Sushi Dai, Tokyo

Disclaimer: This is the 1st time I’m recording down my experience at an eatery which I didn’t manage to eat. People who chanced upon my post hoping to read a review of the food at Sushi Dai can skip this post…But if you are PLANNING to go, I can guarantee that you’ll appreciate my post…

It’ll prompt you to re-think your plans and make an informed decision…Its a journey which I felt very compelled to document…for others’ learning purpose…

Many people have heard about the long waiting time to visit the famous sushi stall inside  Tsukiji Market…Most references that I read wrote a minimum 2-hours wait is necessary. Since its so legend-(wait-for-it)-dary… we decided that its ok to invest 2 hours of our morning time to queue in the winter morning to try the super fresh sushi.

Admittedly we didn’t reach the place as early as what others had stated (ranging between 5am to 7am). Frankly we were dead tired after spending 1 week in Hokkaido enjoying snow sports…and spent 1 whole day at Hakone the day before…Getting up at 7am is already a challenge…getting to the Tsukiji Market took another close to 40mins from our hotel in Shinjuku area…short walk from the Metro station to the main entrance of the market and wandering around the market to find the stall took another 10 mins…

We first saw Sushi Daiwa (reportedly opened by the son of owner of Sushi Dai) before finally spotting Sushi Dai and we joined the queue at 8.30am.

There was 2 parts to the queue (see pic at bottom). As the queue was so long it extended beyond the area in front of the shop to the side of the building.

Although it was a sunny day with clear sky and bright sun…the cold wind still sent chills down my spine while standing in the queue…We were mentally prepared that it would take at least 2-3 hours before we could get our hands on the sushi…

*tick-tock-tick-tock* By around 9am, a lady from Sushi Dai was seen counting the number of people in the queue…she passed by us and told the person who was queuing roughly 10 pax behind us that the sushi is “sold out” and asked people behind to stop queuing.

Lesson 1: Reach before 8.30am if you don’t want to risk being turned away…

*tick-tock-tick-tock* Queue was really moving at a very slow pace…

Lesson 2: Bring along your ipad/gaming console etc to keep yourself entertained while in the queue…those with weak legs, bring along a portable chair…

*tick-tock-tick-tock* We started observing the progress of the queue in order to project the estimated time which we could have our meal..As the queue was split into 2 parts, we timed how long it took for someone to progress through “Part 2” of the queue to get into the shop… “Part 2” refers to the small queue in front of the shop…Based on our observation, it took a customer 1hr 15 mins…

*tick-tock-tick-tock* Finally we reached the start of “Part 2” of the queue…that was after 3.5 hours of queuing (from 8.30am to 12pm)…By this time I was in a fixed…because I got a Lunch Reservation at 12.30pm… Should I give up queuing here & go for my lunch appointment? Judging from our earlier observation, we could probably get to eat at around 1.30pm if we stayed in the queue…

It was a struggle…as mentioned at the start of this post, I gave up and left for my lunch venue…(but I am sure I didn’t regret this decision as I absolutely enjoyed my fabulous lunch – check out my next post to find out which restaurant I visited~)

Lesson 3: Don’t make other appointments if you are visiting Sushi Dai in the morning…cos you run the risk of ruining your plans…I’ve read about people wanting to visit Sushi Dai in the morning then make a day trip to Hakone…I would advise “forget about it”…I allocated 1 full day to make a day trip to Hakone, taking the 7am train (earliest train available) leaving Shinjuku…hence I would think it will be tough to allocate 3 hours at Sushi Dai in the am…

Lesson 4: Waiting time at Sushi Dai will take around 4.5-5 hours, if by the time you join the queue, the queue had extended to the junction of the next alley. The photo below didn’t capture the other people “outside” the frame so I used a red line to indicate the “length” of the queue.

There are many whom queued for 2 hours and said that its worth the wait…I wonder if they will still say the same if they waited for 5 hours cos I am still considering whether to further invest another 3 hours of my time to queue if I ever visit Tokyo again…of cos the next time I will try to reach Tsukiji by 6am…

Dai Sushi

Photos taken around Tsukiji Market.

Tsukiji Market

Poor weather at Hakone…in fact it snowed while we were there…

Tokyo_03

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