Sushi Dai in Tsukiji Market, real waiting-in-the-queue report!

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Should I say “the World Famous” Sushi Dai by Tripadvisor? I have just checked the latest voting result. Wow, it is voted higher than Kyubei ! Then I must go and check it out by myself. It was cold and rainy this morning. We walked inside the Tsukiji Market trying not to bother the working Turret Trucks. In case you are not familiar, Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest fish market in Japan; the daily fish deal on average is about 2,000 tons. Sushi Dai is located inside the market; the original idea was to serve people working in the market. That is why their business hours is from 5:00 am to 2:00 pm. Fish auctions start around 5:00 am, and before that many trucks deliver fish from all over Japan or from abroad. When my staff visited before, she said arriving at 3:00 am was too late (and got inside at around 8am). Here we go!

1:00 am we were the first ones in the que.
1:44 am another group of two people and one single joined.
2:44 am another one joined.
2:58 am four joined.
3:11 am Another three joined. That’s it! After that, there were too many people, and we lost count because the line went around the corner.

The small sushi counter can only serve 13 people at a time. Whoever joins after this group, needs to wait for the second round. It was about 4 degrees Celsius outside. We waited and waited for four hours in the dark cold air before we were invited inside. Five minutes before 5:00 am, the first 13 were invited inside the shop. At this time the most patient ones were us, four hours, and the luckiest one was two hours. I guess they were lucky because it was cold and rainy, so many people had been discouraged from lining up. Please do not blame us if you do not get into the first round if you join the queue at 3:00 am. The first round winners today came from Taiwan, Toronto, Kumamoto, Osaka, and us from Tokyo.

Inside the counter there were three sushi chefs, one of them female, which is rare. We chose Omakase course, run-of-the-chef, for 4,000 yen. They only accept cash, so be sure to save at least 4000 yen for your sushi meal! Was it good? Yes, it was very good. Is it worth queuing up? I should say it depends. We waited for four hours and ate in forty minutes. If you do not mind waiting and want to try the “world famous” Sushi Dai, go ahead. Would I personally do again? Probably no. I will book Kyubei for lunch. Dinner there is too expensive for me but lunch is still affordable and comfortable and delicious!

*Two important Tips
1. Another Sushi Dai outside: Outside the Tsukiji Fish Market along the Harumi dori, there is a clean building with blue sign saying “ Sushi Dai”. Well, it is not the one we are talking about here.
2. Tsukiji Fish Market will eventually move to the new location. It is still a hot political issue in Tokyo, and no one knows when. Sushi Dai will move to the new location once the fish market relocates. So, check it out when you visit!

Sushi Dai, Tsukiji Market

Chika K, February 2017