Tsukiji Wonderland

Tsukiji Wonderland is a documentary on the world’s largest fish market. As Tsukiji Market was scheduled to move to Toyosu on November 7th this year, this movie was a chance for the director to capture the market to share with the world.

The movie currently being shown in Tokyo is only in Japanese with a little bit of English. But, even if you don’t speak Japanese, if you love sushi, seafood, or Tsukiji Market, I highly recommend seeing it. The visuals are beautiful.

Well, the move to Toyosu has been put on hold. A mountain of issues with the new site make this movie all the more precious.

We go to Tsukiji several times a week as we take clients through the market. This movie captures more than I imagined it would. It went back into parts of the market that many will never enter, including the uni auction and the super-freezers housing frozen tuna. I loved seeing where the large blocks of ice are being made. Having seen the large pieces of ice hundreds of time, I never imagined how they are made.

But what really makes this movie special is seeing the interactions between all of the people who make this market work. 19,000 people work at Tsukiji. Another 28,000 come in to buy seafood for restaurants and retail shops.

We see many of the intermediate wholesalers (nakaoroshi), wholesalers, and some of the most famous chefs from top restaurants in Tokyo: Sukiyabashi Jiro, Sushi Sho, Kizushi, Sushi Saito, Daisan Harumi, Mikawa Zezankyo, Ginza Koju, Ishikawa, Higuchi, Ginza Rokusantei, Fugu Ryori Asakusa Miyoshi, as well as foreign chefs Rene Redzepi of Noma and Lionel Beccat of Esquisse. There are seafood retailers, food writers, culinary educators, and Harvard professor Ted Bestor, author of the best book written about Tsukiji in English.

I was moved to tears many times throughout the movie for so many reasons. The most moving part of the movie is the relationships of those interacting at Tsukiji. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you can see how strong these relationships are.

There are gorgeous displays of sushi and prepared dishes. Viewers can see the many different parts of the market, many that are off limit to visitors. We see the market over 24 hours and over four seasons

I love seeing the intermediate wholesalers interacting with their customers, as well as bidding against each other in the morning auction.

The director has done an outstanding job of capturing and documenting this world famous market. This is a movie that I would like to go back to again and again.

If you love seafood, sushi, Tsukiji, or Japanese food, I hope that you can see this movie. There is no better tribute to the market and those who work and shop there.



Tsukiji Chuka Soba Inoue

Our favorite ramen at Tsukiji is Inoue. This tiny stall that has standing only tables for dining has been in business for fifty years. There is only one bowl that is made from (I believe) chicken and soy sauce broth, has thin noodles, and is topped with slices of pork, menma (bamboo shoots), green onions, and kaiware (daikon sprouts). The soup is light and a good start to the morning.

This is a great start to the day, and in our opinion, better than having sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji as many of the sushi shops have become very touristy. There is usually a line here, so stand in line, order quickly, as the shop is run much like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Stand and slurp quickly, and then move on to make room for the other diners.

Tsukiji Chuka Soba Inoue 築地中華そば井上

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-16 中央区築地4-9-16

5:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. closed Sunday, holidays, and Tsukiji holidays

The Latest on the Tsukiji/Toyosu Move – Updated 6 October 2016

Our company, Food Sake Tokyo, offers guided food lectures to markets in Tokyo. We are at Tsukiji Market usually four days a week, five if Tsukiji is open that Wednesday. Our business is very much based around Tsukiji Market so we are carefully watching the news and staying up-to-date with our friends who work in the market.

Following are updates as we know them, about Tsukiji Market’s move to the new Toyosu Market, which was scheduled to happen on November 7th, but now is on hold.

The current location, Tsukiji Market, is in dire needs up upgrades. Food safety standards have changed dramatically since 1935 when the market was originally built. It definitely needs to be upgraded.


*** Updated 6 October 2016

It is coming to light that part of the ground was not decontaminated. It is not the buildings, but a road that exists between two of the buildings. At first this area was not decontaminated as it is a road, and not considered a part of the Market area. At one point, it was brought up that this area would be used by the fishmongers and that it should be cleaned up, however, it could not be completely cleaned 100% due to physical restrictions (gas pipelines, beams, etc.).

