Travel Memory: A 3 Hour Wait for Sushi at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market
We have a bit of a love affair with sushi. Rich, light and satisfying, it’s like the perfect paramour. You can never get enough. 😉
Growing up in Canada, we were spoiled with slightly adapted, but still amazingly delicious and affordable versions of this Japanese delight. Admittedly, I’ve never found a spicy tuna or dynamite roll anywhere in Tokyo (do they even exist?), but I still crave them to this day, authentic or not.
The highlight of our 2 day visit to Sao Paulo was not the Brazilian Churrasco, but the all you can eat sushi rodizio we had in the city’s Liberdade district. Granted, it wasn’t the best quality, but hey, we were desperate at the time.
No, for the best sushi in the world (without selling your first born child), a visit to the largest, busiest fish market in the world is in order. At Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, a sushi breakfast at one of the restaurants in the wholesale area is a rite of passage for early morning visitors. And the most coveted seats of all are at humble little Sushi-Dai.
With just 12 counter places available, waits can be long. When hungry and dreaming of sushi, it can feel like an eternity.
Over the course of 3 hours, we slowly inched from the tail end of the line – to the middle – to the front – to the holding pen in front of the restaurant – and finally inside, our stomachs grumbling progressively louder with every minute.
Once we were seated however, the sushi chef carefully selected piece after piece of the freshest fish of the day, and placed it directly on the counter in front of us. The torturous wait was forgotten, as the exquisite flavours of fatty tuna, mackerel and surf clam washed over our tastebuds. The sushi was so mouthwatering, that it scarcely touched the counter in front of me, before it was swept up and devoured.
Visiting Tsukiji Fish Market
When we visited back in 2010, we were able to wander freely through the Market at any time of the day, but since then, strict regulations have been put in place for tourists. In order to prevent accidents and interference with business, visitors are no longer allowed to enter the wholesale market area before 9:00AM, and some areas of the Market are completely off limits.
The exciting tuna auction that’s on most traveller’s must-do lists (not ours, too early!), is now limited to 120 viewers per day, on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning at 5:00AM.
Detailed information about visiting both the tuna auction and the Tsukiji Fish Market in general can be found on the Japan Guide.
Have you ever lined up for an amazing meal? Where was it, and was it worth it? We’d love to hear from you!