I know there have been many past threads on eating in Tsukiji, but I've searched back through them and think the advice I'm looking for is a little different, so hope it's OK to start a fresh one...
My husband and I are looking forward to our first trip to Japan, this October.
I've spent the last few months planning our 17 night itinerary, and have now booked all the accommodations - a mix of ryokans and hotels. We're on a reasonably tight budget but have included a number of splurges too, and balanced them with cheaper options elsewhere.
For our first two nights on arrival (into Narita) we're booked into a hotel located within the Tsukiji outer market.
On the third day, we'll be heading out of Tokyo (for the time being, back later) to Takayama. We'll likely make a reasonably early start as I want to spend some time in Takayama and area.
So anyway, back to Tsukiji:
Firstly: keeping in mind that I know I don't have the palate to distinguish the very very best sushi and sashimi from that which is merely excellent or even good, am I right in thinking that there are many many little restaurants I can visit for breakfast sushi rather than queuing for Daiwa Sushi or Sushi Dai? That provide a similar offering of set price menus / a la carte ordering for similar or lower price points? If so, are there any you recommend, or is it just a matter of turning up and picking?
(Another thing that puts me off queuing is that I have some hip / back issues which means standing in a queue for half an hour is enough to make me miserable let alone an hour or even an hour and a half).
Secondly: I'm assuming that local vendors are very very used to tourists taking photos, is this the case? I'd love to spend some time exploring and taking things in and then capturing some nice photos. We'll probably spend a few hours in the area, I think.
Thirdly: Given that we can be there from very early right through to noon or later, is there a time that is better / worse for crowds and queues?
Fourthly: Are all / most / some of the sushi restaurants open for evening dinner? If so, are they less crowded as most tourists come in the morning for the fish auctions, or still pretty busy? And are there any you would recommend I seek out? If not sushi, others I should look for?
Lastly: given the requirement to keep walking to a minimum (and budget restrictions which mean public transport is better than taxis) can you suggest other things we could do with the remaining half day which wouldn't see us haring across town but staying fairly local?
We will have another 4 nights back in Tokyo at the end, though one day we'll spend visiting Nikko and another will likely be dedicated to a bit of shopping. Mostly food and kitchen stuff.
By the way, I'm trying to limit our food spending to 12,000 Y a day between us. I realise this is pretty low, especially since we'll want to exceed it some days so will need to come in under it other days. This is just to give an indication of what budget level I'm aiming at, if it helps. Please don't hesitate to recommend places above that, as I'm looking for some options for splurges too. Our splurges are more in the line of 24,000 Y a day though, not 100,000 Y!
(I'm not including in the splurges the nights we've already booked in to some high end ryokans where dinner is included as I've counted that into my accommodation costs).
Thanks for any advice, and please let me know if you need further information from me to be able to help.