A tunnel was constructed between the buildings so that turrets could move seafood from the auction to the wholesale market. Recently this area came up as highly contaminated with benzene at 710 times the allowable amount. Benzene was measured at 7.1 mg/liter when the safe amount in Japan is 0.01 mg/liter. Cyanogen was also found at 70 mg/liter.

In other news, Governor Koike has said that it is still unknown who approved the open air basement spaces underneath the buildings. She has said that they are still trying to find out who permitted this oversight and that these people may be held responsible.

*** Updated 23 September 2016

Governor Koike has returned from the Rio Paralympic Games and now her energy is focused on the Toyosu issue.

While she was gone, talk came up of other possible options for the market:

  1. Odaiba – which is in the relatively same area, however, it is very hard to access.
  2. Ota Shijo – home to Tokyo’s largest produce market. There is already a small market here for seafood and flowers as well. A good point of moving Tsukiji here is that it is next to Haneda airport, and a lot of the seafood coming into Tsukiji now comes by plane.
  3. Moving to Toyosu on a temporary basis. In the meantime, creating a brand new market in the current Tsukiji location and then moving back to Tsukiji.

What if the Toyosu Market is never used?

The buildings could be converted possibly into a casino or maybe used as storage for non-food items.

What if the market moves to Toyosu?

Some of the fishmongers at Tsukiji have said that their new space in Toyosu is very expensive. And, that it is inevitable that the prices will go up for seafood and passed along to the customers.

What about the water that was found in the new Toyosu site?

It is reported that some cyanide was found in the water below the Toyosu buildings.

Moving forward. What’s next?

Governor Koike has a team that will report to her at the end of September. At this point, it’s a waiting game.


*** Updated 20 September 2016

Water was found in the underground space under the new market. It was checked and while benzene was not found, it did have some arsenic, but permissible amounts.

Former Tokyo governor Ishihara is saying that he had no idea that the buildings would be built without the required 15 feet of dirt as recommended by specialists.

Current governor Koike is expected to have another press conference in the near future.

What to do with the Toyosu site, if Tsukiji doesn’t move there? Some are suggesting that the buildings be used for a casino. There is also talk of temporarily moving the market there and rebuilding on the current Tsukiji Market space, and then moving the market back to its current location.

Some super-freezers at the new Toyosu site have already been started up. These are not small plug-in machines, but giant buildings that go down to -76 degrees F (-60 degrees C). Once these have been turned on they can NOT be turned off without possibly doing damage to the buildings. These companies are now paying expensive electricity bills for empty super-freezers. The question is who should pay for this?

*** Updated 12 September 2016

Today in the news it came up that in 2007 a team of specialists recommended the clean dirt be put in over the contaminated dirt before construction of the buildings.

Then in 2008 it was decided to ignore the recommendations of the specialists and to construct the buildings directly over the contaminated dirt and to install thick cement floors and walls. However, this new plan was never run past the team of specialists, nor was it told to those at Tsukiji Market. Seems that it was a well kept secret between Tokyo government officials and the construction company. This is so disturbing, frustrating, and most of all, unbelievable.

What has come up today is that there is water in this pocket of space under the buildings. It was expected that there would not be any water in this space, which was supposed to be filled with clean dirt. The question today came up with where this water came from. Is it rain water or is it ground water? More importantly, is it polluted?

*** Updated 10 September 2016

Governor Koike held a press conference today (Saturday in Japan, so obviously urgent news) about a major oversight with the new Toyosu location.

As mentioned in the past, the new Toyosu Market location was priorly used by Tokyo Gas as a coal plant. The ground is polluted, which has been known from day one.

Part of the delay for the move, which was originally scheduled to happen in 2014, was because the topsoil was being dig up and decontaminated. The decontaminated soil was to be returned and then was to be covered by more dirt.

