I can’t believe we’re already back in the UK – I still have so much to post about!
Visiting Tsukiji Fish Market seems to be on every list of things to do in Tokyo – its the tourist trap that is desperate not to be. Guidebooks and blogs recommend the tuna auction that takes place at silly o’clock in the morning, but I’ve never been and we skipped it again this time as we were still pretty jet lagged. Instead we went a little later, but still early at 7am, for its famed sushi breakfast. Fish doesn’t come much fresher than at one of the tiny sushi restaurants in Tsukiji, so this is the part of the market for me that shouldn’t be missed.
We arrived and headed straight for Daiwa Sushi, a restaurant I’d seen recommended in a few places. The main sign was in kanji but we could tell which it was because of the huge queue and there’s a small English sign as you get closer. Despite the number of people waiting, the queue moved along fairly quickly and we probably waited about half an hour in the end.
The staff didn’t speak any English so it was a great opportunity to practice my Japanese. We ordered “omakase” which essentially means the chef’s recommendation. That is pretty much how it works for most of these sushi restaurants and they all tend to have a chef’s set menu. I remembered to order mine without wasabi as I’m not a big fan, and the sushi normally comes with wasabi in the sushi rather than on the side.
The chef served our sushi as it was ready so there was a constant flow of sushi to our table as we ate. We had sea urchin gunkan, tuna maki, salmon roe maki, eel nigiri, deliciously melt-in-your mouth fatty tuna nigiri and more. It was all so delicious, which in Japanese is “oishii” and pronounced “o-ee-shee”. Sometimes if it’s really really good they say “umai!”
The main wholesale market isn’t open to tourists until 11, and it really isn’t designed for people milling around. To be honest, there really isn’t that much to see apart from trucks and buggies going about their business. It’s definitely a hive of industry and you have to be mindful that it’s a working wholesale market for the biggest city in the world. If you stray into the wrong area you’re really just getting in the way. So after filling ourselves to the brim with incredible sushi, we left Daiwa Sushi and had a look around the parts of the market that are accessible to tourists. You still get the feel of the market and can see huge tuna, buy fish and other seafood, and see buggies whizzing around, but without feeling like you’re getting in the way.