About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view Swinden's profile
    Posted May 29, 2013 by
    Tokyo, Japan
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

    More from Swinden

    Japan – Tokyo: Queuing up at 4:30 AM for a sushi breakfast.


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     It's not often an iReport will literally make your mouth water, but U.S. tourist Swinden's visit to the renowned Sushi Dai restaurant in Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, will make you long for sushi. The restaurant is one of several clustered around the famous fish market, thought to be the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. "The atmosphere at the fish market was fast-paced to say the least," he said. "As a tourist, you run the risk of getting in somebody’s way or getting run over by a cart load of fish." And as for the sushi? To get the good stuff, you have to get there early. Really early. But it's worth the wait, our iReport said. "It simply melts in your mouth. You simply cannot get any fresher sushi unless you caught the fish yourself and had it on the boat."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan – My wife and I woke up at 3:30 am, hailed a cab on the rain slick streets of Tokyo and headed down to the Tsukiji Fish Market in the hopes to be one of the 120 lucky individuals admitted to the tuna auction. We arrived at the guard gate at 4:15 am only to be told that the allotted spots had been filled for the morning’s auction. Now what? Tourist are not allowed into the fish market until 9 am, we don’t want to go back to our Ryokan, so we opted for a little sushi breakfast….Sushi Dai was the recommended eatery.

    Walking in the rain over to building #6, we found Sushi Dai not by the signage, but by the nearly two dozen people waiting in line for the restaurant to open….and it is only 4:30 am. Evidently quite a few people have read about Sushi Dai and its neighbor a couple of doors down Daiwa-Zushi. So we waited until the doors opened for business at 6 am….but we didn’t get in for the first seating, we had to wait until 6:30. You see, this little world famous sushi restaurant only seats 12 people at a time and is only open for breakfast from 6 am to noon. So if you are looking to get in for dinner…you’ll need to find another sushi restaurant. By the way, reservations are not taken….so just get in line.

    Why is Sushi Dai so popular that people from around the world will literally wait for hours in the pre-dawn light and rain? It is because the fish is so fresh. Think about it…from boat….to fish market….to table all within a couple of hundred meters and a few hours. If I want sushi in Colorado, it needs to be flown in…not here….it only needs to be hand trucked over.

    So if you are down at the Tsukiji Fish Market and you are sushi lover like we are, head on over to Sushi Dai….it’s like going to Mecca for the sushi diehards.

    Matt Swinden and his wife Marlis Wadleigh traveled to Japan reporting on some the common and not so common sights in Japan.

    Video & Photos by Matt Swinden
    Add your Story Add your Story