There were a few things I had to do in Tokyo such as eating as much awesome Japanese food as I could like sushi and Kobe beef, and getting a handmade chef’s knife.
My first stop was the fish market in Tsukiji, which opened at 4:30am everyday, closed on Sundays. Only about 167 people a day are allowed to view the tuna auction, but the metro started running at 5:04am from my stop so I wasn't sure if I would make the tour. Luckily, I did some recon the day before and had some idea of where to go, just making the second and also last round of tours.
Most of it was chaotic, cold, and confusing with mini forklifts and other machinery whizzing close by you as you wear a bright green vest following a set walking path. The real reward was having the freshest sushi and sashimi at one of the mini restaurants. Daiwa Sushi is the best one at the fish market and just down the road is another great place called Edogin. Toro, the belly of the tuna, is the best part at about 1500 yen ($17.80) apiece. I had two along with my set meal… it was worth it!
Also, at the fish market was a famous knife shop called Aritsugu. They have been making hand forged knives for over 400 years folding the metal of each blade to press out the impurities. Interestingly they originally made swords using the same technique.
So I got one of the heavier knives for about 10,000 yen ($118.70) and they engraved my name in Japanese on the handle for free. They also sharpened it on a special spinning rock stone. Luckily they took credit cards and were very helpful in explaining the different knives.
On another day my friend Issac wanted to try whale meat. I was like gross, but as I was looking for a good restaurant, Ganso Kujiraya (2-29-22, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043), for him that served whale I decided to tag along. Try everything once right? When we got there the hostess pointed to a picture of a whale to make sure that we knew what they served.
After we sat down we saw the menu, which was only whale served in everyway possible. Not knowing if we would like it we ordered just two things, whale steak and BBQ whale. Our dishes came and we both took our first bites with a, “Oh Shit….. we are going to hell.” It was so good I couldn’t believe it. Now we knew why so many people liked whale. Thank goodness I don’t believe in hell.:P
On one of my last days I found a good restaurant, 511, that served Kobe beef. I decided to go for lunch since it was cheaper and took three new friends. We all got the same lunch set for 3,500 yen ($41.54) along with beer of course. The place was really beautiful and when the food came we all went silent. I always knew that Kobe beef would be good, but never expected to be so amazing, after the first bite I was wishing I could eat it everyday and shed a little tear because I knew I couldn't.