If you go to Tokyo you MUST do this. Get up at 5am and head on down to Tsukiji Fish Market to see the tuna auction. I must warn you that the workers in the market aren’t all that friendly – I can see why. They are trying to do their job and all these tourists are getting in their way! I had water poured down my leg which irritated me but fortunately my boots kept my feet dry.
Other than the tuna auction, the rest of the market is like any other wet market in Asia so if you’re from Asia you won’t bother with the rest of the market and head straight out for the sushi bar before the rest of the crowds get to it!
There are many sushi bars just outside the market. Some serve fresh nigiri sushi at counters and sashimi, others serve them on a bowl of rice. I joined a random queue (the queues get very long) and opted for sushi at 6.30am. I don’t know if it was a good or bad idea!
First off, the spaces inside the restaurants are tiny and they don’t allow photographs. I tried and got told off in rapid Japanese. They allow you to take pictures of the sushi though, just not of the restaurant. Not sure why.
I had a sushi set of 7 sushi and 1 roll with green tea. There was tuna, squid, prawn, sea urchin and 2 more fish I did not catch the name. We were also served boiled unagi (eel) and a piece of egg omelette (tamago) so all in all, I had 10 pieces of sushi which was very substantial!
I was very wary about the sea urchin but it was delicious! It had a slightly salty taste with the texture of egg custard. Not fishy at all. In fact, none of the fish tasted fishy – thats how fresh they are. Only the squid was blah because the gooey layer coated my tongue which I found unpleasant.
I don’t usually eat tuna here because of the smell, but over there, it was sweet and melted in my mouth. It was 6.30am – I should know if it smells!
The rolls and sushi are made right in front of you and they flavour the fish with sauce so you don’t have to dip them in anything. I was a little wary but it was all good. Didn’t even need wasabi! They put a small bit of wasabi on some of the fish but not all – I think its only if they think its needed.
Boiled Unagi – mmm… even my dining buddy who usually steers clear of unagi wolfed this down!
I saw locals eating there too. If you can read and communicate in Japanese, you can order your own choices. Or just point to what you like and order more of it. For me, I was stuffed with just my 1 set!
A set of 7 sushi + 1 roll cost me 3,500 Yen (about RM133) and most of them only take cash so go prepared. Its expensive but absolutely worth it for taste and experience.
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji-cho, Tokyo, Japan
(Take the Metro to Tsukiji Metro station (Hibiya line) and follow the signs to the fish market – its about 5-10 minutes walk. Once you get to the market its a bit of a maze and you must walk through an area with forklifts so be careful and watch out for vengeful fish sellers pouring water down your pant leg!)