Japan, Tokyo, Travel

Tokyo Tuna Auction

February 28, 2017
Tokyo Tuna Auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
tokyo tuna auction
The news of Tsukiji Market relocation from Chuo Ward to Toyosu have shocked so many people yet at the same time reminded me of my tuna auction experience. It was our first time in Tokyo (3 years ago, ahem) where we decided that witnessing a tuna auction is far more interesting than visiting the Disneyland. Having said so, the online reviews revolved around the limited spots of 120 pax and the first come first serve basis where the queue starts as early as 3am horrified us. We were so determined to witness this legendary tuna auction for once that we booked an airbnb within walking distance from the Tsukiji market.
Not aware how crazy the queue can be, we reached the Market’s (Osakana Fukyu Center), located by the market’s Kachidoki Bridge entrance (Kachidoki Hashi) by 5am thinking that we would still able to make it for the first session 5.25am to 5.50am, else 5.50am to 6.15am. Unfortunately we were wrong.
On second attempt, we reached there by 3.40am and managed to grab two of the last few spots. We were given some vests to put on; green for first session whereby blue for the second. As the tour was opened to public, I was expecting some introduction on Tsukiji market or the process of the tuna auction. But no, I would say in the two hours spent inside the tiny place with 119 other people cramped together, I was bored to death.
Then, when it was finally our turn, as if in an exhibition, we have to stand behind the stanchions, where the staff reminded us to keep quiet and no camera flash at all time. Everyone was so busy taking photos yet no one had any idea what was going on.
From the side, we watched as a man stood up among the crowd, bellowing the base price in an incantation-like manner. The interested bidders, who had already examined the fish prior to this, would then write down their desired price on a piece of paper, showing only to the same man. He acknowledged the offers one by one while his assistant jot down the highest bidder. It began at a mere few thousands yen for huge frozen tuna and as they saved the better for later, the price went up exponentially to the last base price of 40,000yen. The session ended within 20 minutes.
As much as we anticipated the Tokyo tuna auction tour, that to us foodies, something that represent Japan in terms of food culture, we were deeply disappointed. The midnight walk, or to some, midnight cab charges, followed by 2 hours of waiting just for an unexplained tour of 20 minutes was not worth it. I would highly recommend the one in Osaka instead; no long queue of visitors, no one to guard us, no designated area to stand, and no pathetic time limit. Since we stayed throughout the whole session, we get to gaped at some premium tuna where the base price goes as high as 420,000yen. And oh, the one and only Endo Sushi next to the market is a must try.