The photo above on the top left shows that the plan was to have 2 meters (6.6 feet) of decontaminated soil topped by 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) dirt. see photo bottom right

Today in the urgent press conference Governor Koike showed a photo of the current situation in one of the buildings. see photo upper right

The buildings were constructed without the required 4.5 meters of clean ground (about 15 feet). The photo shows a building with what looks like a basement. In fact, that basement is meant to be completely filled in with clean dirt.

This brings up many questions, starting with “Really?”

How unbelievable is this? Seriously. This process of decontaminating the dirt and putting it back and covered before construction of the buildings were to begin.

So, what next?

In today’s press conference Governor Koike said that her Project Team (see below) will continue to look into the Toyosu Market and will make their recommendations early next year.

For now, we can just stay tuned for news updates like today.

Original post follows:

Tsukiji Market’s scheduled move to Toyosu on November 7th came to a sudden halt yesterday. For our Food Sake Tokyo business this has ramifications as we do many tours each week to Tsukiji Market. Following is information that has been culled from the news the last few days and what I find interesting regarding the world’s largest fish market and its potential move from Tsukiji to Toyosu. Here are some interesting tidbits worth chewing on.

Tsukiji Market has been in operation since 1935. There is a wholesale seafood and a produce market at Tsukiji Market in the jōnai (inner market). Originally the jōnai was a market only for professional buyers and Shinji worked there as a buyer for a large retail and restaurant chain in Tokyo. There are roughly 800 shops in the inner market.

The inner market has become a popular tourist destination. In the past you could go in at anytime, including to observe the tuna auction. At one point the visitors to the tuna auction were intruding into the auction space, touching tuna, jumping on the moving turret vehicles and becoming a nuisance for the workers. So, Tsukiji now limits the number if visitors to the tuna auction to 120 per day. One must now go early in the morning to hopefully get one of the golden vests that will allow them into the tuna auction.

For those who still want to experience the wholesale seafood market they must now wait until 10 a.m. to see the shops selling tuna, frozen, fresh, and processed seafood, as well as the produce market.

So, why is the market even moving?

The current Tsukiji Inner Jōnai Market has been around since 1935. There are no walls in the market so animals such as cats, crows, seagulls, and yes, even mice are in the market. No walls also means that the market is not refrigerated. In the summertime the market can get upwards of 100 degrees. Seafood is kept on ice and there are superfreezers (-76 degrees F).

The market needs to be modernized and that is how the new Toyosu Market came into existence. The new facility is refrigerated and walls will keep out animals and tourists. Visitors to Toyosu will be able to observe the tuna auction, but from a second floor overlooking the auction. At least this is how we are told it will be.

What about the Outer Market? Is that also moving?

There are about another 600 shops in the outer market that sell knives, pantry staples like kombu and katsuobushi, and there are also many restaurants in the Tsukiji Jōgai Outer Market. The outer market ill NOT be moving to Toyosu.

What about the Tsukiji 築地 name?

The new market will be called Toyosu Shin Shijō 豊洲新市場, Toyosu New Market. The Tsukiji brand name will stay with the outer market shops which are not moving. Naturally, the outer market shop owners are concerned about their business in the future as some of their business comes from buyers going to the inner market.

On a side note, 60 of the inner market shops will be staying at Tsukiji Market in a new facility that has been built. The list (in Japanese) is on my blogpost:

Need to Know – Tsukiji Move to Toyosu

Some of the outer market shops, like Tsukiji Masamoto knives, also have a sister shop in the inner market. So, shops like Tsukiji Masamoto will be able to have a shop in both locations, but this is unusual. Most shops are either in the inner or the outer market, not both.

Where is Toyosu Shin Shijō?

The new Toyosu market is only about 2 km away from the current location. However, it is not as easy to access as Tsukiji market. Tsukiji is near two subway lines, the Oedo and the Hibiya lines. Toyosu is accessible by monorail and inconvenient for most people. It is said that about 42,000 people come to the inner market daily.

How do the fishmongers feel about the move?

