The One about Sushi Dai in Tsukiji

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You probably have read about it.  You probably have heard about it.

Sushi Dai is the must-go place in Tokyo if you are a fan of sushi!

Granted, Sushi Dai has received the love for those who love to eat sushi early in the morning but the question is… How early are you willing to wake up in the morning to try the sushi?  And how long are you willing to wait in line to eat sushi?

And that all comes down to how much you are a sushi fanatic.

Sushi Dai is a restaurant which I can compare to curry and ramen restaurants during rush hour, in the fact, that you go in, choose what you want, sit and leave.  There is no casual chit chat, there is no finding a table to eat at.  It’s a small place, where you order your food, you eat, you leave and that is it.  Don’t expect service or any choice of beverage either.

The sushi is fantastic as Sushi Dai and everyone knows it.  People all over the world know it.  And like you, there are hundreds of sushi fanatics wanting to eat there and so, people leave early in the morning before 4:00 a.m. to get in line.

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If you are there during the wee hours of the morning at 3:00 a.m., good for you.  Chances are, you will make it for the first block and hopefully get in within opening.

But for those who are living or staying a distance away, chances are you’ll be there at 5:30-6:00 a.m. and the lines are already long.

And unfortunately, the wait time will be around 2-6 hours.  People who left at 3:00 a.m. have waited three hours to get seated.  So, just plan on wearing comfortable shoes and plan to do something to pass the time.  Also, it gets a little chilly and I can’t imagine how winter would be waiting in line.

As for price, there are only two choices so expect to pay around Y2600 (currently around $23.11 US) or Y4000 (Y4000 is currently around $35.62 US) for a meal.

The “Chef’s Choice” (omakase) is about Y4,000 and you get eleven pieces of sushi, ten chosen by the chef and one chosen by you.

It’s important to note that it may seem expensive for a lot of people coming from overseas but the truth is that for quality sushi, you are going to be paying a lot more than Y4000.  So, for this many pieces, it’s actually priced very well.

You’ll get your ginger for cleansing, their miso soup (which features tuna bone, but don’t worry, this won’t get caught in your throat or anything like that).

But it’s a great one-time experience, but it’s very YMMV of how long you will get in.

One of the things that people want to know is how to get there at 3:00 a.m., when there are no trains running at that time.  I recommend finding a place to stay closeby or a 24-hour cafe and then walk to Sushi Dai.  So, in other words, if you are traveling to Japan, expect it to be an overnighter, so get full rest.  Otherwise, if you leave around 5:00 a.m., just be prepared to wait for a few hours as the restaurant only has 12 seats.

Also, because you’re at Tsukiji fish market, there are other sushi restaurants that are just as delicious, cheaper and have a larger restaurant space (and not as many people in line).  Also, because you are in Japan, sushi restaurants are aplenty.

It’s important to note that the Fish Market is moving in November and what remains of the old Tsukji Fish Market remains to be seen.

But if you are going to Tsukiji Fish Market and the lines are not your thing, there is also Daiwa Sushi right next to Sushi Dai where the average wait time is 40 minutes, another great place which is bigger and a smaller line, but really, you will discover quite a few (inexpensive) locations by visiting various restaurants in Tsukiji and be quite content with the fresh, delicious sushi available.

But if you are going to Japan and heading to Tsukiji and want to try a great sushi restaurant early in the morning.  As for Sushi Dai, good things come for those who wait.

The question is if you are willing to wait hours and after the first experience, are you willing to do it again?



Dennis A. Amith