Tokyo trip diary: Day 4 – the one with an early start

We couldn’t do it. Waking up at 4am in the middle of winter was too hard. We had to say “not this time” to morning tuna auction at the Tsukiji Market. Nevertheless, we were up at 7am and out of the hotel before 8.

This post is part of a series:
Tokyo Day 1 – first steps in Japan & discovering Shinjuku
Tokyo Day 2 – the day we walked a lot
Tokyo Day 3 – Tokyo Skytree, kimonos and knives
Tokyo Day 4 – the one with an early start
Tokyo Day 5 – the one when we ran away

It was cold outside, exactly as expected, but then we quickly disappeared in the subway for good 40 minutes, with thousands of morning commuters. Packed like sardines on the Marunouchi Line, what a perfect way to travel to a fish market.

Tsukiji Market 築地市場

We didn’t have any plan of attack for the market, not even a good map. For the first 30 minutes, we walked around through the outer market streets and couldn’t find the main market hall. But that time wasn’t wasted, oh no. We went straight to business – it was time to eat the freshest seafood for breakfast.


First up, giant grilled oysters (300JPY), some baby octopus tentacles on a stick, covered with a sticky sauce (200JPY) and a sit-down sushi breakfast at one of the many sushi places around Tsukiji (3890JPY for 2 people).

tsukiji market

Then we decided to turn in a street we missed before and there it was – the inner market with the main hall, which I wanted to see so much. But first the challenge – to get through the driveway and not get hit by one of many vehicles transporting seafood and giant ice cubes.

Inside, strolling past endless displays of seafood, through small paths, flooded with water, next to people cutting fish with sword-like knives is quite mesmerising. By 10am most of the little shops seemed to be preparing to close, so if you want to see more be there before 9am.

Advertising Museum Tokyo アド・ミュージアム東京

Having worked in advertising for 5 years, I couldn’t resist a quick visit to the ADMT. It was just a short, 1km walk from the fish market.

advertising museum tokyo

TV ads, posters, press – it’s all there. Not everything translated to English, but for some things you don’t need to understand the descriptions, they speak for themselves. At the time we were there, they also had a temporary exhibition with the best ads from around the world. Admission is free.

Tokyo Imperial Palace 皇居

Yet another place that was on my must-see list. I booked the tickets for the Palace Grounds tour 2 months in advance and couldn’t wait for it.


Yes, the Palace is a beautiful building, surrounded by a lush garden, it does make a great impression and seems like a great place for a stroll. The tour, on the other hand, is not worth the time (I would say money, but the tour is free).

We were given English audio guides and joined a big Chinese-speaking group. First, we were seated in a big room where they played a 10-minute movie about the Palace and do’s and don’ts of the tour. Then guided by the Chinese-speaking guide plus a few guards (?) we walked around a very small part of the grounds, stopped often to listen to our audio guide and after 1 hour of the slowest tour in the world, we went back to where we started.

tokyo imperial palace

If they would let smaller tours in, with a map and audio guide in hand to do a self-guided tour, that would take 20 minutes instead of 75 (yes, that was the total time!) it would be so much better and so much more convenient.


After all day of walking around the town, we felt tired. Not very much tired physically, but we were tired of being in the city all the time. That’s why we treated ourselves to a hot, relaxing bath, crazy amount of food and started planning a trip for the next day – away from the city.

for more photos from Day 4 go to my Facebook page

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