On October 11 last year, the city of Tokyo moved the world’s largest fish market from its historic Tsukiji location to a new, custom-built facility in nearby Toyosu, complete with early-morning tuna auction and the freshest of fresh seafood at on-site restaurants — including transplanted favorites like Sushi Dai. But for the real foodies, Tsukiji remains a great choice for a day of delicious eats and gritty old-school charm. Here are five things you can still do there.
Search for bargains in the outer market
The wholesale market might have moved on, but the warren of shops and restaurants known as the outer market is still in business. While munching on delectable street food — like skewers of grilled scallops topped with sea urchin — you can wander the shops looking for bargain kitchenware and dry goods for your souvenir stash.
Sip a special espresso at Turret Coffee
This tiny third-wave coffee stand serving beans from local roaster Streamer is a long-running Tokyo favorite for unique touches like espressos served in ochoko sake cups and a tatami seating area on the back of a turret truck, which was formerly used to move produce around the market. Be sure to try the decadent caramel and sea salt latte. fb.com/turretcoffee
Eat at an old-school izakaya
Casual gastropubs known as izakaya can be found anywhere in the Japanese archipelago, but the old stalwarts in Tsukiji have the winning combination of rough-edged charm and high-quality seafood that draws Tokyoites from around the city for an after-work drink. We recommend Chouseian at 4-14-1 Tsukiji. fb.com/tsukijichouseian
Say a prayer at Namiyoke Inari Shrine
The name of this Shinto shrine means “protection from the waves”, so you can see why it’s beloved by Tokyo’s fishermen. At the gate, snap some selfies with two of the giant wooden lion heads that are said to calm the ocean winds. Then, say a prayer for the continued abundance of seafood at markers called tsuka.
Sail away with Suship
This new company whisks guests down the Sumida River to a yakatabune pleasure boat in Tokyo Bay to enjoy city views and a multi-course, sushi-packed dinner crafted from Hokkaido seafood. Add an all-you-can-drink option for ¥1,200 (about P570) and get bottomless wine, sake and cocktails. g207111.gorp.jp
This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Smile magazine.