Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 2, Part 1 – Tsukiji and 3 Breakfasts

Day 2 started around 3:00am because we were attempting to get to Tsukiji Fish Market and into the fish auction tour. Trains don’t run that early in the morning, so if you’re headed to Tsukiji in the early morning, you’ll have to catch a cab. Tourists who wish to see the auction have to apply at the O-Sakana Fukyu Center at the Kachidoki Gate, starting from 4:00am on a first-come, first-serve basis (and best be in line by 3:00am) for two groups of 60, starting around 5:25am and 5:50am. Just ask your cab driver to drop you off in the right spot.

As it turns out, we were not able to get there in time and a huge line had already formed. So, what to do at 4:30 in the morning? Find coffee. Which we did.

Coffee at Tsukiji. Image Credit: T.

Right next door to the coffee place, a line started forming for ramen. This was Chuka Soba Inoue. The rule in Japan is, if you see a line forming for food, stand in it. You will rarely be disappointed.

Chuka Soba Inoue, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

To be honest, Ryan has had waaaaay better ramen in his day, but T liked it.

The ramen master hard at work. Image Credit: Ryan.

A bowl of ramen at 5 in the morning? Yes, please. Breakfast #1.

Breakfast ramen, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

So, wandering around the outskirts of the market, we came across this. A polar bear, an eagle, a turtle, and a crocodile walk into a fish auction…

Polar Bear, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Hey, why the long face? The crocodile, eagle, turtle, and other assorted dead animals. At a fish market. In a stall where they’re selling stuff.

Assorted Animals on Display, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

These dudes on drivable carts were everywhere in Tsukiji. And drive they did with little regard for your safety. Keep your head on a swivel.

Reckless Carts, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Walking through Tsukiji to the inner market. This was the rare photo op when we weren’t in danger of almost being run over. If this particular scene looks familiar, Jiro’s son makes the same trip in the documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

To the Inner Market, Tsukiji. Image Credit: T.

We didn’t make the fish auction. Ah, good enough right here.

Maguro Time, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

We did, however, find a hidden monument within a monument. This is the first Yoshinoya – serving beef bowl (gyudon) goodness – that ever was. It’s located at the Central Wholesale Market, Food C.

Entrance to Yoshinoya No. 1, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Said beef bowl of goodness. Breakfast #2.

Gyudon, Yoshinoya No. 1, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Inside Yoshinoya No. 1, Tsukiji. No pictures, please.

Inside Yoshinoya No. 1, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

And, now, a candy art interlude.

Candy Art, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Couple picture by the candy art shop. At the fish market, naturally.

T and Ryan and Candy Art. Image Credit: Random Stranger.

Obviously, you come to Tsukiji Fish Market, you eat seafood. But the crowds waiting at the more popular sushi places, like Sushi Dai, can be forever. Instead, we chose to duck into a random sushi place. This was Ben-Tomi Sushi.

Ben-Tomi Sushi, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

The Itamae, or sushi chef, of Ben-Tomi Sushi.

Itamae of Ben-Tomi Sushi, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Breakfast #3 at Ben-Tomi Sushi. This place was okay… but you can find way better in Japan. The fish was too cold and seemingly not fresh enough; the rice was good but not great. Still, Chutoro and Ootoro.

Chutoro and Ootoro – Ben-Tomi Sushi, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Ebi, Aji, Hamachi.

Ebi, Aji, Hamachi – Ben-Tomi Sushi, Tsukiji.

Uni.

Uni – Ben-Tomi Sushi, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

Anago.

Anago – Ben-Tomi Sushi, Tsukiji. Image Credit: Ryan.

And after that, we waddled on off to Asakusa. It was not yet 7:30 in the morning. To be continued…

 


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