Tsukiji Fish Market – Tokyo



Visiting Tsukiji Fish Market has been one of the MUST-DOs this trip as time is running out! The market will be relocated in November 2016, to make way for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Well, the initial plan was to queue up and be one of the lucky 120 to watch the Tuna Auction which starts at 5AM. So I was doing all my research and sourcing out on which hotel to stay and blah blah.. and oops, I realised the market wasn’t gonna be open on a Sunday.

Well, I only reached Osaka at 9:30PM on Friday night and if I really wanted to go for the tuna auction, it might mean taking the last train from Osaka to Tokyo and walk 4 subway stations to Tsukiji Market, hopefully in time for the auction. After rationality got into me, the tuna auction was not worth a sleepless night and I guess I’ll have to wait for next time, hopefully before Nov 2016.

Since I couldn’t watch the Tuna Auction, the next best option was to feast on some Sashimi at Tsukiji. (To be honest, I’m still questioning my decision to go for Tsukiji ONLY, instead of my Yasakuni Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya and Skytree..)

I left my Osaka airbnb at approximately 6am, took the 7:26 train from Shin-Osaka; arrived Shinagawa (in Tokyo) at 10:33.

Getting to Tsukiji Market was a huge confusion for me as I walked out of the wrong exit at the subway station. Bought the Toei Subway 1-day Pass, which was a huge mistake, and took the Keikyu Main line and stopped at Higashiginza Station. Maybe it was due to the lack of sleep, I took the wrong exit and I was feeling dumb with google maps and I ended up walking in circles before reaching Tsukiji Market  I kind of walked in circles and I think it took me almost 30 minutes before I reached.

It was a Saturday and the crowd was really no joke.. It was closed to lunchtime when I reach and the atmosphere feels like I’m in chinatown during chinese new year. There were people everywhere and there were obvious shops that were more popular than the rest.

Really regretted not having the luxury of time to queue for the good dishes. There was this egg roll road-side shop which has a really long queue but I had no time to queue!!

In my research, I wrote down a list of popular places to dine at: Sushi Dai, Iwasa Sushi, Sushi Maru, Zanmal and Nakaya. but i forgot to mark out their locations >_< However, judging from the crowd that day, I couldn’t be bothered to visit any ofthe aboDid I end up finding any of these shops? no. The place was too crowded that I can’t even identify my bearings; ended up walking in loops after a while..

Anyway, the brand below has a long queue. No idea if it is good but I guess it should be.

I guess this mega huge tuna on display is a consolation from missing the Tuna auction earlier in the morning. Sighs, poor fish.. It’s execution and dissection had to be public. ouch.

And so.. knowing that I wouldn’t have any time to queue up, I decide to enter a random alley and dine in a “hole in the wall” shop – Tsukiji Itadori Bekkan It’s pretty unknown and the reviews are somewhat mediocre but I decided to give in a try as it doesn’t look like there was any queue. I was so wrong. After I told them i wanted to dine-in, I was brought to join this somewhat camouflaged queue. The wait took me 15 to 20 minutes. Traveling alone definitely has its perks. You are more likely to secure a counter seat.

I was given an english menu to choose from but I have already decided on the set below while I was queuing up. Well, I’m here to try the sea urchin and tuna after all. 2380Y with tax, to be honest, it was pretty steep but blah. I’m already here in Japan. heck it.

And so I secured a gold class seat in front of the chef. To be honest, I think he felt a little irritated with me snapping away with every possible angle =/

Can’t get enough of prawns even though I am overseas.. alright just kidding.

To be honest, I’m not certain on what I ate but here’s a random list: Aji Horse Mackerel or Yellow Tail, Sea Urchin (Uni), Salmon Ikura, Pickles Chutoro or Otoro,  Ika (Squid), Amaebi, Mackerel, Amaebi (or somewhat bigger shrimp).

The tuna was not too bad (but not as perfect as the one at Endo Sushi), it was one of the rare times that I ate Umi and I can’t remember the taste.. except that it tastes like Sea? I also like the raw prawn.. Doubt I will ever dare to do it with the live prawns I see everyday :/ Anyway my conclusion is that this meal.. only deserves a 7/10 rating from me.

Oh, there was free miso soup and green tea included in the meal.

Another table ordered this this and I thought it looked rather interesting though I have no idea what it is, even up till now :/

*Update: One kind reader has commented on my post that this white thing is milt. According to Wikipedia, it refers to the male genitalia of fish when they contain sperm, used as food. I’m so glad I did not order this dish. Looks and sounds gross (I don’t eat pig intestines either) but I guess it is still a Japanese delicacy after all.

Alright, I exited the Tsukiji Market within 1.5 hours as I was really rushing for time. Managed to catch a some rallying before I left.. Does this traditional campaigning method still work in today’s day and age?

Conclusion: If you have only one/half day left in Tokyo, there might be other better things worth doing. Unless you are prepared to queue (likely to be very long) for the famous brands, the remaining brands may taste a little disappointing. Endo Sushi’s standard (in Osaka) was so high that I’m never gonna look at sushi the same way anymore. If you plan to visit. make sure that you exit the right exit or plot your route to the main area.

Also, don’t forget to try out the street snacks. They look and smell really delicious!

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