Tsukiji / Ginza
I love markets, so I was really excited to go to the (23) Tsukiji Fish Market. And it lived up to my expectations — I went there twice in five days to get my sushi breakfast. The market is closed every Sunday, some Wednesdays, and public holidays. Before you go, check whether the market is open on their website.
Tip: Daiwa Sushi and Sushidai are the most popular, line-up-for-three-hours sushi restaurants in the market. To avoid the crowds, I went to Sushisay Honten instead. It was highly recommended by my Tokyoite AirBnB host and I loved it.
If you come to the market super early (like 5 a.m.), you may be able to catch the live tuna auction. You have to register to view the auction floor — click here to find out how. If you want to attend the live tuna auction, I recommend that you choose accommodation nearby because public transport in Tokyo doesn’t run between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
A stone’s throw away from the market, you’ll find the (24) Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple (also often spelled Honganji Temple). It’s not as elaborate as some other temples in Tokyo, but what makes it special is its Indian architectural style.
On the way to Ginza, you’ll come across the (25) Kabukiza Theater in the neighborhood.You can watch a short kabuki act here for 800 yen. It’s an interesting building with shops in the basement.
The main street in Ginza, called (26) Chuo-dori, is lined with upscale retail shops. (On the map, I use the Ginza Wako building as the landmark to use to find Chuo-dori.)
Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, do visit Chuo-dori on a weekend afternoon when they close the street to traffic. Stores place tables and chairs in the middle of the road and street performers come out to play. You may even spot a few older Japanese ladies shopping in their kimonos. This event, called Ginza Hokoten (pedestrian paradise), began in 1970 and continues to be held every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. (extended to 6 p.m. from April to September).
There are plenty of retail shops here to wander into. The Sony store occupies a whole building if you’re into electronics. We visited the Leica store, where they had a small gallery, photography books, and a cozy seating area.
End your day at one of the izakayas at (27) Yurakucho Gado-shita. This is a charming restaurant district located underneath the train tracks on both sides of the Yurakucho Station.