Inside The World Famous Japanese Tuna Auction [PHOTOS]

Japanese Tuna Market

Photo: Jay Yarow/Business Insider

Tokyo is home to the world famous Tsukiji fish market, where everything that moves in the sea is up for sale.

One of the highlights of the market is the daily tuna auction, which takes place early every morning. Visitors are allowed in between 5:25 AM and 6:15 AM.

We were in Japan last week, and paid a visit to the market and tuna auction. It’s a colourful, and lively affair, with an auctioneer shouting out to buyers looking to stock up on large tuna.

Disclosure: We were flown out to Tokyo by Rakuten, an e-commerce company trying to expand internationally. It put us up in very nice hotels, put us on bullet trains, and fed us well. That’s largely irrelevant for this story, but we thought you should know.

We wandered through Tokyo in the early morning, somewhat lost, before landing in the fish market, which was already buzzing

We got an early glimpse of the actual market on our way to the tuna auction

Before going to see the auction, we wait in a holding area, where this guy gave us a yellow vest to wear

Tourists like ourselves stand around waiting to be taken to the auction

It's early ...

Often, the people that come to the auction have been partying all night long, it's the only way to get there on time

After waiting for a ~30 minutes, we start walking through the market to get to the auction

Our first glimpse of the tuna

We're here!

The fish are laid along the ground, and men are starting to inspect them

A close up of the frozen fish

The tourists are held in a small area in the middle of the space. From time to time the tourists are banned because they annoy the people bidding on the tuna

A potential buyer is inspecting the tuna to see if it's to his liking

This is a man we wouldn't mess with

After a few minutes, an auctioneer starts clanging a bell

He then begins shouting in a loud, rhythmic chant ...

Bids for fish are made

And he marks them down

On the other side of the room, people inspect more tuna

Tuna are marked

This guy was getting a deep look at this big fish

Using his hook, he stabs the side of it and lifts it up

The tuna are auctioned off then dragged away

After a short break, the bell starts ringing again and more bidding starts

The bidding ends and we leave the place...

We move to the fish market, and we can see tuna getting cut up with a saw

Another shot of the tuna in the actual market

Not everyone uses them in the market, some load them up and take them away

And that's it! We'll have more from the fish market soon ...

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