Our trip to Japan -Tsukiji Fish Market

Ever since I discovered Hello Kitty at age 8, I dreamed of going to Japan.  Back then I imagined it to be a sea of pink Sanrio stickers and dolls and notebooks and smelly erasers and all that crap that makes an 8 year old asian kid's heart beat faster.  But as an adult I just became fascinated by the culture and history of the country, and it stayed at the top of the list of places I wanted to visit.

In September, it finally happened!  We took a 2 week trip to Japan visiting the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara, and of course Tokyo.  And it did not disappoint.  Thought I would just do a couple of posts about our trip.

If you were planning a similar itinerary to ours, my first tip would be to fly into either Tokyo or Osaka and then fly out of the other if the flights are available out of your city.  We flew in and out of Tokyo, which meant there was an extra 3 hour train ride that we had to make which could have been avoided had we booked into Osaka and out of Tokyo.  Not a huge deal but when time is of the essence, the less moving around the better.

We got to the airport 4 hours before our flight, a bit ahead of the recommended 2.5 hours for international flights but SO worth it as we got the emergency exit row.  I don't know who was happier, me or Dave.  For the 13 hour flight, it was a real luxury to have the extra leg room.  I'm not saying I need extra leg room, but when your husband is 6 foot 2, you always get the middle seat and there is always a big leg in front of you.

I'm sure you've heard stories of how clean Japan is.  This is at the train station at the Narita Airport where you catch the train that takes you into Tokyo (about $30 for a 45 minute ride, my understanding is that a cab ride can cost up to $200 or more).  LOOK AT THE FLOOR (not at Dave).  This is a TRAIN STATION.  Clearly the 3 second rule for food that falls on the ground doesn't apply here.  You can just park it next to what you've dropped and eat it off the floor.

Our first morning in Tokyo, we woke up at 5am (jetlag I love you) and as that gave us some time to kill before our 12pm train ride to Kyoto, it was the perfect time to go to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.  I would recommend doing this on one of your earlier days of arriving since you will undoubtable be up early due to the time difference and the early morning is when the market is hopping with action.  Ships start arriving at 3am and the tuna auction (now closed the the public), is at 5am.

Action in front of one of the many big fish market hangars

Dave's new friend

Apparently they are not concerned that styrofoam is not biodegradable

Dave had a sushi breakfast there (not that day but later in the trip) and said it was incredible.

Tips for the fish market:
  • Go early in your trip when you'll be waking up early from jet lag
  • No open toed shoes (seriously the ground is wet with fish goo and fish juice)
  • Long pants/jeans not recommended (for the same reason as above) unless you roll them WAY up
  • You will see things so gross you won't even want to take pictures for fear of nightmares later in life.


  1. If only my floors were as clean as the train station floors... unfortunately they are probably more comparable to the fish market.

  2. i luv everything travel. thx for the vicarious trip!