Day Five

Tsukiji fish market, Odaiba and Shinjuku


We woke up early in order to get to Tsukiji and see the tuna auction. We hopped in a taxi at 4am (trains don't start until 5am) and by 4:15am we were at the Tsukiji fish market to get in line for the tuna auction.

Only the first 120 people are allowed to enter the fish market to see the auction, split into two 60-person groups. We were in the latter group.


Our group was escorted to the tuna auction in a nearby warehouse. Visitors had to wear green vests to get around. The fish market is a remarkably busy place. If you're not paying full attention you'll get hit by the many forklifts and trucks hauling fresh fish through.

The sun was just breaking as we made it to the auction.

We waited around for about 10 minutes before the auction began. Until this point it was interesting to see how the prospective buyers were inspecting the tuna. They had hooks to grab at the opened tails, sometimes taking out small slices themselves or looking at it with a flashlight.

To my surprise the tuna were all frozen!


The auction began.


Winners began hauling off their tuna to resell or serve in their sushi restaurants as the quick auction came to a close. Nearby there were large bandsaws cutting up the massive frozen fish.

We were escorted back through the fish market, which had since become even busier. The large wholesaler's fish market itself did not open to the public until 9am so we had sometime to walk around and explore.

Several sushi restaurants on the grounds serving the freshest fish started amassing 1-2 hour lines. Each one of these was tiny — only able to seat about 10 people.

Hamarikyu Gardens

A mile or two away we found the Hamarikyu Gardens where we spent some time while waiting for the fish market to open to the general public.


Back to the fish market.

After the fish market we took a quick metro detour from Tsukiji to walk around the relatively quiet Ebisu and Nakameguro neighborhoods.

Odaiba お台場

We then took a much longer train ride to a man made island in Tokyo Bay called Odaiba. It's largely a shopping district with a nice view of Rainbow Bridge. Though it lacks the dense, populous feel of other parts of Tokyo and felt much less walkable. We walked around to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza to grab a snack before heading to Shinjuku to catch our late dinner reservation.

Shinjuku 新宿区

As this was Anand's last day in Japan, we had dinner at the 52nd floor New York Grill atop the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel (from the movie Lost in Translation).

We got a seat in front of the kitchen and started off the night with a few glasses of Cristal.