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The Wildest Seafood Market in Japan – Westchester Magazine

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Who eats sushi for breakfast? At Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, everyone does—and it’s the freshest, tastiest sushi in the world.

Sushi is the breakfast of champions in Japan’s most famous seafood market, the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market, because days there start early. Really early. The market opens most mornings (except Sundays, holidays and some Wednesdays) at 3 a.m., with the arrival of fish from all over the world. People get there even earlier, around 2 a.m., to prepare for auctions that start just after 5 and are in high gear just as regular people are sipping their first cup of coffee. The work day at Tsukiji begins to fade by 9 a.m. and many shop keepers close up and leave by 11.

By then, most who’ve spent their morning in the market have already stopped by one of the hundreds of food stalls on the perimeter for a bowl of sweet, raw fish, served on white rice, with a little wasabi on the side. Sixty thousand people work in the market, a number that seems unbelievable—until you’ve seen them in action.

During this wildest of morning rushes, thousands of people wind through the serpentine market, pushing past stalls where fish mongers swing knives like samurai swords through massive, fresh, fatty, pink tunas. Vendors and visitors alike dodge the zig-zagging, motorized carts, carrying hundreds of pounds fish, from species both familiar and foreign.

More than 480 kinds of seafood and 270 types of other products, from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar, are sold in Tsukiji and the Toyosu market, a mile and a half away. Altogether, more than 700,000 metric tons of seafood are handled every year in Tokyo’s three seafood markets, with a total value of $5.4 billion U.S. dollars.

Several days each week, boxes of seafood are shipped straight from Tsukiji Market, via Air Japan, to Westchester’s Koku Restaurant. Koku’s chefs never know what will be inside—they get whatever was freshest and tastiest, according to their buyers at Tsukiji, that day. Often the deliveries are exotic, like Trumpet Fish or live Sea Urchin, which the chefs prepare and serve off menu.


Koku also does chef omakase (chef tasting menu), which consists of choices of 5 courses, 7 courses, or a platter of exotic fishes sushi and sashimi. Some of the delicious signature dishes you’ll find here include:


  • Yellowtail Jalapeño (Yellowtail sashimi, jalapeño slice, signature yuzu dressing)
  • Miso Black Cod (Marinated in orange zest saikyo miso, garnished with Japanese hijiki seaweed)
  • Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna or Spicy Salmon (Crispy tempura rice, drizzle of balsamic miso) 
  • Surf & Turf (Fresh half-grilled Canadian lobster, 4 oz. angus filet mignon, mushroom sensations sauce)


Koku means “a moment” in Japanese. A koku is a 15-minute interval of time. Moments change fast at Tsukiji and every day is different, that’s something reflected in every shipment Koku receives. The staff at Koku strive to translate the energy of Tsukiji into an exquisite experience for customers, turning an everyday meal into a cozy, modern, special moment of Japanese cuisine.


Koku Japanese
454 Main Street