The Future of Tsukiji Market – Tokyo Ichiba Project

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It is no news that Tsukiji Market’s Inner Market, Tsukiji Jōnai Ichiba,  will be moving in the next few years. While the government is saying 2016, our friends who work in the market are telling us it is more likely to be 2017. For sure the market must move by 2018 so that preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games can start. Last I heard the media center would be stationed here. The media center then would be taken down after the Paralympic Games and high-rise condominiums will be built here. As for the Outer Market, Tsukiji Jōgai Ichiba, it will stay as it is. The Outer Market is always open to the general public. It is the Inner Market where the wholesale seafood is, as well as the famous tuna auction.

What is up with the future market? To get a better idea, be sure to stop by the Tokyo Ichiba Project museum which is located inside of the market. The museum has pictures of the future market as well as a three-dimensional models.

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Here is an overview of what the Toyosu Market will look like. One of the attendants in the museum said that the market name will change from Tsukiji to Toyosu once it moves. Perhaps the current Outer Market will continue to be called Tsukiji. It is very interesting as the models also show how the new market will be broken up into three different complexes with each building having a few floors. The monorail is also shown so that visitors will have an idea of how to access the Toyosu Market.

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A photo of the tuna auction at Toyosu. Visitors will be able to view from a second floor viewing platform and from side windows.

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The brand new facilities will be temperature controlled.

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There will be many restaurants for visitors.

What is not shown at the museum, but what has been shown on television is that a hotel will also be built here. There will also be a hot springs at the hotel with an outdoor onsen on the rooftop that will overlook Tokyo Bay. It is slightly more convenient for the delivery trucks to access, especially for those that make the trip to Narita airport. This PDF has a map of the new facility compared to the current location.

* The new market is only 2.3 kilometers from the current location.

* Toyosu Market will be accessible by the Yurikamome monorail.

* The stop for the Toyosu Market is called “Ichiba Mae”.

Tokyo Ichiba Project Museum

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1

open from 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m.

Tsukiji Market Breakfast – Onigiriya Marutoyo おにぎり屋 丸豊

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Onigiri or omusubi is the quintessential comfort food in Japan. A ball of rice that is stuffed with savory fillings. I grew up eating this and it makes for the perfect quick bite. Onigiri-ya Murotoyo is a famous shop in Tsukiji Market known for its handmade onigiri. A television show recently featured this shop and my curiosity was piqued. Marutoyo is just a few shops down from our favorite knife shop, Tsukiji Masamoto.

The selection to choose from is surprisingly rich. I stood there for minutes as I couldn’t decide. The signs are in Japanese so best to ask for your favorites like:

sake - salmon

umeboshi – pickled apricot

ikura – marinated salmon roe

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There is a small seating area around the corner to the right of the shop. A tiny table and a few chairs where you can rest your feet. Marutoyo also servse miso soup and small side dishes if you want to round out the meal. There are also sushi rolls and chirashi-zushi, but it is the onigiri that makes this shop famous.

I went with the bakudan which is stuffed with a soft-boiled egg and a seasonal one of tempura of bamboo shoots. The rice balls are a bit on the pricey side, about twice what you pay for at the convenience stores, and worth the mark-up. My only gripe is that it was under seasoned. I would have liked a bit more salt on the outside of the omusubi. I will be back, and next time I will order an item that is naturally salty, like ikura or pickled greens like takana or the classic umeboshi.

Onigiri-ya Marutoyo

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-9

The shop opens early in the morning, around 3 a.m. according to one website, and is open until about 2 p.m.

Gotta Get – Taberu Togarashi Furikake

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Furikake are toppings that are sprinkled over rice. Most of the times at home we are eating a bowl of white rice. But once in a while we’ll sprinkle on some furikake just to spice things up. This Taberu Tōgarashi is in the genre of the taberu rayū, which we also like to have from time to time. We try to keep this Taberu Tōgarashi in the back of the pantry and not on the table. Why? Because when we do use it we end up eating two to three bowls of rice at a time. It’s that delicious.

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We came across this at Tsukiji Market and picked one up to try about a year ago and now it is a staple in our pantry. Ingredients include dried red chili peppers, black sesame seeds, yukari (dried purple shiso), apricot, smoked and dried fish flakes from skipjack tuna and Pacific mackerel, salt, nori, and salt.

