Tuna Lovers’ Day Trip From Tokyo

Misaki Maguro Kippu is a special discounted train, bus, and lunch ticket that is a fun day trip from Tokyo for tuna lovers. Many Japanese train and bus lines offer discounted tickets for round-trip excursions. Misaki is a famous port for tuna. Maguro is tuna, and kippu is for ticket.

The Misaki Maguro Kippu can be purchased from the Shinagawa Keikyu line ticket booth. 3,060 JPY per ticket which includes round-trip fare on the express trains as well as all bus routes on the peninsula. We only made it to the fishing port, but if you have more time, you could also visit an aquarium and an onsen on the bus routes.

The express train goes to Misaki-guchi 三崎口 station. From there take a bus to Misaki-ko 三崎港. We went on a weekend and about 40 others from the train were also using the same pass so we just followed them to the bus. The train ride was a little over an hour and the bus to the fishing port was another 20 minutes.

The ticket includes lunch in the city. The tickets come with a map with photos of the different lunches available on the peninsula. There are 30 shops to choose from. Here is a link to the options:

http://www.keikyu.co.jp/information/otoku/otoku_maguro/list.html

Many shops are busy on the weekends, so be prepared to stand in line. We went on a colder day and didn’t have to wait to get seated.

After lunch we went to the seafood market which was like many seafood markets in fishing ports around Japan. As Misaki is known for tuna, most of the vendors were selling tuna, mostly frozen cuts called saku. The second floor of the market is a farmers’ market. I picked up all of the daikon above for 500 JPY.

This is a fun day trip from Tokyo. The shops are kid-friendly. We will do it again, next time in the summer and we’ll be sure to see the aquarium and onsen. There is a bicycle rental shop and ferry rides are also available at the port.

Details on the Misaki Maguro Kippu (in Japanese):

http://www.keikyu.co.jp/information/otoku/otoku_maguro/

Shout-out to Takumi-san at Roberto Perozzi Salon in Shibuya. I go to Roberto to get my hair cut and Takumi-san told me about this ticket, arigato! If you need your hair cut in Tokyo, Roberto is the best.

Shinjuku Kaijin 海神

Kaijin literally means the God of the Seas, a perfect name for this ramen shop that does not use meat. The seafood soup at Shinjuku Kaijin changes daily based on what seafood is in season. The broth, while rich in flavor, is light and refreshing on the palate. The fish that goes into the broth is written out daily on large white paper that is hung up on the wall.

The menu is read from right to left, top to bottom:

本日のアラ   honjitsu no ara  today’s seafood scraps (head, bones, etc.)

真鯛   madai   sea bream

平政   hiramasa   kingfish (in the same family as yellowtail)

太刀魚   tachiuo   cutlassfish or beltfish

甘鯛   amadai   tilefish

穴子   anago   sea eel

Ara refers to the head, bones, and other scraps of fish that can be either simmered in a sweet soy broth and carefully picked over when eating. Here at Kaijin the chef uses the ara scraps to make the soup stock. Salt is added to the broth. The noodles are thin, which is exactly what this broth needs. It is garnished with julienned leeks, and a chicken and a shrimp dumpling. If you have an allergy, be sure to tell them, ebi no arerugi- ga arimasu.

If you have a big appetite, be sure to order the grilled onigiri (rice ball) and put it into the soup when you are done with the noodles. The salty yuzu koshō paste is also a great way to add depth to the ramen.

Kaijin also has shellfish ramen, like asari (littleneck clam) or hamaguri (Orient clam). I have tried these, but much prefer the complexity of the seafood ramen, their signature dish.

These are the signs in front of the Shinjuku shop. It’s a smaller shop with counter seating for five, a table for four and a table for two. There is often a line going down the stairs, but it usually moves quickly, as this is a quick meal. Be sure not to linger after you’re done eating if there are people waiting.

There are three branches in Tokyo at the time this blogpost was written. I have been to the Kichijoji shop, which is close to the station, but the soup was too salty and I won’t go back. The Shinjuku shop is also near the station and where I go. A new shop has also recently opened in Ikebukuro.