Some are for the move, like 3rd-generation Tsukiji fishmonger Yoshikatsu Ikuta (Twitter https://twitter.com/ikutayoshikatsu) is for moving to Toyosu as soon as possible. Others do not want to move. Bottom line is that the current facilities need to be renovated and modernized.

What is the talk about the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games?

The move to Toyosu was decided before Tokyo was award the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The fact that Tsukiji needed to be upgraded was decided in 2001, 15 years ago. The move was supposed to have taken place last year, in 2015. The move keeps getting pushed back.

As part of the bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games the package included a road that would connect Toranomon to the Olympic Village which will be on an island next to Toyosu. The road would be constructed through the current Tsukiji Inner Market.

When Tokyo was named as the host city, then the move date was finally set as November 7th. This date was selected based on how much time it would take to tear down the inner market and to build the road.

So no, the market is not moving because of the Olympic Games. The move was decided long before Tokyo was announced as the host city.

So, going forward, what do we know?

On Wednesday, August 31, 2016, Tokyo Governor Koike, who is new to her position, announced that Tsukiji Market’s scheduled move to Toyosu on November 7th will NOT happen. Keep in mind that she is a former Environmental Minister and has been keenly on top of this topic for years. Also, that she inherited a project that is has apparently been poorly managed and over budget.

Koike outlined three main points for the delay in a press conference yesterday.

  1. 安全性への懸念 Safety concerns.
  2. 巨額かつ不透明な費用の増加 Unclear costs that have ballooned. Why?
  3. 情報公開の不足 Poor communications between related parties.

The land that Toyosu is being built on used to be a coal plant making gas for Tokyo residents. While the grounds have been sanitized the tests clearing it as safe have not been completed. Recent water tests have also come back as not safe. The safety checks are coming back with benzene as a product that is in the area. Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical, that is often used as a gasoline additive, so it is not a surprise that it is here. It is a disappointment that it was expected to be removed from the grounds before the move and that it still exists. Bottom line, the market feeds the Tokyo metropolitan area and needs to be cleared as a safe area to host a market that trades raw seafood and produce.

Construction costs have ballooned three times over what was budgeted. Delaying the move will also add to costs as it is estimated it will cost $70,000 USD per day for the Toyosu operating costs, even when it is not occupied.

There needs to be better communication between all affiliated parties, which has not happened to this point.

Moving forward….

Koike has said she has put together a Project Team that will analyze and make recommendations following the next results of a safety check of the Toyosu area. The next results are scheduled to come back in January, so until then everything is put at a halt. Leading the project team is a lawyer, Kojima-san, who worked under Koike when she was the Environmental Minister.

There are some issues with the current Toyosu, including the fact that the size of the stall is smaller than the Tsukiji location making it hard for workers to work with knives. There are also concerns about the turrets moving up and down ramps and being able to make sharp turns in the tight space allowed, so other safety issues are being raised with the already developed facility.

If the market does move to Toyosu, will prices go up?

From our friends who drive to Tsukiji for work, they have said that while cheap parking exists at the current location, the new Toyosu parking is expensive. So their business costs will go up, which may be reflected for higher prices for smaller shops and businesses.

Is there a chance that Tsukiji will not move to Toyosu?

Koike said that she can’t rule it out. It will depend on the results of the Project Team.

Bottom line for now is the safety of the Toyosu land and water. Until January the move is put on hold. We can only wait for updates from the Project Team and the results of the safety check which will be announced in January.

“Tōmin first” has been repeated many times, “Tokyo citizens first”.

We will keep you posted here on our blog and on our Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/YukariSakamoto)



9/2 Koike mentions HAACP in a press conference. This is a food safety management system that did not exist in 1935 when the market was built. From what I have heard from planners of the Toyosu Market, the whole facility will be HACCP certified.





Need to Know – Tsukiji Move to Toyosu


Tsukiji Uogashi  築地魚河岸

The world’s largest seafood market is moving in November. Following are a few basic need-to-know details on the move.

It is not the whole market that is moving, just the jounai 場内 (inner market), which is the wholesale seafood section. The jougai 場外 (outer market) is staying and in speaking with many shop owners in the outer market, they are hoping that tourists and locals will continue to come and shop here.

