Tsukiji Market and Sushi Kokoro, Tokyo

Raffles & Chef Oba at Tsukiji Market Tokyo

Reviewed by Raffles – Aged 7

*Note: The wholesale market of Tsukiji Market has now moved to a new site in Toyosu, Tokyo

This is a bit long because I need to review two of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to, Tsukiji Market and Sushi Kokoro, because without one I would never have gone to the other.

I was so, so lucky that I got to go to the biggest fish market in the world with chef Tsutomu Oba to buy his fish. Chef Oba isn’t just any chef, he’s really nice and funny and used to be the chef at Kyubey (one of the top Sushi restaurants in Tokyo) until he opened Sushi Kokoro.

Mama told me I couldn’t go with her to Tsujiki because it’s too busy and dangerous but when Chef Oba promised he’d help look after me, she gave in. I’m so, so glad she did because visiting Tsujiki was one of the most epic things I’ve EVER done.

The sea dudes at Tsukiji MarketsOnce we arrived I saw why mama was worried because it would have been scary without Chef Oba! It was like a giant fish city. And really crowded with trucks speeding all over the place. It was crazy. And I LOVED it.

TSukiji Markets Tokyo

There were so many different kinds of fish. There were creatures that looked little dragons, creepy alien prawns from out of space, and weird giant fish with fangs.

monkfish liver at Tsukiji

Plus this weird squishy pink thing (monkfish liver) that I couldn’t stop groping and poking because it felt gross and completely awesome at the time. Chef Oba called it Ankimo – Foie Gras of the Sea. Oh yeah!

Chef Oba let me hold slimy slithering eels, some lobster looking thingies that had what looked like blue guts hanging out of them (eggs), and a massive wriggly spider crab, which was spiky and ferocious and totally cool.

Shopping at Tsukiji with Chef Oba

He also let me sample smoked octopus which was yum and some raw prawns he peeled straight from the water. They were a special kind and I thought they’d be disgusting but they were sweet and creamy.

Watching the sea dudes who worked at the market was the best bit, especially the fish ninjas – the guys who cut the tuna and use what look like actual katanas (long traditional swords for the non ninja-obsessed).

Tuna cutting at Tsukiji

Tsukiji was so exciting that it made me sure that when I grow up I need to work in food. Maybe not as a chef, but definitely with the people who make it all happen. They’re legends.

When Chef Oba finished shopping he chucked us onto one of the fish trucks and told us to hold on! Then we sped through the markets like we were driving the Batmobile, only with fish. Best. Day. EVER!

If you can't beat them join them. At Tsukiji Fish Markets Tokyo

And it wasn’t even over! We still had dinner at Chef Oba’s restaurant! He was a little surprised that I was coming to dinner because he said even Japanese kids don’t really eat what I was about to try. But mama promised him I could handle it.

Raffles and his sea urchin at Sushi Kokoro

Sushi Kokoro is one of those places where the chef makes things right in front of you piece by piece and watches to see what you like. At first, Chef Oba kept my sushi simple. But he saw that I kept nicking mamas so he decided to let me try everything!

Chef Oba at Sushi Kokoro Tokyo

There was so many different kinds of fish and he prepared them all really differently. I really liked the raw bonito, which he stuffed like a sandwich with special sauces, and some mackerel which he rolled up with all kinds of herbs.

CHef Oba making sushi at Sushi Kokoro Tokyo

Plus more of those awesome raw prawns with some salty dressing and an amazing sea urchin thing that tasted exactly like the ocean.

Sea urchin at Sushi Kokoro

He also served that Monkfish liver I liked poking but he transformed it into a sort of super yummy pate. I reckon Chef Oba is a magician.

DSC_0572I think he liked me too because while everyone else got only two or three pieces of tuna, he gave me LOADS! And it was the most amazing stuff I’ve ever tasted. There were bits from all different parts of the fish and they were all different shades of pink and red. The textures were so, so amazing and the flavour kicked butt!

I’m not sure if it was appropriate to moan in a fancy sushi place but I couldn’t help myself and Chef Oba didn’t seem to mind.

I also couldn’t help asking Chef Oba for a job as his apprentice.

He said I could start next week! Booya!

(A word of caution: Tsukiji is a very busy working market and it can be a little dangerous. It’s absolutely not suitable for very young kids and I would also recommend not taking kids of any age in the very busy early morning hours (we arrived after 9am) or without someone like Chef Oba who knows the place well.)

