Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Dai are two of the most commonly heard sushi shop names at Tsukiji Market. The problem is that they are so popular that they have such long lines, some queue for three hours. And yes, the sushi is great here, but is it worth hours standing in line? And for me, I would rather pay the same price, but have a leisurely sushi lunch in Ginza or elsewhere in the city for the same price. However, if you find yourself at Tsukiji and can’t bear to join the long lines at Sushi Dai or Daiwa Sushi, here are some other Tsukiji sushi shops worth checking out.
All of the restaurants serve an “omakase“, usually about eight pieces of sushi that are all served at the same time. But to have a more authentic experience, order piece by piece. Ask for “shun no mono” or seasonal items.
Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #8
Another very satisfying way to satiate that craving for raw fish is to have a donburi, or a large bowl of rice topped with seasonal sashimi. Nakaya has a selection of donburi including an uni don of creamy, sweet uni. For a very over the top bowl, you can get toro (fatty tuna), ikura (salmon roe) and uni.
Iwasa Sushi 岩佐寿し (Note in a comment below that a recent diner did not have a good dining experience here. I have always had good sushi here so not sure if it was a bad day or what.)
Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #1
The seasonal seafood is all wild. The shop specializes in shellfish.
Sushi Maru すしまる
Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #10
Using wild and top quality seafood. One of their signature dishes is the “aburi jyu”, a chirashizushi of seared fish over rice.
Ichiba Sushi 市場すし
Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #8
It is hard to resist the uni donburi or the uni and ikura donburi (check out the photos at the link above).
A post on Cheap Eats at Tsukiji Market.
Where to go for sushi on Sunday in Tokyo.
November Seasonal Japanese Seafood (what you should be eating if you come to Tsukiji this month).
An article I wrote for The Japan Times on what to see at Tsukiji. Winter is the tastiest time to visit Tsukiji.
36 Comments Add yours
I’m beyond excited to try Tsukiji Market when I study abroad in Tokyo this fall; thank-you for always writing such great articles!
Hi there. Not sure if Sushi Iwasa should be on this list. We gave it a go last weekend when it was one of the few eating spots within the inner market without queues and were pretty disappointed. The quality of fish was not memorable, the fish-to-rice ratio of each nigiri was ungenerous, the itamae seemed to be working at high speed and without much craft, and finally price was not at all good – 3,750 yen for a 12-nigiri omakase. Next time we will queue for Sushi Bun where we have consistently had terrific sushi in the care of its friendly owner/ chef for the same price, or else finish our shopping and head elsewhere to eat.
Had disappointing experience at sushi bun. Sashimi set – fish was fresh but cut was just a bit too thin… there was absolutely no interaction from the chef & though 5th generation shopkeeper was not rude, she is definitely far from friendly..
By the way, no photos allowed.. Even if it’s just for the food served…Personally, I do not think it is worth the wait or the money spent.. Been to another sushi restaurant (2 doors away from daiwa) in tsujiki n it was definitely a far better experience than at sushi bun..
Thanks Vicky for your note. I am so sorry to hear about your experience there. I will post it here and add a note to my blog post. I can’t believe they don’t allow photos. I wonder if the shopkeeper was having a bad day. I’ve always had good meals there. Again, so sorry.
A reader of Food Sake Tokyo wrote to me saying that their party had a very nice breakfast at Sushi Bun with good seafood and good service.
First comment here. I should note that your book has been indespensibe in Tokyo this past year. Have tried a bunch of places and loved them all.
But sushi bun I to have to dissent. The host was kinda rude this morning and they refused to do a la carte. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the tsukiji sushi thing anyway – tourists (like me – I’m part of it) cause these places to rest on their laurels. Anyway, for sushi I’ve found the mid-priced chains around the city to be the most rewarding.
My advice, check out tsukiji – it’s a sight like no other – but get your sushi fix away from tourists. You’ll save money and probably get a better overall dining experience. As well, consider going for ramen, curry or toritoh at the market. Food sake Tokyo has some awesome advice about non-sushi tsukiji dining. I also noticed that at the market this am the locals seemed to be eating everything but raw fish. Although maybe that’s understandable if you work there.
Arigato Nick-san. Sounds like overall Sushi Bun is not giving customers good service. And, can’t believe they won’t do a la carte.