What is the difference between the jounai and the jougai? The jounai is where the chefs and seafood buyers go early in the morning to buy seafood and produce for restaurants and retail shops. The number of shops in the jounai is roughly about 800 shops. This is only open to the general public after 10 a.m. (As of July 1, 2016, the 9 a.m. open has been changed to 10 a.m.) Before that it is restricted to buyers and sellers. There are some restaurants and shops to the side of the wholesale seafood section, including popular sushi restaurants and purveyors for pantry items, tableware, and kitchenware.

The jougai is the outer market that sprung up naturally around the inner market. Here there are roughly 500 shops and restaurants. This is always open to the general public. There are only a handful of seafood retail shops here. There are many restaurants and retail shops selling everything from tea, knives, sea vegetables like nori and kombu, katsuobushi (smoked skipjack tuna flakes), dried beans, and much more. There is some anxiety with the outer market shop owners as they have no idea how their business will be affected after the move of the inner market to Toyosu.

Toyosu, the new location for the inner market, is also built on reclaimed land, like Tsukiji. It is only 2.2 km (or about 1.5 miles) from the current location. It is just along Tokyo Bay, heading in the direction to Narita airport.

The Toyosu Ichiba (market) will have three buildings. One for wholesale seafood, a second for wholesale produce, and a third shop for restaurants and retail shops. The popular shops currently at Tsukiji Market like Daiwa Sushi, Sushi Dai, and others in the Uogashi Yokocho, are considered part of the Inner Market, so are scheduled to move. I don’t think all of the shops are planning on moving, especially those with older owners who have no one to pass it on to. The three buildings are separated by large streets, so getting around the three buildings will be much harder than the current layout at Tsukiji.

To see the seafood and produce markets in the new Toyosu Ichiba, visitors will be on the 2nd floor looking through glass down on the market. The good news is that more people will be able to witness the tuna auction. The bad news is that for those who love seeing the seafood up close, it will be hard to see from a distance.

To access the new Toyosu Ichiba, visitors have to ride the monorail. It is very inconvenient, compared to the current location. The Tokyo Government, which owns the land for both the current inner market and Toyosu, has said that it will provide buses to the new location, but no schedules have been announced, again creating anxiety for those who rely on the market for their work. Currently many Ginza sushiya can ride their bicycle to Tsukiji. The new location will still be accessible by bicycle, but not as convenient as the current location, and not good when it is raining.

The outer market, jougai, that is staying has built a new building that will house 60 shops from the current jounai. Here is a list of the shops that will be staying at Tsukiji. It is a nice mix of vendors (some shops in parentheses) selling tuna (Yamayuki), fresh seafood (Yamafu Suisan), shrimp, processed seafood, and produce (Kushiya).

Tsukiji new shops 築地場外市場 仲卸業者

We are looking forward to seeing this new building when it opens up. At the moment, regarding our Tsukiji tours, we plan to continue to offer the tours in the current location as visitors will be able to see the seafood up close. Our tours are different from the other tours as Shinji used to be a buyer at Tsukiji so he can talk in great detail about seasonal seafood. Our visit to the outer market stops at many shops selling staples to the Japanese pantry. As we are both trained as chefs we can help explain the different ingredients and how they are used in the Japanese kitchen.

We will update this blogpost once the Tsukiji Uogashi Market opens with details on how it is.

When is the big move? The current inner market’s last day is November 2nd. The vendors then have a few days to move to the new location. The new Toyosu Ichiba is scheduled to open on November 7th.

**** Update – the move to Toyosu has been put on hold. For more details:


Here is the calendar for Tsukiji.


Finally, the name of the new station on the monorail is not Toyosu Ichiba, but Shijomae.


Shijomae station 市場前

Regarding the move, the current location was built in 1935 and needs to be modernized. It is too costly to build a temporary market and move it back here, so once it moves to Toyosu, it will stay there.

