Tsukiji Fish Market

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Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market is among the most famous tourists destinations in Tokyo. It’s a working seafood market that serves as the wholesaler for restaurants in Tokyo, Japan, and the rest of the world. Walking around the market you can find just about any type of fish, shellfish, or sea creature imaginable. Trolleys speed around, and men chop gigantic tuna with huge knives while chain smoking. It’s not fancy, organized, or calm but it is an interesting experience to see the efficiency of an operation so important to the Japanese economy and cuisine. 

After you’re done gawking at the eels, tuna, and crustaceans, there are a variety of tiny restaurants offering the freshest sushi meal you’ve ever had. We lined up for Sushi Dai on our first trip to Tokyo, years ago. It was purported to have the freshest fish and best set menu. This time, on our last day in the city, we opted (mainly because the line at Sushi Dai was too long) to try a nearby competitor.

Like most of the restaurants in the area, the spot we dined at had a very orderly system for dealing with the queue. A woman came out and handed everyone a laminated menu (in English for us). In addition to the usual sushi, chirashi don, and sashimi, they also had something we hadn't seen or heard of before: Nakaochi Scrape. I suppose they were asked enough about it to also have an explanation (and photo) of what it was right on the menu. Nakaochi is essentially the tuna left over on the bone, after the fish has been filleted. There are restaurants in the market where they will serve the entire rib and you literally just scrape off the meat. The place we ate at served it over a bed of rice with pieces of sashimi. Alas, while our meal was okay, the restaurant we chose just didn’t offer the same welcoming experience and quality of Sushi Dai which we would wholeheartedly recommend waiting for if you can spare the time (and we never recommend waiting in lines).

When you’re done, consider picking up a chef knife or other kitchen utensils from one of the supply stores near the entrance. (Although, a Japanese chef recently told us that Kappabashi was the place to go for these things.)

Some of the pictures below are graphic and intense, so, if you find that you are easily queasy or turned off by meat prep, I'd skip looking at the photos.  It's probably for the best that we ate before going through the market...

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market


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Tsukiji Fish Market


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