Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Market (築地市場, Tsukiji Shijō) is well known as one of the world’s largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day.  It has become a major tourist attraction over the years, so much so that the tourists have become a problem to the businesses in the market.

Therefore, nowadays, the number of visitors to the tuna auction is limited to 120 per day, and tourists who wish to see the auction have to apply at the Osakana Fukyu Center at the Kachidoki Gate, starting from 5:00am on a first-come, first-serve basis.  This means one has to wake up like around 3am or even earlier so that can secure a place at the auction? :O  Trains only start operation from 5.10am daily, & since we don’t stay near to this market, I gave up on the idea that we would be able to view the auction haha.  We decided to visit the Tsukiji Fish Market for a fresh sushi meal after 9am instead. 🙂

To get to the Tsukiji Fish Market, we took the Oedo Subway Line directly from Shinjuku Station to Tsukiji Shijo Station, a 20 minutes journey.  When we arrived at the station, we could already smell the market although we were still underground!  Following the instructions in the station, we took the exit A1 which is just in front of the market main gate.

Exit A1 of Tsukiji Shijo Station

Seriously, we aren’t sure where exactly we were heading to in the market, but it was pretty easy as the wet section was quite empty after 10am & we walked till we see several sushi restaurants and small shops in narrow lanes.  However I think we had missed the action of wholesale area which should be the wet section based on my research online. 😛  Nonetheless browsing through the shops that were open at that time was an eye-opener too……

Map of Tsukiji Market (extracted from http://www.japan-guide.com)

Vegetable stall

It’s my first time seeing the real & raw Wasabi!

“Turret truck” transporting goods around the market

There are essentially 2 rows of sushi restaurants for our selection, but there were a few where long queues formed outside the restaurants.  Were they really good or was it because “monkey see, monkey do”? 😛

As you can see from the pictures above, it was a rainy day (again) but obviously the rain did little to reduce the throng of tourists going to the market for fresh seafood & sushi. 😉  We tried walking a few rounds to see if the queues at these restaurants would shorten, but to no success.  So we gave up & entered one where there was no queue at all haha.

The sushi restaurant we entered, called Ichiba Sushi is very small, in fact we saw that all the restaurants there are small.  Ichiba Sushi can only sit 10-12 people & the seats are actually quite cramped together with customers all sitting in a row facing the sushi chef.  Take a look at what we ordered…… ^o^

The chef preparing our order

Complimentary soup & green tea to warm our stomachs 🙂

The sushi we had. Yummy!

We ordered Unagi sushi, Fish Roe sushi, Tamago, Ebi sushi, Salmon sushi & Tuna Maki (clockwise direction starting from the top left picture).  When we ordered the maki, we thought it should be Salmon.  Only when we sinked our mouths into it did we realised it was Tuna.  Frankly I have never really like to eat or order Tuna as I had always felt it leaves a fishy smell in the mouth, but this one was simply too fresh & tasty!  Oiishi!  I think that was the best item we had, although the other items were also really fresh & yummy too.  Of course this meal did not come cheap, we paid a total of JPY 3,900 (about S$60) for it, my most expensive meal for my entire Tokyo trip!

The restaurant had 2 chefs and the cashier/server, all very approachable.  The male cashier could speak some English & even chatted a bit with us by asking where are we from & took photos for each group of customers in the little restaurant.   Coincidentally we found out that at the other end of the long table was a Singaporean couple & we exchanged greetings.  It was nice to see fellow citizens in a foreign land. 🙂

We enjoyed ourselves at the Tsukiji Market although we didn’t get to see the wholesale market in action, plus we had to carry our umbrellas along due to rainy weather.  Besides the satisfying sushi brunch, my friend bought a big bag of dried seaweed (which she said was value for money) & I also bought myself a nice Japanese floral cap as a souvenir.  Great to have made it here. (^o^)

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