Shinjuku Menya Kaijin

Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-35-7

Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Minamicho 1-5-9, Kumamoto Bldg. 2F

Toshima-ku, Ikebukuro 1-19-2

http://www.kaijin-ramen.com/menu.php

 

 

Isomaru Suisan 磯丸水産

A friend and I needed to grab a quick lunch before he jumped on the shinkansen to Kyoto. We popped into Isomaru Suisan near Ueno station and had colorful and fresh sashimi donburiDonburi are large bowls filled with rice and toppings, a great one-bowl meal. He had a tuna and avocado bowl and I took a chirashizushi with seasonal sashimi, roe, and tamagoyaki. Each bowl was about 800 JPY or about $7 USD. Isomaru Suisan is a reliable restaurant for quick and affordable meals made with very fresh seafood.

Isomaru Suisan was recently featured on television as it goes to great lengths to bring the freshest seafood to its stores. The chain has branches throughout Tokyo and most shops are 24 hours. There are multiple locations at the bigger stations. Shinjuku station has nine shops within walking distance. There is a menu that is in English, Chinese, and Korean complete with photos.

The interior is filled with colorful designs from tairyōbata, giant flags that are flown from fishing boats in Japan. Staff are plentiful and service is fast. This is not gourmet dining, but for the price, it offers a great value.

Many of the diners were drinking beer and saké. Many were grilling their own seafood on portable burners. It’s a fun atmosphere and a great place to come with friends, but solo diners would also feel comfortable here.

Isomaru Suisan 磯丸水産

http://www.isomaru.jp/

The shops:

http://www.isomaru.jp/shoplist/

The shop list is only in Japanese. I would suggest doing a search in English under “Isomaru Suisan” and the name of a Tokyo station.

Tsukiji Katou 築地かとう

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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/

Tokyo Station Sushi Sei

Sushi Sei salmon and ikura

Sushi Sei salmon and ikura

Sushi Sei is a popular sushi shop at Tsukiji Market that has a branch inside of Tokyo Station. There is often a line of salarymen outside of the shop before it opens at 7 a.m. The breakfast options include sashimi or donburi (sashimi over a large bowl of rice). There are also two versions of ochazuke. Ochazuke is a bowl of rice with toppings such as seafood or pickles that is then drenched with tea or a mix of dashi and tea. Sushi Sei has sea bream in a creamy sesame dressing or salmon belly with ikura. Above is the salmon and ikura set as it is presented.

Sushi Sei ochazuke

Sushi Sei ochazuke

The diner assembles the toppings to the rice and then pours the savory tea broth over the bowl. This breakfast is only 670 JPY. At current exchange rates I think it is about $5 USD. It is garnished with mizuna greens and arare, colorful rice crackers.

There are seats at the sushi counter, but this early in the morning the counter is not filled with seafood yet. It was busy recently on a weekday morning, and I was happy to see that most of the customers were ordering the ochazuke. It is a popular comfort food dish. I usually drink it as a last dish at an izakaya after a night out of drinking, but it is also an excellent way to start the day.

Sushi Sei first opened 120 years ago, in the original fish market, before it moved to Tsukiji.

Tsukiji Sushi Sei 築地寿司清

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Tokyo Station GranSta Dining 1st Floor

www.tsukijisushisay.co.jp/store/tokyo.html

November Seasonal Japanese Seafood

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Salmon roe, pulled out of its sac and simply marinated in the sweet soy sauce of Kyushu, is irresistible this time of year. We love it so much it is on the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Crabs are also coming to market. Another highlight this time of year is fresh scallops and oysters, both best when raw.

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Kawahagi may not be the most beautiful fish to look at, but when cut of its leathery skin, and served as sushi with its liver, it is heavenly.

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Shirako, or milt, is often from cod fish, but Japanese chefs I speak with say that the best milt comes from fugu. Many people who try this love its creaminess and velvety texture. But, once you tell them what it is they sometimes change their mind. Here it is steamed and then served with a tart ponzu and grated daikon with chili.

