I did something very crazy last December that I must share it. I lined up in the Tsukiji Market at 3am to get into Sushi Dai during the coldest season in Tokyo. On that day, I landed at 12 am to Tokyo and I took the last train to the Tsukiji Market.
The reason why I did this is because of the closing of the Tsukiji Market in November 2016. So this motivated me to take up this challenge, which I have failed for so many times.
I arrived at Sushi Dai’s door exactly at 3am. After two minutes, some people joined the line. After 15 minutes, there were 6 people waiting in the cold. All foreigners. I waited patiently until 5 am. By that time I couldn’t even see the end of the line.
Sushi Dai has been a place where many people took their sushi 101 class and many people asked me what I think about it. So now I can give you my answer. People bragged about how fresh their ingredients are etc… but for me, sushi is not (just) about “freshness”. It’s also about skills, the combination of the rice (Shari) and toppings (neta), aging etc. 4,000 yen for 10 nigiri might be a bargin, but if you really want to taste a proper nigiri sushi, I would recommend a place that you don’t need to line up, with comfortable seatings, and with better nigiri skills, also foreigner friendly, which is just a few blocks away. That’s Ginza Kyubey. Of course you can’t order an omakase in Kyubey with 4,000 yen, but you can order 5-7 pieces which costs about 4,000 – 5,000yen.
Of course, Sushi Dai might be slightly better than some of the chain shops around tsukiji, but I really don’t think it worth the wait.
Sushi Dai (寿司大)
Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji Chuo Tokyo (東京都中央区築地 5-2-1 築地市場 6号館)
Tel: +81-3-3547-6797 (no reservation)
Visited on: 12 Dec 2015