Getting around Tokyo: Tsukiji Fish Market

For the 25 years I have been going back and forth and or living in Japan, i have never been to the Tsukiji fish market until this trip. My boyfriend initially wanted to go here early morning to see the auctioning of the fish. As we all know, the Tsukiji fish market will not be here anymore by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as they are building something there for the Olympics. If you live in Japan orare planning to come here anytime soon, i think it is about time that you come to the fish market just to see the varieties of fish they are selling or just to eat some good sushi.

You will see a large array of things to taste and to eat, it kind of reminds me of Asakusa, The Japanese have that talent of making their culture into some kind of an attraction without losing their own culture. Unlike in certain countries where you visit tourist spots and you wouldn’t really feel like you were in their country, Japanese tourists spots are very much supported by not only the tourists but also by the locals as well.

Where and what did we eat? 

We didn’t wait so long, we ate at the oldest restaurant there in Tsukiji, which is called Tsukiji Sushisei Honten (築地寿司清 本店)You can probably just head on the Information centre to ask them for a map of the restaurant. The restaurant was opened in 1889, long before the actual Tsukiji fish market was opened in 1935. I followed this long list of suggested places to eat on this website PIC CRUMB (link click here) we decided though in the end to follow the suggestion of the information centre to eat at this restaurant. I read a lot of good reviews on this place AFTER eating here, so I assume it is also one of the best.

I also saw a lot of people eating tamagoyaki on the streets and sushi, but personally I would not suggest eating at those small places. As I have heard a lot of comments about disappointments on the small size of the sushi or the quality wasn’t so special. If you are a very particular eater you should just stick to the good restaurants.

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This was the chefs special which cost, 3500 Yen, a bit pricey for sushi but it was really good. It was the first time I tasted anything so good, I mean I’ve been eating good sushi for years but this was really good.

What time should you go there? 

If you want to see the auction happen we were told that we should have been there by 5am or even before that, I guess if you are willing to wake up as early as that then by all means I am sure it would be a great experience. (take note that trains don’t open till 5am) If not I would suggest you would go on an off time, we were there at around 9:30am and it was perfect because there weren’t a lot of people. By the time we got out of the restaurant there was a long line outside of the restaurant to eat there.

What will you see? 

You will see a lot of fish of course, and a lot of food, if you love food you will definitely love this place. All kinds of sushi and fish everywhere. My obaachan (grandmother) particularly loved the Ichigo daifuku with an ichigo on top. Ichigo is Strawberry in Japanese, so inside the Strawberry filled mocha ball is a strawberry on top. There are a lot of things to explore around the area. It is a short walk from Tsukiji station, make sure you get out of the Tsukiji fish market gate to avoid any confusion of where to walk.

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Here is a picture of the Ichiko ga nokatteru Ichigo daifuku, it was my first time to see and eat this here at Tsukiji

ル ブルターニュ(LE BRETAGNE), Kagurazaka

I finally had the chance to go to Le Bretagne with my friend Solene. I was so excited to try this place with her because of course it is very rare for me to actually be going out in Japan of all places with a French girl to an authentic French restaurant.  I would not have even expected to know where the restaurant was if not for her because it is very well hidden between one of the small side streets along Kagurazaka. She can vouch for its authenticity as she was telling me the whole time that this is the real french food that you can only find around her province in Bretagne (ブルターニュ).  They also have other branches around Tokyo but she also tells me that this is probably her favorite branch because of the ambiance of the place.  (They have many branches of the place around France and soon in New york too check out their website)

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Here is the view from the outside. It is open area and very cozy just like around France as Solene tells me.

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You will see many paintings and postcards inside. It was very crowded today but you will feel right at home as soon as you walk in.