Amadai  赤甘鯛  tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicas)                                       

Ankō 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)                     

Asaba karei 浅羽鰈  rock sole (Pleuronectes mochigarei)                                 

Chidai   血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)                     

 Hata はた grouper  (Epinephelus septemfasciatus)                                    

Hata hata 鰰 sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)               

Higedara ひげたらsnubnose brotula (Hoplobrotuda armata)   

Hi ika ひいか winter dwarf squid  (Nipponololig (Loliolus) japonica)     

Hirame 鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)                 

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)                  

Hon kamasu 本カマス barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)             

Hon kawahagi 本皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)   

Ibodai 疣鯛  Japanese butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)                  

Ise ebi 伊勢海老  Japanese spiny lobster (Panulirus japonicas)                   

Ishi karei いしかれい Stone flounder (kareius bicoloratus)                                

Itoyori イトヨリGolden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)         

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack (Seriola dumerili)                       

Kou ika こういか cuttlefish (Sepia (Platysepia) esculenta)                       

Kuro karei くろかれい black plaice (Pleuronectes obscurus)              

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)

Kaki 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)                                                         

Matara 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)                           

Masaba  真鯖   Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)                 

Matsuba gani  松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)           

Mebachi maguro  目鉢鮪 bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)         

Medai  目鯛  butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)                                       

Meita karei  めいたかれいfine spotted flounder (Pleuronichthys cornutus)  

Mekajiki  かじき swordfish (Xiphias gladius)                      

Mongouika  もんごういか  cuttlefish (Sepia lycidas)                               

Mutsu  むつgnomefish  (Scombrops boops)                

Nametagarei  婆鰈  slime flounder (Microstomus achne)       

Sawara  さわら Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sanma 秋刀魚  Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)             

Shiba ebi  芝海老  Shiba shrimp (Metapenaeus joyneri                   

Shiro ika  白烏賊swordtip squid (Loligo (Photololigo) edulis) or kensaki ika   

Shirosake  白鮭   chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)                

Souda katsuo  宗田鰹bullet mackerel (Auxis rochei)                                  

Sujiko  筋子  chum salmon roe                              

Sukesou tara  助宗たら pollockTheragra chalcogramma)           

Suma katsuo  すまかつお  black skipjack (Euthynnus affinis)         

Surume ika  スルメイカ Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)   

Tairagai  平貝 penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)                 

Wakasagi  若細魚 Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)                        

 Warasa  ワラサ  yellowtail  (Seriola quinqueradiata)            

Yoshikiri same  よしきりさめ blue shark (Prionace glauca)              

Watarigani  渡蟹   swimming crab (Portunus trituberculatus)                     

Zuwaigani  頭矮蟹  snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

August Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Karei

Karei

Look for these seafood when eating out in Japan or in the supermarkets or at your fishmonger. Most of the seafood listed here you can enjoy as sushi or sashimi. At home we like to have tachiuo as sashimi with a bit of sesame oil and sea salt. Karei we like either simmered in a delicate dashi with some soy sauce and mirin or cooked in butter and lemon meuniere-style. Ayu is best salted and grilled. And while we don’t cook hamo at home we look forward to having it out at restaurants, especially with a bainiku (umeboshi) dressing. We had katsuo over the weekend at a restaurant. The chef seared the outside (tataki), sliced it, and served it over a bowl of rice with grated nagaimo.

Aka isaki 赤伊佐幾 Schlegel’s red bass (Caprodon schlegelii)

Ayu 鮎  sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Hamo   pike eel or pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)

Hoya  ほや sea squirt(Halocynthia roretzi)

Inada 鰍 young amberjack (or yellowtail) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Stages of buri: wakashi, inada, warasa, buri

Isaki 伊佐幾 chicken grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack or yellowtail (Seriola dumerili)

Karei 鰈 right-eye flounder (Pleuronectes herzensteini)

Katsuo 鰹 skipjack tuna (or bonito) (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kensaki ika 剣先烏賊 swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Kijihata (Akahata) 雉羽太 red-spotted grouper (Epinephelus akaara)

Ko yari ika槍烏賊  baby spear squid (Loligo bleekeri)

Maiwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Matsubu (Ezobora) まつぶ(えぞぼら Japanese neptune or whelk (Neptunea polycostata)

Mehikari  目光 greeneyes (Chlorophthalmus borealis)

Saba 鯖  Japanese mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Saragai  皿貝 Northern great telling (Megangulus venulosa)

