Tsukiji Fish Market Timeline

10 p.m: Alarm goes off. Up and at ’em! Shower, get dressed, eat some food.

12 a.m: I’m out the door. I begin my 5km walk from my hostel in Ryogoku to the Tsukiji Fish Market.

1:15 a.m: I arrive and get in line (there’s already people here).

2:45 a.m: Tsukiji officials move our line closer to the entrance door

3:20 a.m: We are led into the waiting room. We receive vests, a map of the market and instructions/rules for the tuna auction.

3:45-4:20 a.m: Kosai (a tuna purchaser who has been working at Tsukiji for over twenty years) come into the waiting room to talk to us. He explains how the tuna auction works, how he does his job of inspecting the tunas to bid on them, as well as facts and history of the market and the fish that come through the market.

6:35 a.m: We are directed out the doors and through the back areas of the market. And then into the tuna auction area.

6:40 – 6:55: We watch as hundreds of men inspect the tuna and then the bell rings! This begins the auction. It’s all over so quickly. Four men stand on small pedestals for fish in their areas and different men place their bids on the different tunas.

7 a.m: We are escorted out of the tuna auction area and through the back veins of the market. We hand an official our vests and we are free to check out the markets to purchase seafood, fruits and vegetables.

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