 

The main thing that they serve here are Galettes and she tells me that it is really simple and cheap food in france but I guess its a bit overpriced in Japan. I will not really complain though about the price since where can you really get a taste of real Galettes in Japan? I also had a taste of their Cider, and I bought a bottle to take home after since Solene taught me where I could buy the Cider. (My grandmother loved it)

How can something as simple taste so good? I guess the secret is in the chef and the owner of the restaurant. He is an actual french from the same region my friend comes from, and is now living in Japan. I was also very impressed with the service and ambiance the restaurant offered. The staff of the restaurant are required to speak in French with each other regardless of the fact that they are Japanese. So it was really interesting because you would hear a lot of French around the Kitchen as you are eating. The servers can also speak in Japanese of course and some can speak in English, it was really refreshing.

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Galette: Bretonne ( ブレトンヌ)Mushrooms, Bacon, Scrambled egg, cheese, fresh cream from Hokkaido, Espelette pepper

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Quimperoise(カンペロワーズ)Homemade stewed apples, salted butter caramel and vanilla ice cream.

I cannot wait to take a lot more friends here to the restaurant. Also my grandmother and I are planning to reserve for lunch at the restaurant this week. It gets pretty crowded around the weekend so it is best to make a reservation before you come here. I am sure that you will not regret coming, and if you don’t like the French Galettes you have the option to choose their other Galettes which were adjusted to the Japanese taste. Otherwise I will recommend these that my Solene recommended to try since she tells me that these are the usual Galettes that they have in her hometown.

Recommendations by Solene: For the Galletes she recommends the Bretonne ( ブレトンヌ)and the Broceliande(ブロッセリアンド)and for the dessert Crepes with ice cream she recommends the Quimperoise(カンペロワーズ)and of course do not forget to drink their Cider! They have alcoholic and non alcoholic ones.

Where to find the store: If you are familiar with Kagurazaka you will know that there is a red temple somewhere there. Right in front of the temple and a little to the right is an udon store (うどん) There is a street there, and if you walk straight inside till the end you will see it to the left. You will not miss it for sure. Here is their website in case you want to take an early reservation because they get crowded during the weekend: Kagurazaka, Le Bretagne

猫カフェきゃりこ (Calico, Cat Cafe), Shinjuku Tokyo

My grandma and I saw this when we were on the bus on the way to Shinjuku. The building is a little hard to spot and if you can’t read Japanese you won’t really be able to see the sign. It says 猫カフェきゃりこ on its windows. You’ll have to look up the buildings to be able to see the sign.

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This is the ground floor of the building.

The cat cafe itself is located on the 5th floor but the entrance is located on the 6th floor of the building. Maybe you could find it if you google maps it. I know that Japan is filled with many cat cafe`s and its not exactly cheap but a good place to relax with some cats. If you are a cat lover such as myself, not exactly something I would try to do everyday or else ill be broke. It’s ¥1200 per hour and if you want to buy food and drinks its ¥200 for all the drinks and ¥300-500 for the food here. The food you can give to the cats is ¥300, I suggest that you just get this if you want to be able to touch a lot of cats. Since there are a lot of rules on handling their cats.

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The 5th floor where most of the cats are and where you could drink coffee and tea

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Heres another view of the place. Its pretty big and at the time we went there, there were about 30 people.

Good service here and I noticed that their staff could speak english so you won’t have problems here in the cat cafe. I love the style of seating they have and the food choices were good too. My grandma and I just got chai tea and iced coffee, and by the time we got the food snacks the cats were swarming all over us.

The chai tea and iced coffee, ¥200 each

The chai tea and iced coffee, ¥200 each

Sleepy kitty

Sleepy kitty

Another sleepy kitty

Another sleepy kitty

Something you could try if you are along the streets of Shinjuku or if you are staying around Shinjuku. There are many things that you could do around the area so you need not go for to look for something interesting to do. Although it is easy to get lost in Shinjuku train stations so i would suggest that you look up the place first before coming here. Getting on a bus would be the best idea if you would like to come here and get down on Shinjuku Eki Mae. Enjoy!

猫カフェきゃりこ (Calico, Cat Cafe), Shinjuku Tokyo

Check out their website: Calico Cat Cafe