Tsukiji Wonderland is the first documentary that CineMatsuri has presented. It tells the story of the most famous fish market in the world through the four seasons. But it is more than just the story of the Tsukiji market. It depicts Japanese business ties and the importance of personal relationships. It also pays homage to Japan's food culture by showing the care that Japan's chefs take in selecting quality fish and in preparing sushi and sashimi for their customers.
Articles and Reviews
"The film preserves on screen the fish market that has been operating for about 80 years at the current location. With an almost religious fervor, some of the country’s top chefs come to the market, where intermediate wholesalers bid for products for their customers, like restaurants and retailers, in competitive auctions, which start before dawn. Over the years, Tsukiji has been dubbed the “kitchen of Japan,” playing an unrivalled role in washoku Japanese cuisine, which has been designated by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage."
"Foodies may struggle to control themselves during Naotaro Endo’s documentary about the famed Tokyo fish market, as the film is packed throughout with drooling close-ups of glistening sushi grade seafood. But Tsukiji Wonderland is more than just food porn, venturing deep into the bowels of this culinary Mecca, to study not only the Japanese love of all things fish, but also their exemplary work ethic and pride in fair trade."
"Even at nearly two hours, the film can't quite do justice to the physical scale of this place while depicting its chef/merchant social scene — it doesn't even mention the crush of tourists that has forced officials to write up new rules, nor does it visit the cafes surrounding the market where you can have a breakfast feast on the freshest sushi imaginable. But it touches on enough specialized parts of the market — and yes, observes the world-famous tuna auctions — enough to make obsessed viewers feel they've got their money's worth, especially if they can't afford to make the trip themselves."