Umai Sushi Kan at the Tsukiji Fish Market

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.

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Before reaching the actual fish market, we passed by a few interesting spots.

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We came across this sushi restaurant, one of the many at the fish market area. The pictures of the sushi alone were enough to make me drool! I bet they taste just as good as they look!
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Hawthorn fruit candies being sold on the streets
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More dried fruits being peddled on sidewalks near the fish market
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Doraemon and Hello Kitty encourage passersby to have a free taste of sweet or bitter matcha
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The fish market area
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Early morning grind for the workers at the Tsukiji Fish Market
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The fish market has more than just fish! Stalls selling clothes, accessories, snacks, and more can also be found here. Mike was able to buy a shirt from one of the shops.

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Don’t leave Japan without trying the yummy Georgia coffee! It’s a popular coffee brand sold by The Coca-Cola company. Here’s our friend Eric being the new face of Georgia!
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Japan’s high-tech vending machines are so awesome that they can keep beverages either cold or warm. On that chilly day at the Tsukiji Fish Market, we grabbed a can of hot, delicious Georgia coffee from a nearby vending machine to keep us warm.

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:

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Looooooong lines at Sushi Dai

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Eric and Mike are excited to eat sushi!
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Hot tea was served to us in this cool mug with drawings of different kinds of sushi on it. These mugs are for sale. Nice souvenir or gift idea!

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What time is it? Time for some amaaaazing sushi!

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So happy to be sharing this experience with my then-fiancé (now, my husband)
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Chawanmushi (literally “tea cup steam” or “steamed in a tea bowl”), an egg custard dish found in Japan, consisting of an egg mixture flavored with soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, and gingko, among others.
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The chawanmushi is a good appetizer with a subtle taste. Its silken texture also makes it a delight to eat.

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!

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This sensational sushi is what sweet dreams are made of!
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Uni, salmon, and ikura (salmon roe / red caviar)! Oh Lord! Eating these is like experiencing New Year’s in your mouth because it’s like fireworks of flavor and a rupture of velvety goodness!

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At Umai Sushi Kan, you can also get sushi sets, like this one: the Nami Nigiri. At ¥850, you get 13 pieces of sushi plus miso soup. Not bad at all!
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The Herushi Setto (I’m guessing “setto” means “set”?) is also one of the bestsellers. At ¥1,050, it comes with miso soup or a choice between oolong tea or egg custard. The menu says it’s a “healthy set for ladies”!
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If you don’t want to get a set meal, you can also mix and match according to your taste, like what Mike did. He ordered and combined the Crazy Toro Salmon (¥225), Saba (¥170), Salmon Nigiri, Uni Ikura Gunkan (¥335), and Ika Uni Gunkan (¥280).
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The look of satisfaction
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Mike said to me, “I can’t wait to see your face when you have your first taste of sushi in Japan!” Well, here it is!

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The gang was satisfied, that’s for sure!

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.

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13 Comment

  1. wow this looks great. i’m planning to go to japan soon. hope i can taste this when i get there. 🙂

  2. The biggest in the world? Never knew that. What a great place to visit and get some fresh healthy food. For people to stand in line and wait so long must mean it is absolutely worth the wait. Would love to go there.

  3. This is so scenic and I bet the sushi are so delicious since they are so fresh… I am sorry to have missed out on this but hope to be able to visit a similar place like this in the future when I head to Osaka
    Miera Nadhirah recently posted…Respect each other’s’ differences and embrace similarities to make Malaysia perfectMy Profile

  4. This looks like an ultimate food trip experience. I went to Osaka recently and had the best time of my life. Now I am eyeing the rest of Japan including Tokyo. I would love to go to Tsukiji Fish Market and try the food that you ate. They looked delicious. That Hawthorn candies got me curious huh. Never seen anything like it.

  5. I agree with you, when I was planning for our Tokyo trip, I always see Tsukiji Fish Market. But I did not include this in our itinerary because I have kid in tow. I’m pretty sure that he will not wake up before 3AM. 🙂
    Michi recently posted…Rubber StampsMy Profile

  6. Omyyy. That food though!!! My friends went to Japan a few months ago and they were raving about the food. Cant wait to visit!

  7. I had been to Tokyo several times already, but I always miss to go to Tsukiji fish market. I need someone to force me out of my bed for that. The live tuna auction is just too early for me. But yes, at least, it’s the best place to get fresh sushi so, in case one misses it, it’s still a must visit. I’m excited to go here in the future with my bf turned husband.
    Me-An Clemente recently posted…Pappare PH: Fusion Noodles in a Cone Opening This Nov 2016My Profile

  8. Japan is really a must visit country and actually my dream place to visit.Wow, they have such a good idea about the auction sale of fish which I have only heard about it.. You seemed to have a cluster of fun during your visit and enjoying almost everything that Japan has to offer.

    LaiAriel
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits recently posted…CATHAY PACIFIC: How Does It Feel Like To Take Flight With The WORLD’S best AIRLINE?My Profile

  9. Let me start by saying, your pictures are very creatively taken 🙂
    Your experience is very well spoken through your writing and pictures! When I travel to Tokyo, I’m definitely visiting this market! I’m a huge fish eater, hence the biggest market in the world is a definite go-to for me:)

  10. What is visiting to Japan without even trying their iconic sushi , right?
    I only seen and know that Tsukiji is the biggest fish market because of a music video of song that was shot there. I am a big sea food lover being raised and born in Philippines yet still I can not dare eat something raw perhaps I’ll go for their maki instead or give a shot to eating sashimi. After all, they say the best way to learn about one place is to eat it.

    http://www.truebluecebuano.wordpress.com
    Ram Kuizon recently posted…Tumalog falls: A beauty of its ownMy Profile

  11. Nothing like authentic Japanese food! There’s something so raw and crisp about the pictures. It’s like it’s oozing with freshness. I think when I get to Japan, I’ll definitely try this. I heard the Japanese often don’t eat beef, pork or chicken, but seafood. I’m sure I’ll enjoy that part!
    Sam Coronado (@followyouroad) recently posted…Make your own travel blog at PHP 2500My Profile

  12. This post made me drool. The sushi part, oh, how I wish to be able to try that one here too! It’s just that there are only a few sushis sold in the country that isn’t the same as this. I love the market as well. Is that their wet market version? I also like the auction for tuna idea. I bet many visit the place for that.

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