Market-Tokyo-tuna-japanFish start appearing once you reach the section of the market closest to the water.

Tsukiji-Fish-Market-Tokyo-tuna-02A lot of work goes into preparing fish for the market.

Tsukiji-Fish-Market-Tokyo-tuna-fish-cutting-japanThis definitely is not a good place for the squeamish. You’ve been warned, it is no Tokyo Disneyland.

Tsukiji-Fish-Market-Tokyo-tuna-OctopusThe market will be moving to the outskirts of the city in November 2016 to free up valuable real estate. Don’t miss your chance to visit it in its full glory!

What to see around the Tsukiji Fish Market

After your visit to the Tsukiji Market, you can grab a bite at the famed Sushidai restaurant. Expect to wait 3-6 hours in line for the privilege. I opted for another sushi restaurant that was less popular, but I assume the wait at Sushidai is worth it.

You can also walk to the nearby Nakagin Capsule Tower, a staple of the Metabolist movement. Each capsule is a one-bedroom micro-apartment, and architect Kisho Kurokawa designed the building in such a way that the capsules can be removed from the central infrastructure and replaced — just like Legos.

Nakagin-Capsule-Tower-TokyoOverall, visiting and photographing the Tsukiji Market is a truly exhilarating experience, worth the time of any photographer. Portrait photographers will find plenty of characters to capture, street photographers will enjoy its fast-paced action, and still-life masters will get an unlimited range of unique objects to choose from.

Gear I used while photographing the Tsukiji Market


Post by Daniel Foster, founder of Pixsy and professional photographer. Aside from fighting image theft, he travels the world to capture landscapes, moments, and people.