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Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Old Oct 29, 17, 3:25 pm
  #46  
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My wife and I unintentionally stumbled across the place last month (off a cruise ship, and I thought Ginza was a place to visit). The information booth told us the wholesale market was closed on a Saturday but the retail market and eateries were very likely and packed.
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Old Oct 29, 17, 6:25 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Contrary to above posts, Japanese blogs are saying that SushiDai's queue is usually 2-4hrs, sometimes 6-7hrs... that many other places also have long queues. So what's the truth?
It probably depends what time you visit.

My first SushiDai visit was 1.5hr queue, but I started queue'ing at around 5am.

My second (most recent) visit was a 4hr queue, immediately after coming off the 2nd tuna auction session at closer to 6am.

Plus I think the market's popularity has grown quite a bit over the years.

In subsequent visits to Tsukiji I've not bothered to queue for any of the inner market sushi shops, I've just either eaten Tendon or just had some kaisendon in random shops in the outer market.
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Old Oct 29, 17, 7:32 pm
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Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
It probably depends what time you visit.

My first SushiDai visit was 1.5hr queue, but I started queue'ing at around 5am.

My second (most recent) visit was a 4hr queue, immediately after coming off the 2nd tuna auction session at closer to 6am.

Plus I think the market's popularity has grown quite a bit over the years.

In subsequent visits to Tsukiji I've not bothered to queue for any of the inner market sushi shops, I've just either eaten Tendon or just had some kaisendon in random shops in the outer market.
Oh man, 4hr wait starting at 6am?! Actually that's more consistent with (or worse than) what I read on Japanese blogs.

When you've had tendon/kaisendon in the outer market, did you have to wait at all?

When I look up different Tsukiji places on Tabelog, most of them only have 3.1~3.4 rating. I usually take my family to no-name kaiten and other casual sushi places in malls and dept stores that are rated like 3.6, and you never have to wait more than 15min if you go at off-peak hours. My wife loves sushi and sashimi, so I thought I'd take her to Tsukiji. Maybe we'll just forget about it and stick to the free breakfast at the hotel. Plus, I'm not crazy about raw fish and so I can pretty much only have crab-don or some assortment of different appetizers at these kaisendon places. For some reason, Tsukiji only seems to have donburis with sashimi, ikura and uni (unlike other places such as Kanazawa and Hokkaido).
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Old Oct 29, 17, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
My second (most recent) visit was a 4hr queue, immediately after coming off the 2nd tuna auction session at closer to 6am.
Queuing 4 hours for Sushi Dai is well into moronic/imbecile territory.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 2:22 am
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Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
Queuing 4 hours for Sushi Dai is well into moronic/imbecile territory.
Oh I agree entirely. The only reason I even waited that long was, having had a 1.5hr wait at a previous visit, I thought for sure it would be a 2hr queue at most. Then when 2hrs came and went and there were still a dozen people ahead well, I'd already waited 2hrs anyway, didn't want to "waste" it haha.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
When you've had tendon/kaisendon in the outer market, did you have to wait at all?
I've visited Tenfusa at the inner market (tabelog 3.58) and it was ... decent, I guess. Outer market I've tried Itadori (tabelog 3.09) and thought the 3-way (hitsumabushi) kaisendon was nice, but the rest of the items were a little boring. Both places no queue. Also I guess you could always fall back to sushi zanmai but I found it to be a little not to my tastes.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by shuigao View Post
I've visited Tenfusa at the inner market (tabelog 3.58) and it was ... decent, I guess.
Looks great. If we do decide to go, I'll keep an eye out for this place. Love tempura, although my wife's not crazy about fried things.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 8:27 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Oh man, 4hr wait starting at 6am?! Actually that's more consistent with (or worse than) what I read on Japanese blogs.
The easiest way to estimate the waiting time is by counting the people in line. Sushi Dai has 12-13 seats, so it's about an hour wait for every 12-13 people in line plus add in any time you're there before the 5am opening.

Sometimes you go at 4am and there's 10 people in line, sometimes 30... the place has definitely gotten more popular in the last five years, just like many local food spots have with the ever increasing use of social media.

FYI - some of my friends who have recently visited Japan went at 3:30am and still weren't part of the first seating.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 9:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
Queuing 4 hours for Sushi Dai is well into moronic/imbecile territory.
People que for lots of stupid stuff go figure. There's a hole in the wall nearby (Katsura すしかつら) that Tokyo Cheapo recommends for lunch if you're going later in the morning. I've been there a few times top quality fish imho.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 9:38 pm
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Originally Posted by groovbusta View Post
Sometimes you go at 4am and there's 10 people in line, sometimes 30... the place has definitely gotten more popular in the last five years, just like many local food spots have with the ever increasing use of social media.