Reviewed by Raffles – Aged 7
(bracketed comments by his mama)

Tsukiji Market
5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo,
Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
Ph: +81 3-3542-1111

Sushi Kokoro
3F. 3-6-3 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku,
Tokyo 162-0825
Ph: +81 3-5579-8417

Note: This meal and experience were independently paid for.


22 Comments on Tsukiji Market and Sushi Kokoro, Tokyo

  1. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    August 17, 2015 at 10:53 am (9 years ago)

    What a wonderful experience Raffles! Although your mum is quite right, without Chef Oba it would have been quite dangerous as it is so busy. I almost got run over a few times when I was there! I loved how you got such a special experience 😀

      August 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm (9 years ago)

      IT was a little scary because those trucks were crazy. I was so lucky to have Chef Oba to keep us safe and to get us on the truck instead of under it. Rx

  2. hugzillablog
    August 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm (9 years ago)

    I was wondering why the market could be so dangerous at first – it makes sense now! Love the photography on this one as well. So many awesome tastes and textures. My ht goes off to Raffles because I’d be too scared to try some of that stuff!

      August 18, 2015 at 4:53 pm (9 years ago)

      I bet you would want to try them if you saw Chef Oba prepare them. He’s awesome Rx

  3. stuntman
    August 17, 2015 at 3:58 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow. I wouldn’t be messing with those fish ninjas. Great experience you had there dude.

      August 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm (9 years ago)

      Never mess with a fish ninja!! Rx

  4. Fairlie
    August 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm (9 years ago)

    Visiting Tsukiji Market was a highlight of our trip. We went for sushi breakfast first at Sushi Zanmai in the outer market…then into the wholesale market after 9am. Mama is right – you need to have your wits about you – it would be easy to get run over! Not somewhere for really little kids.

    August 18, 2015 at 4:55 pm (9 years ago)

    I would not recommend it for even my sister because you had to have eyes in the back of your head but with two grown ups to look after me I felt pretty safe. Rx

  6. Anne Sutherland-Smith
    August 18, 2015 at 9:09 pm (9 years ago)

    Raffles, does Chef Oba offer tours for other kids? We are going to visit in one months time and I think my children would live to do a similar tour.

      August 18, 2015 at 9:47 pm (9 years ago)

      HI Anne, The tour was organised through the Aman Tokyo. I think Raffles was a first in terms of children attending, given the expensive nature of Chef Oba’s fine dining Restaurant. In fact, I got the impression he was the first kid who’d ever dined there. Another awesome option for kids is Tsukiji Tours who have tours for kids aged 6 and over that come with a sushi making lesson http://www.tsukijitour.com/course/index.html 🙂

  7. Malinda (@MBPaperPackages)
    August 19, 2015 at 11:43 am (9 years ago)

    I’d love to visit this market, but of course with a chef would be the ultimate, especially if he prepared a meal like that afterwards!

      August 19, 2015 at 1:17 pm (9 years ago)

      It was my second visit (which was why I was a little nervous of Raffles joining me) and having a chef along for the ride made such a huge difference! It was one of those not to be forgotten travel moments.

  8. Bumble Bee Mum
    August 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow, how did you get such an exclusive experience with Chef Oba?

      August 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm (9 years ago)

      We organised it through the incredible concierge of the Aman Hotel. It wasn’t really something they’d done with kids before but after seeing how passionate Raffles was about his food let him join me!

  9. Ruth
    August 19, 2015 at 12:51 pm (9 years ago)

    I do not know what is more amazing the market, the chef or your son eating all that food. Great post!

      August 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Ruth, He’s a compactus! But both experiences were incredible.

  10. Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    August 19, 2015 at 6:58 pm (9 years ago)

    I am so impressed Raffles that you tried the food. However lucky that you had someone like Chef Oba to show you around.

      August 22, 2015 at 2:51 pm (9 years ago)

      I was really really lucky Rx

  11. Amanda Kendle (@amandakendle)
    August 21, 2015 at 9:33 pm (9 years ago)

    Raffles, looks like you had a really amazing experience and lots of oishii food! I’m so envious!! Love your review.

      August 22, 2015 at 2:52 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Amanda. It was all oishii – that means yummy right? RX


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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