Shiira  しいら 鱪 dorado or mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

Shima aji  島鯵 striped jack or white trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)

Shinko (Konoshiro) 鰶 dotted gizzard shad (Konosirus punctatus)

Surumei ika するめいか 鯣烏賊 Japanese common squid (or flying squid) (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki すずき 鱸 Japanese sea bass (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚  cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tobiuo 飛魚  flying fish (Cypselurus agoo)

July Japanese Seasonal Seafood

surumeika

surumeika

Following is a list of seasonal seafood for July. Look for these in the market or if you are going out for sushi. Some of our personal favorites include ayu (salted and grilled), shitabirame (meuniere), shijimi (miso soup), benisake (salted and grilled), and for sashimi – surumeika, kinmedai, takabe, and isaki.

Ayu あゆ 鮎 sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Benisake べにさけ 紅鮭 sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Inada いなだ  鰍 young amberjack (or yellowtail) (Seriola quinqueradiata) wakashi, inada, warasa, buri

Isaki いさき  伊佐幾 chicken grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Katsuo かつお 鰹 skipjack tuna (or bonito) (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kinmedai きんめだい 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Maaji まあじ 真鯵 Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus)

Mejimaguro めじまぐろ young tuna (genusThunnus) if it is a young bluefin tuna it will be called honmeji, if it is a young yellowfin tuna it will be called kinmeji.

Shijimi しじみ 蜆 Corbicula clams (or water clams) (Corbicula japonica)

Shiro ika しろいか 白烏賊 or Kensaki ika swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Shitabirame したびらめ 舌平目 (or ushinoshita) four line tongue sole(Arelia bilineat)

Surumeika するめいか 鯣烏賊 Japanese common squid (or flying squid) (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki すずき 鱸 Japanese sea bass (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Takabe たかべ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Yoshiike in Ameyoko アメ横の吉池

Yoshiike 吉池

Yoshiike 吉池

Yoshiike 吉池

Taito-ku, Ueno 3-27-12 台東区上野3-27-12

Tel. 03-3831-0141

9:30 – 24:00, no holidays

www.yoshiike-group.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Since 1920, Yoshiike has been a prominent shop in this area of Ueno. This large store has a supermarket in the basement, a large seafood department, and fresh produce. The second floor is a liquor shop, with wine, sake, shochu, and spirits as well as ochoko (sake cups), tokkuri (sake vases).

It is the seafood department that makes this shop worth visiting. The fresh seafood area is impressive with a colorful array of fish, crabs, shellfish and other seafood. But that is just a tiny part of this expansive floor. There is marinated fish, himono (butterflied, salted, and dried fish for grilling), dried fish, smoked salmon, mentaiko, and much more. The kakkohin (processed seafood) is a big part of the seafood culture in Japan and there is a wide variety of products including Satsuma-age (deep-fried fish cakes), kamaboko (steamed fish cakes), canned seafood, and more. Outside of the shop there is space for rotating vendors, often grilled fish.

In the middle of the floor there is a refrigerated case with reasonably priced sashimi platters, ready to go for an impromptu picnic in Ueno Koen (Ueno Park). There are small vendors specializing in unagi and fugu.

Pick up a sashimi platter, some grilled fish, fresh fruit, and then head up to the second floor for some chilled sake and you are set for a picnic in Ueno Park.

Uokyu in Ningyocho 人形町の魚久

Uokyu in Ningyocho 人形町の魚久

Uokyu in Ningyocho 人形町の魚久

Uokyu 魚久

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-3 中央区日本橋人形町2-4-3

Tel. 03-3666-0048

Monday – Friday 10:00 – 20:00

Saturday 10:00 – 19:00

Sunday and holidays 10:00 – 18:00

www.uokyu.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Uokyu is famous for its seafood marinated in sake kasu (sake lees). This process is not seen too much outside of Japan, unlike the miso marinated seafood, which Nobu popularized at his restaurant. The miso marinated grilled seafood tends to be a bit sweeter while the sake kasu is very aromatic. If you want to try this, their sister shop is off the main road, but serves lunch from 11:00 – 13:30 at Ningyocho 1-1-20, phone 03-5695-4121.