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Tsukiji Market’s Last New Year in 2018

Tsukiji Fish Market’s final new year auction and the first for 2018 kicked-off yet again last Friday, January 5, with a HUGE 405-kilogram bluefin tuna earning a hefty 36.45 million yen, or almost US$323,000. That represents an average price of 90,000 yen per kilo for tuna, which is actually quite reasonable particularly when you consider that many other tuna sold for much more that morning.

Photo courtesy of Reuters.

This marks the final new year auction for Tsukiji, as preparations are underway to relocate the world’s largest fish market to Toyosu by early October this year. In operation since 1935, the venue, which has been labelled as obsolete, will close to make way for redevelopment into a transportation hub, in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Now is the time to visit!

So are you considering a visit to this fish-lover and foodie hot spot? Now more than ever is the time to visit before it disappears into the Toyosu abyss, forever. Especially when you consider the closer it gets to moving day, the more congested it will become.

For those wanting to view the morning auctions, you should aim to arrive at either 5 am or earlier, due to the limited number of people they let inside. Generally, the markets are bustling with activity from 5 am to 8 am, with the last of the sales finishing up around 10 am. However, the auction area is only open to tourists from 5 am to around 6:15 am, and while it is free entry, it is usually on a first come, first serve basis due to a limited capacity of up to around 120 visitors per day.

The Appeal of Tsukiji Market

If the markets are not your thing, or if you have finished your tour of the auctions, you may want to visit one of the local sushi vendors, serving fresh sashimi (raw fish) and a range of other seafood selections, scattered throughout the complex. For the Japanese, this is a popular outing for friends, family and even business associates as an early morning breakfast meeting before they head into the office. As a result, it is best to head in as early as possible, as they typically have people queuing outside, and most stores close down soon after the last of the auctions by about 11 am.

There is some appeal in the markets surrounding the Tsukiji venue too. From a range of seafood resellers, to different kinds of food and beverage stalls, and souvenir outlets, you should check out the versatility on offer as you may find something of value.

How to Get There

Tsukiji is located nearby Ginza and Shimbashi districts and is best accessed by either one of two Tokyo subway lines. Tsukiji station on Hibiya line (the grey coloured line), can easily be accessed directly from Ginza, Roppongi and Ueno. Alternatively, Tsukijijishijo on the Oedo line (the maroon coloured line) can be directly accessed from Shinjuku and Roppongi. It is also within 15 minutes train ride of Tokyo station.

We here at FAQ really hope you get one last chance to enjoy Tsukiji before this historical Japanese treasure disappears. May the fish be with you!

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