The glory of the Tsukiji tuna auction

A visit to the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo has been on my to-do list for a while.  Yes, that list is longer than it should be and full of many, many things that will never get done, but this one was special.  I was pissed when they closed the tuna auctions to the public back in December and ecstatic when they opened back up in January.  And actually getting to see it was everything I’d hoped it would be.

They hired some guards to enforce rules and that seems to have quelled the crowds a bit, or at least the raucous behavior; visitors are now confined to a small area in the auction rather than having free access to the who facility.  Even with that restriction, the scene is pretty awesome.  There are scores of frozen tuna laid out in rows throughout the building.


They are individually marked so that they can be identified during the bidding process:



A taster piece for the buyers to judge the fish by:


More fish laid out for auction:



I love this image.  The bidders actually sit there fondling the tuna, rolling it in their fingers to literally “get a feel” for it before bidding.  The book he is holding is his bid notes.


Some of the tools used in the main market area to section the fish once purchased:


I’ve got a ton more photos (hardly a surprise) and even some video as the auction experience really does benefit from video.  But I’ve also only got 31 hours left here and I have way too much to see, so you’ll have to wait for the rest of them.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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