Many go in the wee hours of morning to watch the bidding for the seafood in the "inner market". I've heard that it is pretty interesting.. although the regular tourist will probably not understand a thing. But I really don't know.. because I have never seen it.. nor do I want to really wake up that early in the morning on a vacation..
The "outer market" consist of a mixture of wholesale and retail shops. You can find many shops that sell seafood, vegetables and groceries, Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies and so on. There are also many shops selling semi-processed and cooked food for Japanese housewives to bring home for dinner. I particularly liked these shops.. because you can also buy some of them as snacks to eat as you shop. There are shops that specialises in tamagoyaki (grilled egg rolls) shops, fish cakes, tempura, Japanese pickles, tea leaves etc.. Everything is very interesting.. and delicious looking.
Then of course, there are the restaurants. Tsukiji is particularly famous for fresh sushi and sashimi (of course)... and very surprisingly, ramen. There are always long queues for almost every restaurant at the market that sells these.
My Japanese friend who went to the market with us said that the old coffee shops at Tsukiji market are also pretty popular with the locals..
Hm.. I guess that is the appeal of Tsukiji market. In spite of its fame as a major tourist attraction, locals (whether housewives or restaurant owners) frequent the place too.. and so Tsukiji has its own very unique kind of shopping atmosphere.. a part of it is "showy" and touristy.. and a part of it is just regular life.
The "outer market" - long queues at sushi restaurant, retail stores,
coffee houses and oh.. the first Yoshinoya in Japan is also located at Tsukiji
Chirashi-don for breakfast
A tamagoyaki shop that has free lessons
you can sign up for
Our snack along the way - a very interesting tai-yaki..
only that the shape of the fish is not tai (sea bream) but maguro (tuna)
A cup of good Japanese coffee
after all that shopping..