A Stroll Through Tsukiji Market
For hundreds of years, Tsukiji market has been said to be the most celebrated food destination in Tokyo. The Tsukiji tour is not all about tuna auction, but it covers the world cheapest delicious sushi sampling, controversial big whale species tasting, plus a visit to traditional Japanese kitchenware suppliers that have been around for generations. There are tons of particular vocation experiences that make the site worth visiting once in a life time.
One Tuesday in late morning, the Outer Market already started to get busy. Tourists from different parts of the world were dragging luggage behind themselves as they sauntered along the alleys. Groups of local businessmen in their black suits were chatting, discussing where and what to eat. Some active local housewives inspected expensive abalone and other catch of the day seafood. Rosy cheeks kids stared in bewilderment at the gigantic alive Alaska Crabs at the bottom of the fish tank.
It was a bit too early for the lunch so I decided to have something to snack on while strolling along the market. With people stood in a line like crazy, I knew I have to try this popular Tamogoyaki, a Tsukiji staple. There were probably 20-25 people patiently lining in front of me, however surprisingly it took less ten minutes to get my order. Ladling on top of the egg roll was thin savory sauce and some freshly grated daikon to balance out the flavor of the mildly sweet juicy egg roll. It was still piping hot and obviously fresher than the regular supermarket type.
Looking at the busy crowd in the tiny passage; I felt discouraged. However, at the end I decided to continue. Not far way, I spotted little shops offering super fresh seafood, such as tiger prawn, blue crabs, and fish; actually most of them were still moving. I eyed for raw oysters on the half shell sitting on a mountain of crushed ice. They were portable and really tempting. I was reluctant at first as each cost me as much as a good bowl of soba noodles in a stand stall. However, it was fresh with supreme quality. The simple ponzu sauce gave a kick to the dish making it even more delicious.
As I moved deeper, the air was suddenly filled with pungent smell. I peered into the narrow lane and found 5-6 dried seafood shops lined in a row. There were large dried fish hung from the ceiling while dried squid, dried shrimp and dried scallop were neatly packed, sealed in clear plastic bag with the price stickers. The local customers circled in front of the shops selecting their seafood ingredients.
A glance at my watch confirmed that it wasn’t the lunch time yet, but my stomach started to rumble. “Irasshaimase.” A young restaurant staff greeted me in the merry voice. She was a small cheerful woman with sparkling light brown eyes. Though, I‘ve never been to this serene sushi bar before but the happy worker says a lot about the business; so I decided to dine here. According to my preference, I ordered Kaisendon, a rice bowl which an assortment of fresh seafood were placed on top of sweet tangy sushi rice. When my servings arrived on the table, I noticed that the colors and flavors were carefully selected to complement the dish. The sashimi was fresh with an exquisite taste. The green shiso leave and freshly grated wasabi gave the dish a fresh and zippy note with an extra source of vitamins. Accompanied with the dish was a bowl of rich shrimp head soup. The dish simply filled me up in no time.
These were just some great food at Tsukiji market.
Where to Eat
Plenty of Kaisendon vendors dotted in the market. The price ranges from 600 to 3,000 yen, depending on the toppings. Every single visit, I usually tried a new restaurant and I would say all of them offered the best quality sashimi. Therefore you can choose wherever appeals to you.
3 minute walk from Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway Line.
3 minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line.
The operating hours of the shops in the Outer Market vary, starting from 5.00 to 14.00.
The Tsukiji Market, both the Inner and the Outer Market, are closed on Sundays, national holidays and occasionally on Wednesdays. (See http://www.tsukiji.or.jp/english/ for more information.)
- Tsukiji is a business district for professionals so some vendors are not comfortable being taken pictures, some even have zero tolerance to photography. Hence, please ask for permission.
- In spring 2016, shortly before the planned transfer, 61 of the Tsukiji market intermediary wholesalers are scheduled to relocate to the new market at Toyosu. However, the vendors at the Outer Tsukiji Market will stay at the current location. The two sites will coexist.