Translated by MATCHA_En
Tsukiji Fish Market Tour Followed By Sushi Workshop!
Written by Keisuke Yamada
We introduce a tour which includes a visit to the Tsukiji Market and a sushi making workshop. Visit the famous Tsukiji market and make sushi guided by professionals at an authentic sushi restaurant in Tsukiji.
Tsukiji is the place in Tokyo where the largest fish market in Japan is located. Because they can immediately get fresh fish varieties at this market, there are many sushi and sashimi restaurants in the area. Of course, not only fish cuisine restaurants, but also places offering several other types of dishes, visited especially by the market workers, are open for business daily in Tsukiji.
The temples and the shrines nearby boast a long history. These are places where you can get a glimpse of the traditional Japanese culture. In recent years, the fish market itself has been gathering attention as a popular sightseeing spot.
Did you know that there is a tour which includes a visit to the inner and outer sides of the Tsukiji fish market, as well as a workshop for making sushi? We will introduce here this tour, which is popular both with the Japanese and with foreign visitors – Tsukiji Market Tour Followed By Sushi Workshop.
First, A Visit To The Tsukiji Inner And Outer Markets
The tour participants meet at 8:30 at the Tsukiji Information Center. The Tsukiji Information Center is on the 2nd floor of the Tsukiji KY Building, located at one of the corners of the Tsukiji no.4 Street crossroads. After entering the building, take the escalator to the 2nd floor.
First you will watch a video and hear the guide’s explanations on the Tsukiji tour. You will find more about the exact location of Tsukiji in Tokyo, about what kind of place it is, at what time in the morning begins the work of the people employed there and other information.
The Tsukiji Inner Market
After you have watched the video, you will be guided through the market itself. The Tsukiji inner market is the place where restaurant professionals buy their primary ingredients.
The Tsukiji Market is one of the eleven markets in the Tokyo area specialized in seafood and vegetables. It boasts the longest history and is famous especially for the sea products put on sale here, counting as one of the largest markets of this kind in the world. The inner market is the area where the auctions and wholesale of fresh products take place. At the auctions, the sellers offer the buyers fish and other sea products. The tuna auctions that take place here early in the morning are open for anyone to see.
The Vegetable Market
When talking about Tsukiji, the first thing that comes to mind is the fish market. However there is also a vegetable market here. The tour takes us first to this side of the market.
As you can see in the video, the place is full of small shops.
The range of products sold in this area spans from vegetables and fruit to processed goods, targeted mainly at professionals. However there are some shops that sell products in small quantities for individual customers.
The Fish Market
The atmosphere of the fish market is completely different from that of the vegetable market. The sellers cut the fish into small pieces using large knives, so there is a certain tension in the air. For this reason, when visiting the market and taking pictures, please do not use the camera flash. Actually, the guide will let you know where and when it is permitted to take pictures.
There are stores that handle fish you can find at supermarkets. However you will be able to see here varieties of fish that are actually never eaten in regular households, such as the "mud turtle" or "eel".
As you can see in the video, there are various types of shops.
There are even stores that sell tuna eyeballs. Tuna eyeballs are rich in collagen and it seems that there are people who come to buy them regularly. Among the customers there are persons who address visitors in a friendly manner.
Stores Selling Ice
In the Tsukiji Market there are even somewhat peculiar shops, such as the ice selling stores. No matter if the weather is hot or cold, ice is needed for preserving the fish. In the Tsukiji market there are shops specialized in selling ice. The stores handling fish need large quantities of ice, and the ice shops have to cover that demand. We managed to film the process of selling ice, so please take a look.
Everything happens in just seconds.
The Popular Gyūdon Restaurant - Yoshinoya No.1
There are many Yoshinoya gyūdon restaurants all over Japan, but the first branch of this restaurant chain happens to be located in Tsukiji. Because the workers at the market are very busy in the morning, Yoshinoya’s concept “Quick, Delicious, Cheap” has hit the target here. Yoshinoya No.1 has various features that cannot be seen in other branches.
Namiyoke Jinja Shrine
At one side of the market there is the Namiyoke Jinja Shrine (波除神社).
On its grounds there is a mound (tsuka 塚)(*1) related to the sea animals. In many respects, this shrine is different from others.
*1… Tsuka 塚 is a mound created artificially. Because such mounds are created in order to comfort the spirits of the dead, they are considered sacred.
Moreover, because the Tsukiji market handles food products, Namiyoke jinja Shrine features sights that can only be seen here, such as shown in the picture above: Ebi tsuka ("The Mound of the Shrimps"), Sushizuka ("The Mound of Sushi"), Tamago zuka ("The Mound of Eggs").
Read also: Namiyoke Jinja - A Shrine Deeply Connected With the Sea Located near Tsukiji (MATCHA article, Japanese)
After the visit at the Tsukiji Market, we will move to the restaurant where the Sushi Workshop will take place. Because the walk through the Tsukiji Market will last for about an hour, the tour participants will start feeling hungry.
The workshop takes place at "Edo jidai" 江戸時代, a sushi restaurant in Tsukiji.
The participants first put on coverall aprons (long aprons with sleeves used when cooking) and the workshop starts. First we shape the rice (called "shari") with our hands.
Next we add a tinge of wasabi to the sushi topping, place the topping on the rice and grasp it firmly in the hand. At first it will be quite a challenge.
Makizushi ("Sushi rolls")
After making nigirizushi "sushi shaped with the hand", we will make also makizushi "sushi rolls". Makizushi is made by placing sushi rice (rice with a tinge of vinegar) on a sheet of nori seaweed. The filling is placed on top of the rice, which is then rolled with the help of a maki-sudare (bamboo mat used in food preparation).
Take A Souvenir Photo
After making sushi you can have your picture taken while offering sushi from behind the counter. It is a once in a life time chance, so please take a souvenir picture.
After taking a picture, please taste the sushi that you made yourself.
What do you think about this tour? You have the chance to visit the Tsukiji inner and outer markets and even make sushi by yourself, so it will surely be a pleasant experience. There are places that you can visit because there is someone guiding you, and you have the chance to know the Tsukiji that only the Japanese know.
Tour details: Tsukiji Market Tour Followed By Sushi Workshop
Tsukiji Market Tour Followed By Sushi Workshop
Price: 18500 yen (tax not included)
Official Website: Tsukiji Guided Tours