Part of the land that it is currently on will be used to build a road that will lead out to the Olympic Venues and housing for Olympic athletes. What will happen to the rest of the land is still undecided. Some ideas that have been offered include high-rise condominiums or even a casino.

The move was supposed to have happened in 2015. Some complications with the new site have delayed it. However, with the 2020 Summer Olympic Games around the corner, the move can not be delayed any longer. To see more on the new market, there is a visitor’s center at Tsukiji Market that you can stop by to see more.



Tsukiji Market Tour with Shinji Sakamoto

Shinji Sakamoto by Sushi Geek

Shinji Sakamoto at Tsukiji Market (photo by Sushi Geek)

Shinji recently took the author of the Sushi Geek blog to Tsukiji Market for a tour. Here is the write-up Mr. Sushi Geek did of Shinji’s Tsukiji Market Tour.

His blog is filled with great sushi restaurants, not only in Tokyo, but also overseas.

Some notes from clients after their tour with Shinji:

Shinji Sakamoto photo by SM

Tsukiji Inner Market (photo by SM)

“But please pass on to Shinji how much we appreciated his time and company. It was like walking around with an industry professional and friend at the same time.

Right from what you aptly described as the best coffee in Tokyo, the whole tour was felt like a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the food industry in Tokyo.

The knife place was extraordinary and my only regret is we only bought one! A vegetable knife. I use it all the time and my son highlighted the impeccable balance of it.

It was fascinating to walk through the fish market and learning its history and how its move will impact on generations of family businesses.” SM, New Zealand


Sausage Curry at Tsukiji Pyramid

One of the best curries I have had in a long time was at this German restaurant in Tsukiji. Yes, you read that correctly. A German restaurant at Tsukiji serving curry. But, this wasn’t just any curry.

The meat is a German sausage, and for toppings everyone gets a quenelle-shaped German mashed potatoes with house-made sauerkraut. I could eat a whole bowl of the sauerkraut. Onions and cabbage that are lightly fermented. Next time I’ll ask for a double order of it. I also added some pickled jalapenos, not very German, but I never see it on a menu, so I figured, why not?

And, the spicy curry had a nice kick to it. Not the family-friendly curry that is prevalent throughout this country. After years of working in the area, it is a big surprise to come across something so unique like this. This is one of the great pleasures of Tokyo. You never know what you will find, and it usually takes you beyond what you anticipated.

German pop music (the beat was definitely from the 80s) played on the soundtrack. The walls are lined with German beer ads and photos that were taken from trips to Germany for what look like beer festivals.

From the ceiling hang dusty German flags and buxom German beer maid characters, all adding fun character to this tightly packed restaurant that seats a little over two dozen.

The lunch menu is curry only. I came just before the lunch rush and most of the diners were obviously regulars. The phone rang a few times with take-away orders as well. Lunch is 890 JPY and diners can choose from the following curries: chicken, beef, sausage, Keema (which says it is the spiciest), and a weekly special. This week it was shrimp. Lunch comes with a free dish such as sauerkraut, sunny-side-up egg, dessert, or orange juice.

I would love to come back at night sometime. A cabinet next to the kitchen was filled with German beer glasses. Evenings appear to be more authentic German pub-style cuisine.


Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 2-12-16, B1 中央区築地2-12-16, B1

If you go for lunch, then have your after-lunch coffee at Tsukiji Turret Coffee.

Tsukiji Gyoza and Ramen at Home

Tsukiji Gyoza

Tsukiji Gyoza

In the outer market of Tsukiji is a great little shop selling gyoza wrappers and ramen noodles called Dai-Ni Tsukiji Seimenjo. It is a tiny stall and for us, are some of the best gyoza wrappers in Tokyo. If you are looking to make ramen at home, then get your freshly made noodles here.

Tsukiji Gyoza at Home

Tsukiji Gyoza at Home

Dai-Ni Tsukiji Seimenjo 第二築地製麺所

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-7 中央区築地4-9-7


Deep-Fried Oysters at Tsukiji

Yachiyo is a Tsukiji shop that specializes in tonkatsu, but also does a very nice kaki furai, deep-fried oysters. It is located to the left of Sushi Dai. Oysters are just finishing off their season but will be back in the autumn. However, the days of Yachiyo and the inner market are limited.

