Everyone loves the Tsukiji fish market, and there's no question that it is Tokyo's most popular tourist destination. Even when the wholesale market finally moves to Toyosu, the External Market will still remain a massive draw for inbound foodies and travelers. However, exploring Tsukiji can be an exhausting business.
Here we recommend our five favorite places to chill out over a cup of coffee and a light bite.
1. Yonemoto Coffee Honten
This tiny coffee shop facing onto Harumi-dori fills up from the moment it opens at 5am, until the moment it closes at 4pm. It's a no frills spot, and a little cramped, but their piping hot cappuccino really hits the spot on a chilly Tokyo morning either post- or pre Tsukiji fish market tour. There's a small table outside which seats four, and is a great place to watch the world go by, which, in Tsukiji, is half the fun. Their sandwiches are basic bot do the job. They have a nice line in wobbly-headed beckoning cats. Map is here.
Located within the Tsukiji Fish Market precincts, this old school coffee shop looks like it last received a visit from Health and Safety officials some time back in the Meiji Period. Don't let this put you off as the welcome is as warm as the coffee and Special Set Menu (¥1100). This is where you get to try eating bacon and eggs with disposable chopsticks. You'd better get there soon though as when the Inner Market moves to Toyosu it's taking Senriken with it. Open 4am to Noon. Closed Sundays and whenever the market closes (many Wednesdays). Map is here.
3. Turret Coffee
We've mentioned this place before on this blog as the hipster's choice in Tsukiji, but we are not ashamed to recommend it once again, as it's just fab and has some of the best coffee in Tokyo. Owner Kiyoshi Kawasaki is a serious barista and his espressos are works of coffee art. No wonder this place is the favorite of Foodies Go Local staffers (our office is just around the corner) and the cooks at Tsukiji Cooking. It's really handily placed for Tsukiji subway station on the Hibiya line. It's also where Orlando Bloom stops off when he's in town. Open 7am to 6pm Monday to Saturday; from 10pm on Sunday. Find them on Facebook. Map is here.
4. Hoshino Coffee Tsukiji-ten
Perched high up on the second floor of the KY building, overlooking the intersection of Shin Ohashi-dori and Harumi-dori, Hoshino Coffee's location couldn't be any more convenient for folk visiting Tsukiji Fish Market. We were a little skeptical at first as it is part of a nationwide coffee chain that runs from Hokkaido to Kagoshima. Yet Hoshino Coffee is spacious, comfortable, inexpensive and the coffee and light meals are good value. It's a good option for families traveling with kids. Open 7am to 10pm (LO 9.30pm), Monday to Saturday; 7am to 9pm (LO 8.30pm) Sunday. Map is here.
This hidden little spot is one for the coffee bargain hunters. It's not strictly a coffee shop, but a bakery where you can sit down to drink coffee at the counter in the back after you've bought your bread or anpan cake. Our favorites are definitely the kare pan curry bread, which the owner swears 'wards off senility'. Mr Kimura looks like he's been baking here since the place opened in 1908, so perhaps there's some truth in it after all! Open 7am to 8pm (until 5pm on Saturdays). , Closed Sundays. Map is here.
Looking for some fun experiences to do in the Tsukiji area? Why don't you try a cooking class from Tsukiji Cooking. Learn more.