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On the palate you get the heat from the dried red chili peppers, some tartness from the red shiso and apricot, and nutty from the sesame seeds. The capsaicin in the peppers is what makes this so addictive. The package suggests serving it with noodles, fried rice, onigiri, or as ochazuké. I have yet to try it on pizza, but I imagine most dishes that use Tabasco would also do well with this Taberu Tōgarashi.

Taberu Tōgarashi is sold at some shops at Tsukiji Market. We buy ours at a great little shop called Karaimonya, which specializes in chili peppers and all things spicy.

Karaimonya

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #9

03-3541-0607

Gotta Get – Nori Cups at Tsukiji Market

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Once in a while you come across something that changes your food life forever. A Japanese chef girlfriend who now lives in California told me about these nori cups at Tsukiji Market. They are sold at a store that I walk by every time we do a Food Sake Tokyo tour, which is about 3-4 times a week. It is a store that we often stop by as they also sell the sushi erasers that are popular gifts. I was kicking myself for not noticing these before. These are perfect for bite-size sushi. Perfect for parties or for a fun night at home.

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The version above are unseasoned, while these are flavored with salt. I prefer the salty ones.

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Nori cups are circles of nori shaped into small cups like cupcake papers. Just add rice, or better yet, vinegared sushi rice, and top with sushi toppings.

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The first time we tried these we were celebrating a special occasion at home and Shinji pulled out all of the stops. Topping options this night included: clockwise from top left: sujiko (soy sauce marinated salmon roe in the sac), mentaiko (salted and spicy cod roe), kombu, seafood salad, maguro (tuna), kazunoko (herring roe), tobiko (flying fish roe), tuna salad, salmon, tamagoyaki (omelet), crab, and shirasu (baby anchovies boiled in salt water).

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Everyone makes their own as they like.

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On this night we simply did salmon sashimi to celebrate the new saké cups we purchased.
Orimatsu

There are a few shops selling the nori cups at Tsukiji Market. The easiest one to find is Orimatsu in the outer market. While here, be sure to also take a look at the erasers in designs like sushi, bento, and wagashi (Japanese confectionaries).

Orimatsu

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-15

3:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Followers of the Food Sake Tokyo blog have written to me to say that the nori cups can also be found at Tokyu Hands in the bento section as well as at Kappabashi.

Marutake Tamagoyaki at Tsukiji Market

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Tamagoyaki, Japanese omelets, can be found throughout Tsukiji’s Jōgai, Outer Market. Within about a 50 feet meter there are three tamagoyaki shops. Recently some good friends of ours gave us a tamagoyaki from Marutake. Marutake has been in business for over 80 years. It is a very popular shop. The bespectacled son of the owner, Terry Itō, is a famous television personality and his photo is proudly displayed at the shop.

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The tamagoyaki is on the sweet side, hence the name tamagoyaki. In Kyoto where the savory version is more popular, it is called dashimaki-tamago. At home we make the dashimaki version about once a week, so the sweet style from Marutake was a nice treat. And, has it is sweet, it calls out for something to balance the flavor. We grated some daikon which had a tinge of bitterness to it and topped it with some soy sauce. The perfect side dish for any Japanese meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. All the better with a glass of saké.

Tsukiji Maturake

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-10-10

03-3542-1919

Monday – Friday 4:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (yes, starting at 4:00 a.m.!)

Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

closed Sunday and holidays.

Gotta Get – Aonori

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Tamagoyaki with Aonori

I was at Tsukiji Market with a chef friend helping her track down aonori. She was on a mission. She didn’t want to leave Japan without some. There are several shops in the outer market of Tsukiji and we visited about five of them before we found exactly what she was looking for. Aonori is a type of sea vegetable that is deep, emerald green and very aromatic. We came across flakes and a powder-like type, often sprinkled on takoyaki or okonomiyaki, but that wasn’t what she wanted.

The shopkeeper told us that that a famous tamagoyaki shop in the outer market, Shōrō, uses the aonori in their savory omelet. Here is my version using the aonori. It adds a whole new dimension to the dish.

She said that she wanted to bring it home to make a Chinese-style dish where the aonori is served with deep-fried peanuts.

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The peanut and aonori dish is addictive. It is made from raw peanuts. And, it goes very well with sake.

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Here is the package of aonori from Tsukiji Market.Image

This aonori grows in the water just where the fresh water from the river flows into the ocean. It’s rich in aroma, vegetal, and excellent when fried up a bit and added to the peanuts. Definitely worth picking up if you are visiting Japan.