Oysters are breaded and deep-fried until golden brown. There is a splash of Japanese karashi mustard on the side, but I prefer the Western tartar sauce that is often served with oysters and fried fish. The set meal comes with three vegetable sides of pickles, crispy julienned cabbage, and a coleslaw. It is rounded out with miso soup and rice.

Two counters line the left and right side of the shop. If you visit when oysters are out of season try some of the seafood like shrimp, scallops, or horse mackerel. The fishmongers often order eggs with pork belly (chashu eggu teishoku, available only Tue, Thu, and Sat).

Chef Ishizuka is the handsome guy in the kitchen with glasses.

Tsukiji Yachiyo 築地 八千代

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #6 中央区築地5-2-1ビル6


Tokyo’s Softest Mochi? 築地福餅

Updated 31 May 2016.

We are very sad to say that this shop has closed. Today was the last day. We wish the owner much happiness in her retirement.

Shinji found out the husband of the owner used to own this shop and was selling seafood here. When he passed away the wife took over the shop and was selling the mochi. She decided it was time to close the shop.

Shinji did stop by today to buy a bunch and we have it in our freezer. We will treasure these sweets.

There is a tiny stall, Tsukiji Fukumochi, selling some amazing mochi. The rice taffy is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth. One of the mochi is served on JAL flights. Shinji brought the ones on the right home and we couldn’t stop eating them. Yomogi (a Japanese herb, mugwort), shio (salt), and takesumi (charcoal) stuffed with a sweet azuki bean paste. On his next trip back he picked up the ichigo daifuku, with a fresh strawberry, which was also amazing.

Often the mochi is very chewy, but there is something different about these, that make them worth a journey.

Tsukiji Fukumochi 築地福餅

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-13-14 中央区築地4-13-14


Tsukiji Fishmongers’ Breakfast 築地気まぐれ屋

Kimagureya is a popular sandwich shop for the workers at Tsukiji Market. Most of the workers get the sandwiches to go. Often a worker from a stall will come and pick up a big order for him and his colleagues.

The simple menu includes fried items like shrimp, chicken or croquettes, and more standard sandwich fillings like tuna salad, egg salad, or ham and cheese. Each sandwich is about 140 – 200 JPY. The cold sandwiches are on display in the window. Hot sandwiches, like fried chicken, menchi katsu (fried ground meat cutlet),  korokke (croquette), or ebi katsu (shrimp cutlets) are kept in warm boxes in the kitchen.

The shop also sells onigiri, rice sandwiches stuffed with salmon, spicy cod roe, pickled umeboshi, and more at 140 JPY each.

The staff do not speak English and the menu is only in Japanese, so if you go, point at one of the cold sandwiches, you can see the fillings. Or, if you want a hot sandwich, pick from the list above and ask for it, slowly.🙂


Tsukiji Kimagureya

The biggest surprise was how the sandwiches are assembled. It is one slice of bread that is stuffed and folded over. I love this. The chicken katsu above is seasoned with julienned cabbage and sauce (think Worcestershire). Kimagure is a Japanese word that means fickle, whimsical, or capricious. Perfect name for these sandwiches.🙂

Kawasaki-san, the owner of Tsukiji Turret Coffee, put this lovely shop on my radar. He sometimes stops by here before he opens his shop. His favorite is the ebi katsu, deep-fried shrimp cutlet sandwich.

An older couple runs this very local shop. I am worried that once the market moves to Toyosu in November as most of their customers seem to come from the inner market.

The shop sits on a quiet side street. There is a tiny plastic table with two seats in front of the shop. I like to sit here and watch as the workers drive by on the turrets delivering seafood. This is far away from the long lines at the sushi shops, and this is where the local workers eat. A very unique change from the hoards of people standing in line for sushi. I prefer this quiet breakfast.

Kimagureya 気まぐれ屋

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 6-21-6  中央区築地6-21-6