These photos are not great. All quick snaps on my iphone as we manouvered our way around the vegetable and fish markets with our guide Kyoshi, and tried to avoid getting run over by the tiny trucks that zip all over the place. The aisles are very narrow and, in the fish market, pretty wet and slippery too.
I've been to lots of markets all over the world, but these were certainly something to see and very different to other Asian markets. Very orderly, very quiet (for a market, though we weren't there during the daily tuna auction) with little smell of anything at all, other than diesel fumes from the trucks.
Everything was so packaged. These are wholesale, not retail markets, so I guess it's packaged for transport and there is not the same need to display the enticing wares. I especially couldn't get over how the vegetables were all lined up so neatly. Check out those carrots and rosebuds!
The fish market defintely gave me pause. So much fish and seafood passing through just one market on a daily basis certainly made me question the sustainability of modern fishing: huge octopus tentacles from octopii that must surely be years if not decades old; enormous tuna, much of it frozen and cut into chunks with a band saw and (presumably) sold by the piece; tiny sea urchins by the thousands. The last photo is whale meat. Kyoshi said it is very rare now and not many people eat it.
Outside the market, there are retail stalls and shops, selling all manner of household items, beautiful Japanese knives (sharpened by a master knife sharpener), all manner of dried fishy things, pickled vegetables and of course sushi. A number of places had enormous queues of, Kyoshi told us, tourists from other parts of Japan who were prepared to wait 2 to 3 hours for a table at the sushi restaurant recommended by the guidebook. We went to a little place with no queues and the best sushi I've ever tasted for very reasonable prices.