Go on the internet and do a search for a list of “Things To Do In Tokyo” and you can bet that the Tsukiji Fish Market is in every single list out there. After all, it’s the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market not just in Tokyo, not just in Japan, but in the world!
One of the highlights of the Tsukiji Fish Market is the live tuna auction, which opens at 3:30 AM. (That’s right, 3:30 IN THE MORNING!) 60 visitors can join the first batch of the auction between 5:25 AM and 5:50 AM, while the second group of 60 visitors can watch between 5:50 AM and 6:10 AM. Participants of the tuna auction should arrive more than an hour or two ahead of time, though the most ideal time to visit would be as early as between 3:00 to 4:00AM! It’s first come, first served, so really, at Tsukiji Fish Market, the early bird gets the fish!
We’re sure the live tuna auction is cool, but we weren’t too eager to wake up at such an ungodly hour, so we skipped the auction but still made our way to the fish market since we thought it was still worth checking out. Also, there have been talks that the fish market will be moving to a new site in Toyosu by November 2016, so I thought it was best to go there while it was still located in Tokyo.
Before reaching the actual fish market, we passed by a few interesting spots.
We went to the Tsukiji Fish Market with the goal of eating the best f*cking sushi in the world. Surely, every sushi joint in Japan is amazing. In fact, we’ve tried a random sushi joint that was really tiny and didn’t even look so glamorous, but I swear, it was the best sushi I’ve ever had in my entire life. But we also believed that all the restaurants at the Tsukiji Fish Market probably serve nothing but fresh, juicy, and tasty sushi, since they probably get first dibs on the choicest seafood at the fish market. There is this one particular sushi restaurant at the fish market that I really, really wanted to go to– a restaurant called Sushi Dai.
Sushi Dai is known as one of the top sushi restaurants in Japan, and both travelers and locals brave long lines just to have the chance to experience the outstanding sushi being served here. In fact, customers who wish to dine at Sushi Dai endure standing in line for five or even six hours! We arrived at the fish market at around 8:40 in the morning, which is already late in Tsukiji Fish Market standards, so I had a sinking feeling that if we were going to queue up at this famous sushi haven, we were probably going to wait for ages! And I was right! By the time we got there, this is what greeted us:
Just out of curiosity (and to see if, by any chance, we could still secure a table), I approached the first person in line, and asked how long he’s been waiting. He said, “I got here at around 4:00 AM!” That meant that he’s been holding his hunger for four hours! Damn! This sushi must really taste like food for the gods… whatever food for the gods taste like!
No matter how curious we were about Sushi Dai, we also knew that our time in Japan was limited, and it would have been a waste to wait for 5 or 6 hours just for sushi, even if it was, indeed, the best f*cking sushi in the world. Mike told us that they saw a nearby sushi restaurant that seemed promising because there was also a line for it, but significantly shorter than the one at Sushi Dai. So we said “sayonara” to Sushi Dai and moved on to the other sushi restaurant.
This other restaurant had no name, but they did have pictures, and the pictures of the dishes they were offering looked absolutely lip-smacking! The prices were also quite reasonable. We fell in line and readied our tummies for a possibly life-changing sushi experience!
There was a bit of a wait, but it wasn’t so bad, and the line moved pretty quickly. It was only when we were seated when we found out the name of the restaurant: Umai Sushi Kan. A kind, old Japanese waitresses wrote it down for us on a piece of paper. Umai Sushi Kan, like many Japanese sushi restaurants, is small but cozy and fairly spacious. Visitors can either sit at one of the regular tables or at the counter, to get a good view of the sushi chefs as they prepare the food.
Are you ready for some sinful sushi?! Go grab a small towel because the images you are about to see might just make you slobber!
If only I could, I would totally hoard as much sushi from Umai Sushi Kan as possible and stuff them all in my suitcase! Every single item that was served to us was so beautiful, and I unintentionally uttered some profanities as I had a bite of each one because they were just so bloody delicious! Everything literally melted in my mouth! My eyes were closed as I savored each morsel, knowing that I may not get to taste sushi this fresh and flavorful when I go back to Manila. I wouldn’t know if Umai Sushi Kan is the best sushi restaurant in Tsukiji or in Japan, but I am a HUGE fan of sushi, and I do know that the sushi in this place is a game changer! I think I officially became a sushi snob after we ate there, because after that, every other sushi I had when I came home from Japan just couldn’t measure up to the ones I had at Umai Sushi Kan!
Sushi for breakfast is not such a weird concept when at the Tsukiji Fish Market. In fact, mornings are probably the best time to eat at these sushi restaurants, when the seafood are at their most sparkling state. There are plenty of sushi restaurants along and inside the Tsukiji Fish Market, which open as early as 5:30 in the morning, so there are lots to choose from . I’ve only tried Umai Sushi Kan but I definitely recommend it. For the quality of the food, the price was very reasonable and affordable. Anyway, I better end this blog post now because thinking of the yummy sushi we had is torture!
Umai Sushi Kan at The Tsukiji Fish Market
Address: Tsukiji Market Interior Building No. 4, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone Number: 03-3541-2458
Opening Hours: 5:30 AM – 3:00 PM (Weekdays and Saturday); Closed on Sundays
How to Get to the Tsukiji Fish Market:
– From Tokyo Station: Take the Marunouchi Subway Line from Tokyo to Ginza and transfer to the Hibiya Subway Line to get to Tsukiji Station
– From Shinjuku Station: Take the Oedo Subway Line directly from Shinjuku Station to Tsukiji Shijo Station.