Tokyo: 築地市場 (Tsukiji Fish Market)、寿司大 (Sushi Dai)

On Day 2 of our trip, Bill and I woke up early in the morning, around 4am, to catch the first train heading to the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was a weekday (I believe it was a Friday), so we didn’t think there would be that many people, but we were wrong.

We looked a bit lost when we arrived at the entrance of the market, an very nice man who was in his fish truck came up to us and asked us where we were going. We told him we were looking for Sushi Dai and he said he would take us there!

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He asked us to hop onto one of these vehicles that people drive through the market.

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Here we go!

It was a short drive to the restaurant, we hopped off and thanked the very kind man 🙂

When we arrived at the restaurant, there were already lots of people lined up. We were told the typical wait time to get into the restaurant was around 3 hours…

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We ended up waiting for 5 hours.

We chatted with a guy behind us who said he came here to see the tuna auction. He said it wasn’t really exciting and was not as intense as he had expected. He was around our age, maybe slightly older, and just by himself. Very cool guy.

While we waited in line…for 5 hours…Bill and I took turns exploring the market. The market is actually not very big, the parts the tourist are allowed to enter at least, so it didn’t really help kill time.

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There are a couple shops that sold souvenir t-shirts.

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Finally, at this point, the wait time is around 1.5 hours. So close…yet so far…

The restaurant seats around 20 people, and some people sat there reading the newspaper. They seemed like the usual customers who knew everyone and chatted away.

The menu is simple, there are 2 different sets to choose from, or you can order a la carte. Most people go for the more expensive set, which is still really inexpensive considering it was around 3500 yen (roughly $35 CAD) per person.

So, the moment of truth…

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As I put the first piece of tuna sushi in my mouth…Everything I thought I knew about sushi….I could not believe how wrong I was about sushi all along.  The taste, it was mind-blowing.

I believe there were a couple more types of sushi that I didn’t take a photo of (fish roe and tamago (egg)). At the end of the meal, the chef would ask you for an “encore” piece. Basically, you can request another piece of sushi out of all of the ones you just ate and he will also let you choose from a menu. I chose the fatty tuna (1st photo), since it left me with the greatest impression.

The sushi chefs were all really nice and we actually talked about my Japanese. Considering the long wait time to get into the restaurant, there was no sense of urgency inside and you can actually eat comfortably without feeling rushed. When we left, the young chef who prepared our meal was very nice and very apologetic about the wait time, we told him it was the best sushi we had ever eaten 🙂

Well, there it is. The best sushi we had ever had.