The Tsukiji Market: Famous Tuna Auction

Doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been there, seeing the Tuna Auction at Tsukiji excites me.
It’s probably one of the most famous tourist spots in Tokyo and it appears in EVERY guide book about Japan.

Tsukiji fish market tuna auction

Since this original Tsukiji fish market is moving to a different location in Toyosu this year (November), the tuna action became even more popular and you find a lot of tourists trying to catch their last opportunity to see the “original”.

The tuna auction starts at 5:25AM and 6:15AM and is restricted to 120 visitors/day. So you want to get there early enough to save your spot. There is a small room near the reception where you get a special green/blue bibs and wait till the auction start. They are very strict about the number of people who can participate in the tour.

We got there 1:30AM to catch the first tour (5:25AM) and there were at least 15 people waiting in the line already.

And this is what we saw while we were waiting in the line… 😛 Only in Japan, you find a green pepper crying because you smoked at the place you’re not supposed to smoke…


Around 5:00AM, a guy who works at Tsukiji showed up and gave us a little lecture on the history of the market, tunas and answered our questions.

tsukiji fish market tuna auction pre-tour instruction and lecture

5:25AM, we were guided out of the little waiting room to finally see the show we were waiting for!

Walking to the Tuna auction easy in the morning

You see literally hundreds of people driving these mini turret trucks inside the market. They call it “ta-retto” in Japanese and is a main transportation at Tsukji.

Turret Truck at Tsukiji Fish Market

Entrance of the Tuna Auction area.

Entrance of tuna auction at Tsukji Market

And the Tuna Auction!!

Tuna auction at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan

Fun doesn’t end here… After seeing the auction, we headed out for an early donburi (rice bowl dish with various toppings) near the market. This particular kind of a doburi is called “kaisen don (don/short for donburi)”, a rice bowl dish with sashimi.

Kaisen don, sashimi rice bowl dish

If you want to explore the inner market at Tsukiji Market, it’s open to visitors from 8AM to around 14:00PM. You can find English map for the inner market here.

The Tsukiji Market
CLOSED: Closed on Sundays, national holidays and some Wednesdays
FEES: Free
HOURS: 5:25AM, 6:15AM




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