But I agree, take your sushi away from Tsukiji. But, so many people think that is the best sushi in the world. It’s not. Personally I usually have the anago tempura at Tenfusa.
Thanks for the kind words about the book.
岩佐寿し Iwasa Sushi,
貝つくし Best Clams all the way.
Every Tsukiji visit must taste.
I live NYC.
Sushi Maru–went there when Sushi Dai was a 3 hour wait. Read this article while we were in line and walked around building 8 and saw a mini line creeping out a little past building 8–it was sushi maru. As we stood in the short Sushi Maru line, my mom noticed a sign: special 4000 yen meal for only 2000 yen! we grabbed two of those as well as one of “aburi jyu” (mentioned in the article). It was delicious. The sushi was fresh, beautifully textured. Only Japanese people were in this restaurant. The Aburi Jyu (3400 yen or so) was interesting–the fish was charbroiled slightly and had a good char taste with a little salt. (the 2000 yen meals also had 3 of those slightly cooked fishes as part of the sampler meal.) Came with miso soup. If it were me, I’d get that 2000 yen special. Every fish was delicious. My least favorite was the anago–cut more like the eel itself rather than a square. However, the texture was a little mushy for me. When we finished, we walked back to the sushi dai line and the guy in front of us had only moved up about 3 spots. Total cost for three meals and a beer, 8,000 yen.
If any of you love sushi so much, why don’t you all try Midori Sushi at Shibuya. Queue is about 1 hour plus long only and in a comfort of a shopping mall. For Omakase 11 sushi for YEN$2,100 (that comes with a small appetizer, salad and miso soup) it was one of the best place in Tokyo (plus you don’t have to get up so early).
Unless any of you want to see the actual fish market (to see a real frozen tunas), I would rather just go have my sushi anytime of the day at Midori.
I would never wait in line for sushi. But, I have seen that long line many times. Thanks for sharing it.
Is Ryu Sushi still open? TripAdvisor claims it’s closed.
When I was last there it was open. I can walk by next week and see. It has been quiet recently, so it’s not a big surprise if it did close.
I’ll be finding out in person next week too. 🙂
Ryu is still open. I ate there this morning. I do not know why it is not more busy but it opens later and is off the main group of buildings.
Still open. I had breakfast there this morning. Very quiet in comparison to the giant queues off the more central buildings.
Missed you – I was at Tsukiji this morning. Did you enjoy it?
Heading back to Tokyo on Tuesday and will be visiting Tsukiji with my family as I think every time will be the last time. Do you have any updates?
I did enjoy it. Would happily go back next time I am in Tokyo. Think they deserve more business but the gravitational pull of those lines and rumors that they closed don’t help. They open at 7:00 am … and someone probably made the assumption that they closed since they were not open at 6:00 am.
No updates….welcome back to Tokyo! I hope you have a delicious time.
Maybe our paths will cross as I have a lot of Tsukiji tours there next week.
went to ichiba this morning – no wait, and the ikura and uni did not disappoint. an amazing way to cap off our last morning in tokyo! the donburi was pricey and the set sushi menus didn’t include enough uni, so we just ordered sushi by the piece. highly recommend.
Great to know! Arigato!
I have eaten at Ryu about four times. Everything is good there except for the crosspatch of a an assistant/waitress whose photo is on their FB. She’s particularly rude to foreigners.
Why be rude to anyone if you are in the service industry? They used to be nicer and allow us to order a la carte, but no longer, so I have stopped going.
I went with the omakase sushi set option at Ichiba Sushi when I was there last month. The otoro was fabulous but the uni was awful — tasting like iodine the way really bad uni does. I got sick afterwards, and think it was because the uni was not fresh.
On previous visits to Tsukiji, I ate Sushi Dai and Sushi Zanmai. Both now have way longer lines than when I ate there. But honestly, the quality of their sushi is better — and Sushi Dai also has fabulously friendly chefs.
Oh dear, so sorry to hear that. Have you contacted the restaurant to let them know?
Hi Yukari —
I was already away from the market when I got sick and couldn’t be bothered to return. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. On a brighter note: I found a 24 hour sushi-ya in Shinjuku called Kizuna Sushi which was surprisingly wonderful! 🙂
Thanks for the tip. Arigato! Looks like a great spot with a few locations around town.