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Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Chicago
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Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Trip in late September. My travel companion and I plan on arriving at the market around 4:30am for the tuna auction. We would then like to go to Sushi Dai. And after breakfast, we'd like to continue our tour of the market.

1) Does that sound like a reasonable idea?

2) Any reason to hire a guide?

3) Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

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K J
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1. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Basically, that is about as normal as you can get and a tad vanilla. I suggest paying for a guide to get you into the fresh auctions and other auctions. They require you to be there around 3. Sorry, but your plan is too vanilla to need a guide. You might have to show up earlier than 4:30. Please respect the rules.

Chicago
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2. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Well, I know what you mean by vanilla, but that's more a function of me not fully explaining all of the details of what I'd like to see after breakfast. There are other auctions I'd like to view (melons for one), and as someone who's very food focused, I do plan on spending hours there. Perhaps what I'm really asking is what can a guide show me that research and self-guiding cannot do for me.

Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

I think you might want to get there earlier then 4.30am. We got there around that time but auctions ended already and You have to check with the local, I think there's no auction on some day, I don't remember which day. And prepare for Sushi Dai! I'm drooling as I'm typing this:)

We queued for more than 2 hours and we got there early but there's already a queue but it's worth the wait. We regretted that we only ordered 1 set after queuing for so long. They actually giver very generous cut and it was very filling.

We walked around the market after that, bought some mushrooms, green tea, and some uni (sea urchin) it is so cheap!!.

We went there on our own, so I'm not sure if there's such guide.

Hope you enjoy the trip:)

Edited: 12:30 am, August 02, 2013
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4. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

@ChicagoToTheWorld Since you mentioned wanting to spend hours at Tsukiji, I'd like to recommend the Karato market in Shimonoseki. To be sure, it's nowhere near Tokyo (in fact, you can WALK from there to Kyushu island), however it's a stress-free (when compared to Tsukiji) fish market that also specializes in fugu and other products you may not find as easily up at the famous one. Whale curry, for example.

Jonathan

buildingmybento.com

collaterallettuce.com

Aoyama Dori and San...
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5. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

The market in Shimonoseki is extremely tourist-friendly. It is a very serious wholesale market early in the morning but morphs into a retail-friendly market sometime in the morning where the wholesale stalls convert into something akin to a festival food booth configuration and they serve to retail customers. It is quite inexpensive to enjoy fugu there, if you are so inclined.

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6. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Indeed, @Route246.

Also, @ChicagoToTheWorld since we are both (it seems) big fans of eating while traveling, I'd like to suggest for another trip, a visit to Jagalchi Market in Busan, South Korea. Clean, pleasant and best of all, you can just point at something (say an oyster or geoduck) and have it served up right there, with soy sauce, miso paste and wasabi.

Tsukiji was agreeable the first time, but the more I went, the less welcome I felt. Still, there are 24-hour (budget) sushi options, and it's a hoot to wander around the outside, but the other two markets I mentioned are much more relaxing.

Hong Kong, China
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7. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Tsukiji Market should have tuna auctions on the days it is open. Auction registration begins at 5am but you should go there early (no later than 4:30am according to most) to line up since the number of viewers allowed are restricted. Actual auctions start before 5:30am.

Regarding inner market sushi restaurants, some will tell you it's worth the wait, while others (including myself) don't find the wait worthwhile since you can have good sushi at many places. It's your call.

8. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

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Chicago
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9. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

Wow - you guys have been incredibly helpful . . . more than I could have imagined. I will absolutely check out Karato market in Shimonoseki. And Jonathan, not able to make it to South Korea on this trip, but certainly will remember for when I do visit.

As long as you guys have been this helpful, let me push my luck a little. Opted against even trying for Sukiyabashi Jiro honten, as much based on concerns about the experience as any (speak very, very little Japanese), and instead am still awaiting word from hotel concierge on Saito and Kanesaka . . . any recommendations in case those fall through for dinner? Already have a reservation at Narisawa, and will get our fill of ramen, soba, udon and tempura.

Also, in Kyoto, any recs for a great kaiseki meal (not staying at a Ryokan)?

Thanks again!

Aoyama Dori and San...
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10. Re: Here's my plan for Tsukiji market - should I have a guide?

If you go to Shimonoseki be sure to check out the fugu lanterns and other fugu souvenirs. There are some gift shops in the area outside of the fish market. It is really a nice place to visit and hangout, unlike Tsukiji which is all business.