UPDATE (2023): The inner market of Tsukiji Fish Market has since been relocated to the Toyosu Fish Market. The tuna auction is also different from when we visited. I will elaborate on this in detail in my post when we get to it. You can still visit the outer market of the old Tsukiji Fish Market for the many food options there.

A trip to Tokyo would not be complete without a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market to experience the fresh tuna auction and have some fresh sushi. After some Googling around on Tsukiji Market, we came across a rather interesting private tour and decided to book it. We also chose to dine at Daiwa Sushi after the amazing tour and tuna auction. So come along with me as I share with you the ultimate Tsukiji Market experience that we had, as well as our experience dining at Daiwa Sushi! ~ヾ(・ω・)

BEFORE YOU GO

You might want to consider checking out the following related posts as well:

A Super Early Tsukiji Market Tour

UPDATE (2023): With the relocation of the inner market, Naoto-san’s tour is no longer available. There might be tours for the new location, though I am not sure if anything would come close to what Naoto-san offered. Not when there are new restrictions for the new location that totally close off tourists to the market area.

The tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market starts daily at about 5.30 AM. And you would need to be there around 5 AM to grab a spot. If you thought that was early, this tour that we went to had us meeting our guide at 3 AM! You see that right, I said 3 AM before the sun even rises! ٩(× ×)۶ It definitely took us a while to confirm our decision to book this tour. But in the end, we decided to go with it since it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do such a thing. And I honestly think it was the best decision we have made for this Japan trip. ( ´ ω ` )

Meeting Up with Our Guide, Naoto Nakamura

It was a really cold morning as it was drizzling. We dragged our bodies out of our bed at 2.30 AM to get ready to get to our meeting point with our guide, Naoto Nakamura-san. It was our second day in Tokyo, and you bet we were SO FREAKING TIRED. Since it was SO EARLY, we got the hotel to call us a cab as there were no other transport options at this time.

We then showed a cute hand-drawn map from Naoto-san to the cab driver and got to the meeting point in time. The short trip definitely cost us quite a bit since everyone knows you should NEVER take a cab in Japan, if possible. (x_x) Naoto-san was standing outside Lawson waiting for us. After exchanging our greetings, we made our way to Tsukiji Market on foot in the drizzle.

Why This Private Tour with Naoto Nakamura

Based on Naoto-san, some vendors at the fish market do not like having tourists in the market area for a few reasons. Some tourists might not understand the rules of the market, like not touching stuff or getting in the way of others. Also, when it gets hectic in the market, some tourists may not be respectful of the vendors’ personal space or time. The vendors complained to the authorities. All these add up, and they made a new regulation. Tourists are only allowed in the public area of the market, and they can only enter the inner market after 9 AM.

So what makes Naoto-san’s private tour different? Well, he bought us into the inner market during the banned hours! He also showed us a lot of areas in the fish market, similar to a visit to our local wet market in Singapore but with more activities. There were surprisingly a lot of other auctions going on in the fish market and Naoto-san would let us stop and watch the auction. But what we got to watch out for during this whole private tour was the security guards. (¬ ¬)

It Almost Felt Like a Hide-And-Seek Mission

Since the security guards recognised him in this area, Naoto-san was consistently on the lookout for them. There was once when he thought he spotted someone from the corner of his eyes. Thinking it might be security guards, we had to do a roundabout to try to avoid them. Haha!

Naoto-san shared a lot with us during the whole tour. This included introducing to us various types of fish as well as introducing us to the market sellers! Haha! This was definitely something I did not expect since well, we were after all supposed to be on a hide-and-seek mission. It was honestly a really fun experience as we zipped around the market area with Naoto-san. This was definitely more memorable than the tuna auction that came later, well worth losing my sleep over. (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Bidding Goodbye after An Amazing Tour

Naoto-san then brought us to a rooftop. And that was when we finally could stop and take in the view of Tsukiji Fish Market from the top. After all the zipping around, trying to be careful with the wet floors and avoiding forklifts along the way, it was definitely great to finally have a breather with this view. I also finally was able to take some photos with ease. Phew.

With this amazing view, it was then time to bid Naoto-san goodbye before we headed over to the entrance to register for the second viewing of the tuna auction.

Enjoying the Tsukiji Tuna Auction

UPDATE (2023): With the relocation, tuna auctions are now even more regulated than in the past. Tourists can head up to the second-floor observatory to watch the tuna auction taking place on the first floor. But if you arrive too late, you might not be able to see anything from the back but hear the sounds from the microphones in the room.

There is a special deck on the lower floor for the best view of the tuna auction. But you would need to apply for it. Applications open at the start of each month, and the viewing is limited to ONLY 27 people. If there are more applicants than available spots, a lottery will take place. If you did not win the lottery, you would just have to be early to grab a good spot at the second-floor observatory! You can find out more information on this site.

We were given a vest to wear after getting ourselves registered. We were also given some instructions to read prior to the tuna auction to make sure we understood what we should and should not do during the auction. Once it was time, we were ushered into the viewing area. Almost always if someone walks too slowly or stopped to look at something, they will be asked to move faster and not to stop. Honestly, not very friendly, huh? (¬_¬ )

It is Time for the Tuna Auction!

