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Exploring the Freshest Fish : SASHIMI BAR KASHIGASHIRA

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

World famous TSUKIJI FISH MARKET started in 1935 after the Great Earthquake hit Tokyo and wholesalers who had lost their buildings moved into this area to find a convenient location for distributing live seafood. As the market started to gain momentum as a centre of national fish distribution, shops and restaurants took advantage of the closeness to the market, and started to gather around the area, eventually forming the Outer Market. The Inner & Outer Market together attracted attention as Tokyo's best tourist destination.

Although the Inner Market moved to TOYOSU in 2018, the Outer Market remains and continues to flourish as much as ever.

Tsukiji Outer Market lines up every sort of food product from cooking ingredients to kitchen tools. Among them, seafood restaurants that directly purchase live fish from the market are the most popular destinations. Authentic Nigiri sushi restaurants are there, conveyor belt sushi restaurants are increasing in number.

Recently, newly opened restaurants mainly serve instagramable seafood rice bowls. Of these, SASHIMI BAR KASHIGASHIRA has the LONGEST QUEUE of lunchtime visitors, craving a hit of sushi.

Seafood rice bowl, or "Kaisen-don", is made with a bowlful of rice, vinegared or not, and a variety of raw fish sashimi slices on top. It's a simple dish that doesn't need special cooking skills, AS LONG AS the chef can get the highest quality sashimi-grade fish.

THAT isn't an easy task. In this restaurant, the owner chef who had been working for a wholesaler goes to the market every morning to find the best fish available. The freshness is the key, especially when using 'Uni' Sea urchin. It's very easy to tell the difference: fresh Uni pieces have an airy & silky touch, while the older ones are watery & sticky.

Kaisen-don is such a fun dish that changes its contents every day depending on the catch of the day, and Sanshoku-don or Tricoloured bowl which has sea urchin in yellow, salmon roe in orange & tuna fatty toro in pink appeal as much to our eyes as to our stomach.

Better to visit this restaurant before noon to avoid a long queue, and spare enough time to browse hundreds of shops and get the best ingredients for dinner. Be warned that most shops close early in the afternoon. (They open before dawn, though.)

<Original in JULY 2021 ©Larry_Tak>

In the evening, street views along the TSUKIJI OUTER MARKET are totally different. Grocery stores are shuttered and visitors on the streets are scattered, where occasionally dim lights come from the entrances in which regulars enjoy sushi and sake.

SASHIMI BAR KASHIGASHIRA is the one shedding light beyond the staircase through the basement. While they’re always busy at lunchtime, there's no queue in the evening as they take reservations only. There's no menu on the table, either, because the seafood bowl shop at noon turns into an OMAKASE sushi restaurant for dinner.

Their dinner course is full of catches of the day with the chef's improvised cooking ideas. Sushi and sashimi are regularly on the menu, although the type of fish is different daily. Whichever fish is served, it is totally fresh and perfectly prepared so that it melts on your tongue.

More dishes follow to savor the seasonal specialties, like oysters in winter, or other rare fish, clams and seaweed, grilled or boiled. Large bottles of sake are kept in the fridge, from which the chef selects the best match and pours it into your glass.

As night falls, you are immersed in the highest quality of seafood that Tsukiji offers. At some point, you lose track of HOW MANY DISHES you have had and HOW MUCH SAKE you have sipped. This is the time Tsukiji's long day ends and tomorrow's early morning starts.

<Added in MARCH 2023 ©Larry_Tak>

NOTE: How To Use Wasabi in a Seafood Bowl.

Wasabi is normally placed on top of the bowl. Take it out and put it on a small plate. Add soy sauce and mix until wasabi nearly dissolved. Put it back into the bowl and pour over the sashimi slices. Itadaki-masu!

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