Turret Coffee at Tsukiji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turret Coffee2Turret Coffee is a godsend for anyone visiting Tsukiji Market. Up until now I couldn’t find a coffee shop that had espresso. Surprising considering that most of Tsukiji’s business takes place in the early morning hours.

Turret Coffee opened in October, 2013. Speaking with the owner, Kiyoshi Kawasaki, he said that business is a little slow. His shop is down a narrow side street off of one of the major streets near Tsukiji’s outer market. It happens to be a few steps beyond a Starbucks. But, if you don’t know about Turret Coffee, you wouldn’t venture beyond Starbucks. Now, you know.

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Kawasaki-san comes from the popular Streamer Coffee shop.Turret Coffee2

Turret is the name of the vehicles the delivery boys drive at Tsukiji Market.
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Espresso is served in ochoko, traditionally used for drinking saké.

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The current seasonal drink is a cinnamon-flavored latte.
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This sign is a welcome site in the early morning. Turret Coffee has about five counter seats and two very small tables with chairs. The shop is opened seven days a week, and opens at 7 a.m. Monday – Saturday. It is located just near the Hibiya station exit #1 or #2. Just about three minutes from the main crossing of Harumi Dori and Shin-Ohashi Dori of Tsukiji’s Outer Market.

Tsukiji will never be the same.

Turret Coffee

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 2-12-6

 

 

 

 

 

Food Sake Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market Tour

Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest seafood market, is in the heart of Tokyo. It is a short walk from the glitzy Ginza shopping district and just minutes from the renovated Kabukiza theater. It’s one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations with visitors. And, it is our most popular tour that our company, Food Sake Tokyo, offers. Shinji, a Japanese fishmonger, used to be a buyer at Tsukiji Market so he offers an insider’s perspective to the market.

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 1

Here, Shinji is being interviewed by food journalist Steve Dolinsky at Tsukiji, for Public Radio International. It’s an insight to the sights and sounds of Tsukiji:

http://www.theworld.org/2013/04/biggest-fish-market/

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 2

Tsukiji Market is scheduled to move to Toyosu, a few kilometers down along Tokyo Bay. Another reason to come and see this historic market before it moves.

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 3

Shinji is able to talk about all of the seasonal seafood, how it’s prepared, and what it the texture is like. Shinji’s tour focuses on the inner market which is the wholesale area for seafood. It is here that he worked as a buyer. It’s a crazy place to navigate and to really understand what is here and what is what, you need a guide who understands Japanese seafood.

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 4

One thing you will notice is that there is no stinky fish smell that you find at most fish markets. The fishmongers are very careful to clean and wash down each stall when they close down shop.

Shinji at Tsukiji 5

At the sushi counter Shinji is able to make recommendations on unique seafood that you most likely won’t be able to try at home. He can also help to demystify the culture of dining at a sushi-ya. This time of year we are crazy for kinmédai, alfonsino, which is a pink fleshed fish. The best kinmédai, are harvested from the shallow waters near Chōshi port in Chiba. Steve Dolinsky writes about having kinmédai and includes a photo here.

Shinji at Tsukiji 6

I have to say, most fishmongers are very friendly and have big smiles – just like this one!

Yukari at Tsukiji 1

I also offer tours of Tsukiji Market. The focus of my tour is the outer market which is open to the general public. It is filled with stalls selling produce, pickles, prepared foods, tea, knives, and much more. We are enjoying tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet) on a stick. Reminds me of the Minnesota State Fair – the food on a stick part.

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I also take clients into the inner market so that they can get a feel for the heart of the market. Here we are looking at fish killed by a special ikéjimé process.

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The many stalls of the inner market – and the perfect spot for a photo.

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There is lots to discover at Tsukiji, including learning about herring roe in a sac, and herring roe that has been laid on a piece of kombukomochi kombu.

Yukari Tsukiji OverviewThe view everyone loves – overlooking the inner market and Tokyo Bay.

We look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo and to Tsukiji Market. Here are more details on our tours.

* A special thanks to our clients for letting us share their photos with you.

