After my relaxing stay in Oedo Onsen Monogatari, it’s time to run for my real itinerary: to witness the Tuna Auction. I decided to write this content because I didn’t see any thorough guide (at least where the auction is). And I ended up in a cycle of running and getting lost.
If you don’t want to experience this mishap, please read on.
If you don’t know already, Japan has this peculiar fish market where they actually auction arguably the best tunas caught from different parts around the globe.
Michelin star chefs and normal restaurants go to this Fish market to nab their hands with the freshest tuna and seafood they can find. After all, the best ingredients are the foundation of the best sushi.
And if you think this is just something you can just brush off, just check the record for the first Tuna auctioned this year. It’s a whopping $3.1 million for one giant tuna! With that many zeros, I’m really curious about the happenings in it.
From Tsukiji, Now in Toyosu
Just a brief background. The Tuna Auction is originally located in the Tsukiji Fish Market for roughly 80 years. At this area, you can feel the rustic vibe as you watch the chaotic biddings from people to people.
But to go in, you need to preregister and wake up at around 2 AM just to get a glimpse of this cultural feature.
Knowing Japan’s Kaizen, they always aim to improve even at small increments. With safety and sanitation problems, the move was decided to a better facility.
Now in Toyosu, the Tuna Auction boasts of state of the art equipment like refrigeration, earthquake resistance, and improved sanitation. It actually looks like a mall inside honestly. And you can now watch the auction on observation decks. No need for advance bookings.
How To Get To Toyosu?
From wherever you are in Tokyo, you need to arrive at Shijo-Mae station. Or you can book a hotel room near the Toyosu Fish Market and hail a cab.
The cheapest one I saw is a capsule hotel (Tokyo Ariake Hotel) at around roughly 3800 yen (1900 PHP).
I opt to stay in Oedo Onsen to have more bang for my buck and just commute to the auction afterward.
This is me taking that last selfie before I run to Tokyo’s famed Tuna Auction. The tuna auction starts at 5:30 am and ends at 6:30 am.
I don’t want to spend for a cab ride (2000 Yen! That’s half the price of my stay already). The first train leaves at around 5:50ish. And it takes around 17 minutes to get there.
Update: There are earlier train schedules now for Shijo-Mae station. You don’t need to recreate the Amazing Race. Just check in Google Maps for the schedule beforehand.
The Race for Time
Pro tip, THE AUCTION IS AT THE LEFT BUILDING! Again, left building!!! Why do I shout, you ask? Because I went to the one on the right. I had to channel my inner Usain Bolt just to see some parts of the auction.
(To the couple who asked me where it is, I am really sorry that I pointed to the right. After the guard told me that it’s on the left side, I can’t find you anymore. I’m really really sorry!)
If you see this sign, go to the left side. AGAIN, LEFT SIDE! Did I say it’s on the left side? Good.
Don’t be like me, please.
The Auction Proper
Luckily, I saw some parts of it. But didn’t really see the most chaotic highlights. After all, I barely made it.
When you arrive at the observation decks, you can see the auction thru a thick glass. I suggest you bring a CPL filter to avoid the reflection from ruining your shots.
You might think, why is the floor green? Well, the tuna is chosen on green floors because green makes the red of the meat stand out. And the redness determines the quality and the price of the Tuna.
You learn something new every day!
The Right Building (But NOT THE RIGHT AUCTION AREA)
After the Tuna Auction, I went to the right building (which isn’t the right place for the auction. Just to reiterate). If you are running for the tuna auction and you saw this sign, TURN BACK. If not, continue reading.
You need to get these passes so that you can roam around the area. But take note, you are not allowed to go to the market proper below. There are only observation decks again for a glimpse of it.
They don’t want the tourists to disturb normal market dealings below. There’s a guard specifically tasked to stop you from going down. It’s that serious. You can only go up this escalator.
There are multiple shops on the upper floors selling fish-themed socks (!), boots with fish market designs (!), and of course fresh delicacies for you to munch on at home.
For some reason though, I don’t have any photos of the market. I’m not sure if I’m too tired or it’s not allowed. Sorry.
Ending the Toyosu Adventure
As a final stop, you can visit the “Uogashi Suijinja” (translated as the shrine for a fish market on the shore). Maybe pray here or rest.
As for me, I just need to take a break before I ride the bus to Tsukiji afterward! *Phew*
Foodie post coming up! Stay tuned for my next blog post!