Everybody has heard of Tsukiji and the world famous fish market that used to be located there. Having moved to Toyosu, the fish market is still the world's largest and commands a respectable amount of attention. It remains a definite destination for visitors.
However, unknown to most of the tourist world, quietly plugging away in Adachi City's southern pocket of Kita-Senju, lies Adachi Market. Operating since 1945, this wholesalers market featuring wholesale, retail and restaurant areas, is a commitment to a gritty normality. It is completely and utterly devoid of any sense of tourism. And being one of the major wholesale markets in Tokyo, the opportunity to visit and see a mini version of the old Tsukiji is simply one too good to pass up.
Most visitors who aren't here for shopping will head towards Uogashi Shokudo, the area of the market dedicated to eating. Having the chance to first explore the market and see the ingredients fresh before you eat them is the thing to do. As for the prices, well, suffice as to say you won't be paying tourist yen here that's for sure.
Time your visit right and you'll also get to sample the wholesaler's area. Usually off limits to the average person, Adachi Markets have a custom where the second Saturday of every odd-numbered month is considered 'market day.' This means that anybody, not just wholesalers, can stop by the wholesaler's section to shop there. If your Japanese is up to par or you have access to someone whose is, you can chat with the staff and pick up little tips on food preparation and seafood selection.
A throwback to a time of intimate trading, Adachi Markets may not rival the size of its more famous cousin but it certainly makes up for it with local authenticity.