Popular Donburi in Japan 日本の丼

DSCN0416Oyako-don from Tamahide in Ningyocho

Donburi 丼 are simple and fast meal. It is a large bowl of hot rice with toppings. We often make it for lunch as it is not only easy to assemble, but also easy to clean up after the meal. Many restaurants often serve donburi at lunchtime as an affordable option, often just “one coin” or 500 yen. There are restaurants that specialize in donburi like Yoshinoya (beef) or my personal favorite, Tenya (tempura). Many restaurants in the outer market of Tsukiji will sell seafood donburi, which is usually what we make at home as we often have fresh sashimi in the house.

One of Tokyo’s most famous donburi dishes is the oyako-don, literally “mother and child”, from Tamahide in Ningyocho. Tamahide is a fifth generation shop that serves chicken and eggs in a savory soy broth. The restaurant is so popular that I’ve never seen it without a line out the front door. Creamy half-cooked scrambled eggs dotted with juicy chicken is a comfort food dish in Japan.

The kanji for donburi is easy to recognize on any menu. 丼 As you can see here, it almost looks like a dish with something inside of it.

From the Asahi newspaper, here is a list of popular donburi in Japan.

1. katsu-don – tonkatsu

2. una-don – unagi

3. kaisen-don – fresh seafood

4. ten-don – tempura (usually shrimp)

5. oyako-don – chicken and eggs

6. gyu-don – thinly sliced beef in a soy broth

7. chuka-don – Chinese-style, often stir-fried meat and vegetables

8. tekka-don – maguro sashimi

9. uni-don – uni sea urchin

10. ikura-don – ikura salmon roe

11. kakiage-don – tempura

12. tentsu-don – Chinese-style omelet with vegetables covered in a thick, slightly sweet and tart sauce

13. anago-don – anago

14. tamago-don – raw egg

15. shirasu-don – baby boiled anchovies

16. yamakake-don – grated yamaimo and maguro sashimi

17. ma-bo-don – Chinese ma-bo- dofu (a spicy tofu and ground beef mixture)

18. buta-don – grilled pork

19. yakiniku-don – grilled beef

20. others

2013 Tsukiji Market Record Tuna by Numbers

2013 222 kg Oma Maguro2013 Hon-Maguro Tuna sold at Tsukiji Auction

photo by Ken Banwell

This fresh tuna is a hon-maguro from Ohma in Aomori prefecture in the northern part of Japan. Ohma hon-maguro is considered by many to be the very best specimen of tuna in the world. It was sold on Saturday, January 5th, 2013, the first day that Tsukiji Market was open in the new year.

  • sold for 155,400,000 JPY or roughly $1.76 million US Dollars
  • this year’s tuna weighed 222 kg.
  • last year’s tuna sold for 56,490,000 JPY
  • last year’s tuna weighed 269 kg.
  • last year’s tuna was 210,000 JPY per kg.
  • this year’s tuna was 700,000 JPY per kg.
  • Yes, this year’s tuna was 3 times the price of last year’s record selling tuna
  • the tuna was caught by a 36-year old fisherman, Takeuchi-san on December 29, 2012
  • his father caught the tuna that was sold at a record price at Tsukiji Market 12 years ago
  • it is the first time a father and son have both caught the record winning tuna on the first day of the new year
  • Takeuchi-san will receive $1.37 million US Dollars after the wholesaler takes it’s cut
  • his wife asked for a new washing machine and backpacks for their three kids
  • this year’s record winning tuna was purchased by Kimura-san of Sushi Zanmai
  • Sushi Zanmai is a restaurant chain with 48 stores in Japan
  • Here is the link to the Sushi Zanmai site with photos of the tuna at the store.
  • at the price the tuna was bought, one piece of sushi should cost 40-50,000 JPY
  • but, a piece of oo-toro from this fish was selling for only 398 JPY at the store
  • On Jan. 5th at Tsukiji Market, there was 654 fresh tuna at the auction.
  • On Jan 5th at Tsukiji Market, there were only 4 fresh hon-maguro from Ohma.
  • The other three sold for about 28,000 – 43,000 JPY per kg.

The tuna auction is off limits to visitors from Dec. 1 to Jan. 21st. This photo was taken by New Zealander Ken Banwell who is a tuna importer. Ken is one of very few non-Japanese who was at the auction on the morning of January 5th, 2013. Ken graciously shared this photo with us.

Ken is the author of a beautiful photo book on Tsukiji Market, The Fish Market. The Fish Market is available at the bookstore at Tsukiji Market Yokocho bookstore and online at this link. The book documents the auction and is all the more valuable as the market is scheduled to move to Toyosu in March of 2015.