See Tokyo's Gigantic Fish Market Before It Closes Next Year

Japan fish market

Photo: Jay Yarow/Business Insider

Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market is the largest in the world, with $15.5 million worth of fish sold there on a daily basis.But the iconic market is about to get even bigger. Tokyo recently announced plans for a new fish market 40 per cent larger than Tsukiji, to replace the 78-year-old landmark that’s become cramped and run-down in recent years.

The city will shutter Tsukiji by the end of 2013, and the fish market will reopen in a new building 1.4 miles away by the beginning of 2014.

Business Insider’s Jay Yarow got to visit the market on a trip to Japan last year. It was buzzing with activity when he arrived at 4:30 AM. Tourists aren’t normally allowed into the market before 9 AM, because they get in the way of the men who are actually selling fish. But he snuck in and snapped photos until he was kicked out.

A fish seller stands alone waiting for the rush to start

Around the edges of the fish market are small diners selling breakfast

Here's another peek inside one of the diners

The chef cooks the meals in the back of the diner

Just outside of the market, you can buy non-fish stuff, like knives

Early in the morning, people start unloading the fish from trucks to take into the market

Notice all those white styrofoam boxes in the foreground? Keep them in mind for later

It seemed like these guys in the small box are the ones that collect the cash

Taking an order

Scooping prawns up for a customer

Sneaking a bite between customers

It's not all men! Just mostly.

A sample of some of the stuff you can buy at the market

Doing business

That huge saw is used to cut up big tuna and other fish

Chatting up a customer

An up-close look at one of the main attractions

You see cool, colourful stuff like this all over the place

Bagging up a squid

A look at the market as dawn arrives

Inside the market there are colourful graphics

The guy on the right does the tuna auctions

A happy seller

This was the only female seller we saw in the whole place

The smoker

Tools of the trade

Cleaning off a knife

A bloody mess

A buck of fish heads

On the cutting board

Big mouth

Wrapping up the fish

By 9:30, people are already starting to clean up

What happens to all of that styrofoam? It's stacked into a huge mountain then tossed out.

Here's the plan for the new fish market. It may be larger, but it will be tough to replace the feel of Tsukiji

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