Most Japanese does not even think of visiting Tuna Auction. Last week I went to check if it is still popular. I heard the end of last year, the cut-off time for visitor allowance was like 2:00am or 3:00am, which is 5:00 am by the Market Official. Let me explain terms, conditions and time schedule for Tuna Auction first.
In principle, the market is solely for professionals before 9:00 am. The Market Officials are giving special permission to the visitors to enter the market and watch Tuna Auction from 5:00 am to 6:00 am. The number of visitors is limited up to 120 per day. As it becomes popular, people started queuing up earlier and earlier to secure their vest. (For entry, we are asked to wear the green vest and the number of the vest is 120.) Around 3:00 am the officers start distributing vest. You can get rest inside the building until 5:00 am where there is no chair, no sofa and not spacious. What I am trying to say is not-comfortable and you are not allowed to move around, asked to stay inside the building. At least it is air conditioned.
Last week we arrived the meeting place at 1:00 am. Yes, we were the first one and the second one joined us at 1:25am. At 3:00 am when they open the building for us to stay, there were only about 30 people. I left the room at that point, so I am not sure how many joined as total in that morning. The officers said they might have remaining vests until 5:00 am.
If the situation stay the same, start queuing at 3:00 am is good enough. Then you do not have to wait outside in this cold weather. Heroes and heroines in the cold queue on were from Italy, Australia, Europe, Mainland China, and Korea. Foreigners dominated activity!
Queuing report on February 9th, 2017
* Some pictures were taken at the last visit in August 2015.