Once we were in there, we got to watch the bidders doing their thing before the auction. See how the front of the tuna has a sliced-up portion? That was the part where the bidders were checking for the colour and, hence, the quality of the tuna they would be bidding on.

And then it was time for the tuna auction! The auctioneer was definitely the star of the auction. The way he was saying out the bids was like a performance to me as it sounded like he was singing and dancing. Even though I didn’t understand what he was saying, it was definitely entertaining. And then, just within seconds, the first auction was done. I did not know auctioning could be so fast. (⊙_⊙)

There was another auction in the area, but a quieter version. This time, the bidders would check the quality of the tuna slices instead of a whole tuna for their quality. I am honestly not sure what is the difference between this and the whole tuna but the auctioning went really fast with this as well. And that was the end of the tuna auction experience. Less exciting than our early morning adventure with Naoto-san, but still interesting. (*¯︶¯*)

Fresh and Delicious Sushi from Daiwa Sushi

UPDATE (2023): Daiwa Sushi has moved to Toyoso Fish Market.

After the tuna auction, it was time to fill our stomachs with some fresh seafood! For many, Sushi Dai (寿司大) might be the obvious choice, but the queue was too long for our liking. Naoto-san told us that there was actually not much difference between Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi (大和鮨). And that was why we decided to go with Daiwa Sushi instead.

Naoto-san mentioned that there are two shop fronts for Daiwa Sushi, one being managed by the father and another by the son. So we obviously chose the one managed by the father for a more veteran experience. Haha! (´・ᴗ・ ` )

Everything was AMAZING and OH SO FRESH!

We did not have to wait too long before we were given our seats in a small corner of the restaurant. I almost always regret bringing a big bag when in Japan, as the restaurant space and counter-seats are usually so tight. Thankfully, we managed to squeeze everything into a corner. I mean, thankfully, we had a corner space as well! Phew.

Once we were seated, the chef recommended the set to us, and we immediately went with his recommendation. We were each given a wooden serving dish, and the chef would continually fill it up as we ate until he finished serving all the sushi from the set. Everything was so fresh and tasted so heavenly in our mouths. I am loving this authentic Japanese sushi dining experience A LOT. (´• ω •`) ♡

Information about Daiwa Sushi

DAIWA SUSHI

⏰ Opening Hours: 6 AM – 1 PM (Closed on Wed & Sun)
☎️ Phone Number: +81 3 6633 0220
📧 Reservation: Tablecheck
🔎 Instagram

Overall Experience at Tsukiji Market

The best thing about our trip to Tsukiji Market was definitely the amazing private tour experience we had with Naoto Nakamura-san. Not only were we able to see so much more of the inner market, but we were also able to learn so much from Naoto-san with his wealth of knowledge. I definitely recommend this private tour to everyone if you are able to get past the early morning trip. Haha!

Also, you definitely DO NOT want to miss the tuna auction, as it was still an eye-opener for anyone who has never been to an auction house. And if you are against long queues for food, I would highly recommend Daiwa Sushi as an alternative to Sushi Dai. I don’t know how good Sushi Dai is, but if a local said there isn’t a difference, I would trust his words and go with the one without a long queue instead. Hope you had a great takeaway from this post and enjoy your trip to Tsukiji Market! (´ ε ` )♡

Spread the Love!

Loved what you just read? Think your friends or family would enjoy it too? Hit your favourite share button below, and let’s make good vibes travel! Your support is greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch for being awesome! (´• ω •`) ♡

Useful Travel Resources

Pack your wanderlust, and let’s set sail! I have prepared the following travel resources that you might find helpful to fuel your next adventure. This section will be ever-growing, and if you think there is anything that you want me to add to this list, drop me a message to let me know! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

BEST Cards to Use for Your Overseas Spending
Want to enjoy seamless spending overseas without the pesky fees? Check out my post on the best cards to bring overseas—the Trust Bank and YouTrip cards!

A Guide to Using Your Multicurrency Cards for Overseas Cash Withdrawal
Feeling stressed about using foreign ATMs? Let me help you navigate overseas ATMs with ease as I share my experience using my Trust Bank and YouTrip cards for overseas cash withdrawals—examples included!

Transform Your Travel with Lounge Access + Cards I Use to Get Free Visits!
Ready to ditch airport stress? Visit my post to discover the magic of lounge access and my go-to credit cards for complimentary lounge visits!

Tips on Packing for 10 – 20 Degrees Celsius Weather
Winter packing woes got you stressed? My guide will turn your “Gaaaah!” into a smooth vacay in 10 to 20 degrees Celsius weather!

Want to travel light without the luggage hassle? Well, I’ve got a handy tip for you: luggage storage and Yamato Transport’s reliable luggage delivery service! If you’re flying into Narita or Haneda Airport, the Japan Airport Limousine Bus is a fantastic option for getting to your accommodation. Plus, check out our other Tokyo-related posts – there’s a lot more to explore! ⸜( ´ ꒳ ` )⸝


LET’S CONNECT!

I share the latest updates on Facebook and Instagram, and you’ll find weekly photos and travel stories (when wanderlust strikes!). Come say hi if you use social media!

Alternatively, you can reach out through my contact form or email me! Looking forward to connecting with you lovely people! (´ ε ` )♡


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *