Saturday, May 12, 2012

In Japan - Tsukiji Fish Market

First of all, you can find out more about the famous Tsukiji Fish Market from its official website  ( or many other guides written on the internet or books. It's important to check in advance because:

1) It closes on Sunday and on public holidays. The Fish Market has a calendar (only in Japanese: Don't make yourself travelled all the way Tsukiji only to find out that it's closed.

2) If you are aiming to see the auction, it starts at 5 a.m. and if the maximum capacity has been reached, you will not be able to enter anymore. For more information, you can visit this page ( or according to the market map given free at Tsukiji Fish Market entrance, the reception starts at 5.a.m. and visiting hours is from 5:25 a.m. to 6:15 a.m. Make sure not to miss it!

From Tsukiji Station on Hibiya Line of Tokyo Metro, turn left and just keep going straight. There will not be any sign that says "Tsukiji Fish Market" close to the station but if you follow the direction to Hama-rikyu Gardens you will reach the Fish Market :)

Make a right once you see a huge fish display below:

I left home at 5:30 and when I reached there it was around 6:15 and there was no way I could join the tuna auction and visitors are not allowed to enter the seafood wholesalers area until 9:00 a.m. I was wondering what I could do there when suddenly I saw a very long line of people waiting in front of a sushi restaurant.

It appears that people who brought a guidebook along knows what this place is. I didn't have enough time to do a little research on Tsukiji but might as well try it since I was there, right? It took me about 40 minutes to get a seat.

2 pieces of nigirizushi is roughly 800 yen (very expensive, I should say). There's a set menu for 3500 yen. If I had to wait for such a long time, I had to get something special so I should order the set menu. Or so I thought.

Somehow I was rather unlucky that the chef who prepared my food was a little... blurred of what he's supposed to be doing somehow. Yep. In the middle of eating he totally forgot to replenish my plate with more sushi, and I kept getting the same fish twice. And in the end I didn't get the makizushi that I was supposed to get from the set menu because I think he realized he gave the same thing to me twice.

In any case, the only fish I would recommend here is the chuutoro (fattier part of tuna belly). To be honest, I was a little dissatisfied with the overall experience. I saw quite a number of sushi restaurants nearby, with lower prices. I bet the fish would be equally fresh anyways, so maybe if I ever came back to Tsukiji I'll try those cheaper sushi. With less waiting time :/

Since it's a Fish Market, they only sell fish, right? Nope. They also sell quite a variety of goods there. The vegetables look very fresh to me.

Toys and souvenirs...

And of course, fresh wasabi! I was really tempted to buy it just because I have never had fresh wasabi before. The wasabi we eat at sushi restaurants are actually not wasabi, but colored horseradish. It gives similar anti-bacterial effect but from a little research on the internet it was said that wasabi is supposed to be less offensive than horseradish.

Another shop that attracted me was a wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets and snacks) shop. They're really beautiful and they cost only 150 yen per piece.

Unfortunately I didn't bring enough money and thanks to that expensive sushi I was really tight on budget.

There was a small shrine within the Fish Market called the Suijinja (or water shrine). I can't really read the description but from what I can read the shrine is related to a water god.

I also found shops that sell flowers like chrysanthemum. I'm not sure what they are used for but I think they are used in making wagashi. 

Close to the Fish Market lies another bigger shrine called Namiyoke Inari Shrine.

The lanterns actually said names of foods, like on the bottom right of the picture below. The smaller letters mean "tuna" and "fried egg/omelet". The bigger letters are probably names of shops in Tsukiji, but I'm not too sure about it either.

There was a cute stone that says "egg mound" there.

And while I was there I tried my luck by buying an omikuji (fortune telling paper), and hey, it says "big luck"!! :D

By the time I was done exploring the area around the Fish Market it was already 9 a.m. so I finally could enter the Seafood Wholesalers Area. There were a lot of seafood that I haven't seen before.


And since the main attraction here was maguro (tuna), there were lots of shops selling fresh tuna. They look really gorgeous:

Well, continuing with weird stuffs like Hokkaido hotate:

Tsukiji Fish Market is pretty huge, but it's very easy to navigate around. Plus, there was a big map in English posted at the entrance of the Fish Market.

And if you're the type who probably could get lost easily, the policeman who are stationed at the Fish Market entrance actually gives out a free map of the Fish Market, written in both Japanese and English.

Below is the enlarged version of the map:

Because I came too early no shops were open but as I headed back towards the station I noticed a whole section of shops filled with lots of people. I guess another big attraction in Tsukiji is yakitamago. There were quite a number of yakitamago specialty shops there.

This kushi tamago (egg on a stick) is actually very delicious and it costs 100 yen. If you have the chance and you could find this store (sorry I don't know the exact location because I was just wandering aimlessly this morning), by all means please try it :)

And I'm sorry that my phone failed me at such a critical moment. The picture was blurred >.<

Anther yakitamago shop allows its customer to try making their own yakitamago. It looked fun :)

 And close to the station there's this very delicious-looking gyuudon with very unique sauce.

I want to try it next time I go to Tsukiji (if I have a chance to go back haha). Tsukiji is a very interesting place!


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