Part 2: Toyosu Fish Market: Yamaharu Seafood

Today I went to visit one of our main seafood suppliers inside the new Toyosu fish market. The market officially opened its doors to the public on October 11, 2018 after years of delay. It is over 4.4 million square feet, making it the largest indoor market in the world. In here there are over 550 seafood wholesalers and 100 fruit & vegetable traders. Everyday over 2,800 tonnes of seafood, fruit, and vegetables are traded.

As we walk through automatic door at one of the many entrances, we are immediately greeted by electric carts buzzing around the market road, carrying seafood and ice. The market is really huge; we cannot even see the other end of it! We start walking past all seafood stalls all brimming with styrofoam boxes packed with ice and myriad of seafood. I immediately notice how much cleaner and more organized the new market is compared to the old Tsukji market. The whole place is also air-conditioned as all the entrances are sealed with automatic sliding doors, keeping the cool air from escaping. I also notice that the air smells fresh without any seafood or fish smells.

After 10 mins of walking, we finally make it to one of our main seafood suppliers; Yamaharu. As well as supplying most of our seafood to all our restaurants, they also ship fresh seafood to over 30 different countries around the world and are considered to be one of the best seafood wholesalers around. In here we find all sorts of seasonal seafood fresh off the boat, with over 240 different types of seafood and fish. Staff all dressed in blue uniforms, are busy full-filling orders and packing bags full of sea food. Fishmongers are busy gutting, boning, filleting fresh fish to be sent out to restaurants. They use an ancient Japanese technique called Ike-Jime to kill the fish, where they use a long thin wire to sever all the nerve endings along the spinal column in the fish making the meat tender and tastier.

Next we are taken to rear of the Toyosu market where they keep all the live fish. It’s a very noisy area with huge machines buzzing away. Large cooling units keep the water temperatures low, while industrial bubble machines keep the water well oxygenated. In here the fish are kept in specially designed cages that prevent the fish from moving around too much, potentially damaging the meat. This is where all the live fish are kept before being auctioned off to the wholesalers, and also where the fish are kept before being transported live to other countries around the world.

We travel up the elevator to the massive roof garden where we have a beautiful view of Tokyo harbor. This area was specially designed for all the staff to find refuge from the busy market below.

Overall the new Toyosu fish market is an amazing place. The new market is much better than the old Tsukji market, it is so much bigger (almost twice the size), cleaner, and technologically advanced, that really makes a difference to the quality of seafood. I really love the new Toyosu fish market!

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