FYI - some of my friends who have recently visited Japan went at 3:30am and still weren't part of the first seating.
Are these mostly foreigners queuing up so early? I just can't imagine too many Japanese people waking up before crack of dawn to go line up for a sushi place in Tsukiji when there's so much competition out there with tons of great casual sushi places all over Tokyo and out in the suburbs. I'm not in the position to judge since I've not been to this place, but isn't a lot of it just hype when it comes to food at Tsukiji? These days you don't have to go to Tsukiji to have fish that was caught literally that morning in another part of the country.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Are these mostly foreigners queuing up so early? I just can't imagine too many Japanese people waking up before crack of dawn to go line up for a sushi place in Tsukiji when there's so much competition out there with tons of great casual sushi places all over Tokyo and out in the suburbs. I'm not in the position to judge since I've not been to this place, but isn't a lot of it just hype when it comes to food at Tsukiji? These days you don't have to go to Tsukiji to have fish that was caught literally that morning in another part of the country.
I haven't been in a few years, but my friends who have gone in the last year or so said it's at least 90% foreigners now... lots of tourists from Asia (HK, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, etc.) and Westerners (Europeans/Americans) can be seen holding their guide books and snapping selfies for Instagram.

6 or 7 years ago, I went with my Japanese in-laws, who had never been to Tsukiji and were fascinated to hear about a sushi place opening at 5am to a line of waiting patrons. We got their at 4:15am on a weekday and were the second group there. The first person in line?.... was a middle aged Japanese woman who said she goes to SushiDai once per month. The line started filling in behind us and were mainly foreign tourists...
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Old Nov 5, 17, 8:05 pm
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If we just want to grab a quick lunch at the market at one of alternative places to the crazy queuing places, do we need cash?
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Old Nov 5, 17, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by VickiSoCal View Post
If we just want to grab a quick lunch at the market at one of alternative places to the crazy queuing places, do we need cash?
Yes - Japan is an amazingly cash only society at many (esp lower cost) restaurants.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 8:12 pm
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Reporting back on Tsukiji. Got there around 8.30-9am. Most restaurants/eateries had no queues. Some had zero customers. I'd never been to Tsukiji, so I had no idea where things were. Couldn't find Sushi Dai. Kept looking for a popular-looking place, and settled on what turned out to be Sushi Zanmai. It was one of the few places that seemed packed. Also saw that it had Tabelog rating of 3.5, so we thought we'd give it a try. It was a 5-10min wait for a table. I don't eat most raw fish, but wife said the raw neta was good. I had mostly non-raw sushis, surprisingly mediocre. We didn't order that much, but the bill still came to ~4000yen. At our go-to place in the suburb, we eat more for 2/3 the price, and I think it's tastier than this place Sushi Zanmai. It's possible we went to the wrong place. Then again usually Tabelog ratings don't lie. It's possible I went in with too high an expectation. Also possible that we don't know how to judge good fish / sushi.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Reporting back on Tsukiji. Got there around 8.30-9am. Most restaurants/eateries had no queues. Some had zero customers. I'd never been to Tsukiji, so I had no idea where things were. Couldn't find Sushi Dai. Kept looking for a popular-looking place, and settled on what turned out to be Sushi Zanmai.
Zanmai is in the touristy part, right? Where the fire did quite a bit of damage in the summer? If so, then you were in the wrong place. The better places are closer to the actual fish market.

Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
We didn't order that much, but the bill still came to ~4000yen.
That's not too much for two. Sushi Dai would probably be more expensive. My most recent breakfast set me back about 4,000 JPY per person. They have a very nice selection but (unless you're going for la carte) you can only properly savour it if you eat all kinds of fish.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
Zanmai is in the touristy part, right? Where the fire did quite a bit of damage in the summer? If so, then you were in the wrong place. The better places are closer to the actual fish market.

That's not too much for two. Sushi Dai would probably be more expensive. My most recent breakfast set me back about 4,000 JPY per person. They have a very nice selection but (unless you're going for la carte) you can only properly savour it if you eat all kinds of fish.
I'm not sure if it's in a particularly touristy part. The whole Tsukiji market looked touristy to me. It was essentially my first time in Tsukiji, so I didn't know where things were and we just sort of wandered around. Zanmai probably was the wrong place. It's just that Tabelog rating of 3.5 is pretty good. I was just wondering how this place Sushi Zanmai compares with all the other places in Tsukiji. I just wasn't impressed, despite it being packed and the good Tabelog rating (which is usually a reliable barometer, at least for types of places I go to).

4000yen may not be a lot for family of four, but then we didn't order much and it usually costs us <3000yen to eat to our hearts' content at our usual place, which is actually just a kaiten place yet tastier than this place in Tsukiji. I'm used to paying 100-200yen for a plate of amaebi, salmon, eel, real crab, scallops, ikura (pair on each plate). Think I'll stick to shopping center sushi.
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