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Ōedo Line: Tsukiji Shijō

In Japanese History on June 25, 2015 at 2:28 am

築地市場
Tsukiji Shijō (Tsukiji Market)

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

So at the beginning of this series, I told you that the Ōedo Line is kinda loop line. It’s not a perfect non-stop loop like the Yamanote Line, though. It has definite starting and stopping points[i]. So far, we’ve made the journey from the outskirts of Edo in Shinjuku all the way to Edo Bay (Tōkyō Bay). For the last couple of stations we’ve been riding off the original coastline and this will be our last stop in Tōkyō Bay. At Tuskiji Shijō Station, we will be turning around and our next station will be on the coastline. Then we will be heading back towards Shinjuku. But the ride won’t stop there. No, we’re gonna head out of Edo – Voyager style[ii]. But don’t worry. We’re still in Edo for a while.

Click on the map to enlarge it.

Click on the map to enlarge it.

If you know anything about Tōkyō, you know probably know about the Tsukiji Fish Market[iii]. This is one of the stations that will take you the largest fish market in the world. You have to go early in the morning, though – like 5 or 6 AM early – if you want to see crazy fish auctions. Why anyone would wake up that early in the morning to look at a bunch of dead, stinky fish is beyond me, but the fish market is a perennial destination for tourists. Oh yeah, people who have to go there to buy fish for their restaurants also go there.

Tuskiji Fish Market was established in 1923, but the current structure was built in the 1930's. The old fish market had stood in Nihonbashi since the 1600's. It was one of the liveliest -- and apparently stinkiest -- places in the old city.

Tuskiji Fish Market was established in 1923, but the current structure was built in the 1930’s. The old fish market had stood in Nihonbashi since the 1600’s. It was one of the liveliest — and apparently stinkiest — places in the old city.

That said, if you walk through the sushi shops in the area at any time of day, you’ll be able to find a restaurants that offer some of the freshest sushi in Tōkyō. A bit of advice: choose a small shop, one with no English signs, and one with only counter service so you can talk to the guys making your sushi. Also, ask them what they recommend for the day. In my experience, they never fail to recommend the most delicious fish they have.

Say hello to Tsukiji Hongan-ji, one of the greatest affronts to the architectural tradition of Japanese Buddhism.

Say hello to Tsukiji Hongan-ji, one of the greatest affronts to the architectural tradition of Japanese Buddhism.

Also in Tsukiji, you can find one of the ugliest temples ever built. It’s pretty unusually so if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth seeing and maybe taking a picture or two. In a previous article, I touched on the history of this temple – as I said in the last article, the history of this area is all linked and it’s better to know the entire history of the area to really have a good understanding of what you’re looking at. The links below will give you the full story.

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This article is part of an ongoing series that starts here.

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[i] The Yamanote Line has official start/stop points, but that will only affect you if you fall asleep on the last train and find yourself being escorted off the train at one of them.
[ii] Givin’ a shout out to all my Star Trek fans.
[iii] And if you don’t know the Tsukiji Fish Market, you are fucked.

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