Need to Know – Tsukiji Move to Toyosu

IMG_2550

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 9 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.

Here is the calendar for Tsukiji.

http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/etc/calendar/2016.html

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

IMG_1860

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.

https://foodsaketokyo.com/2014/04/16/tokyo-ichiba-project/

 

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.

Pyramid

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

http://tsukiji-monzeki.com/shop/tsukijiseimenjo2/

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

http://www.tsukijigourmet.or.jp/21_yachiyo/

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.🙂

IMG_1928.jpg

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

Tsukiji Kitsuneya 築地きつねや

Kitsuneya offal

Kitsuneya offal

One of the most popular stalls at Tsukiji’s Outer Market is Kitsuneya. It does not sell any seafood, but it is famous for offal stewed in a savory soy broth until tender and served over a large bowl of rice (800 JPY). If you are not in the mood for offal, Kitsuneya also does nikudōfu, tofu and meat cooked in a sweet soy broth (600 JPY). The tofu and meat does not come with rice (220 JPY) so you have to order that separately. I love oshinko pickles with every meal and this day it was cucumbers pickled in salt (120 JPY). A nice, crisp contrast to the soft offal.

Hovering over the large stewpot is a fiesty grandmother. As Kitsuneya is on the main street there are many who try and take her photo and she is quick to tell them no photos allowed. I was even nervous to take this photo, so I waited until she turned the other way to snap this.

The smell of the stewing offal is rich and enticing. When I walk by with clients many will naturally hum, “mmmmmmm”.  There is often a long line at the shop. There are a few stools and a narrow counter at the shop. If those are full, many will stand and eat at a high table set up by the street.

To find it, look for a small white noren banner of the shop that says in black Japanese calligraphy きつねや, or look for the old woman waving her hands telling people to stop taking her photo.🙂

Tsukiji Kitsuneya 築地きつねや

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-12 中央区築地4-9-12

2016 Tsukiji Market Record Tuna by Numbers

Tsukiji 2016 tuna.JPG

  • This year’s most expensive tuna sold at 14,000,000 JPY or roughly $117,220 US dollars.
  • The bluefin tuna weighed about 200 kg (about 440 pounds).
  • The price per kilogram was about 70,000 JPY or roughly $585 US dollars.
  • The tuna came from Ohma in Aomori prefecture and was caught on January 3rd.
  • The tuna was bought by the sushi chain, Sushi Zanmai. Kimura Shacho (president) commented that 3 days of aging makes it for perfect eating for today.
  • Sushi Zanmai has bought the winning tuna the last four years in a row.
  • The 2013 year’s record tuna sold for 155,400,000 JPY or roughly $1.76 million US Dollars.
  • This year’s tuna came in at about 3 times last year’s record-winning price.
  • This is the last opening tuna auction to be held at Tsukiji Market. Next year the tuna auction will be held at the new market, Toyosu Market. The name Tsukiji will stay at the current location. The current Tsukiji Market’s outer market will remain and can keep the famous brand name that is named after the area.

Tsukiji tuna graph

Graph of the winning tuna price over the last ten years.

Tsukiji Sushi Zanmai

Kimura Shacho (president) of Sushi Zanmai. Proud owner of the best tuna at Tsukiji’s last opening tuna auction. Each year he brings the winning tuna to his main shop in the outer market. The shop is just behind him in this photo, with the winning tuna waiting to be cut into.

Japanese:

初競り はつせり first auction

黒鮪 くろまぐろ bluefin tuna

大間 おおま Ohma port

 

Tsukiji Katou 築地かとう

IMG_9967

For a truly local breakfast at Tsukiji, bypass all of the sushi shops and follow the fishmongers to shops like Katou. The menu consists mostly of grilled and simmered seafood served with rice, miso soups, pickles, and a side dish.

Kinmedai, 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino, when simmered in a sweet soy broth, will melt in your mouth. I was lucky and got the head part of the fish, while my neighbor got the tail end. Dig into the head with your chopsticks to pull out small nuggets of tender meat. The eyeball is a delicacy. It is a challenge to pick up with your chopsticks. If you are successful in getting it into your mouth, suck up the tender collagen, but be sure to spit out the hard white part.

Katou’s big menu includes Saikyo miso marinated and grilled black cod, an assortment of seasonal sashimi, and seasonal whole fish simply salted and grilled. The bowl of rice is hearty, for the fishmongers who work in the market. It is impolite to leave rice in your bowl, so unless you are very hungry, it is good to ask for a small bowl of rice. In Japanese, gohan o sukuname.

IMG_9973

Katou かとう

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #8 中央区築地5-2-1ビル8号

This Tabelog page shows some of their other main dishes:

http://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13007669/dtlphotolst/1/