Ginza Onodera auctioned the first tuna in 2024 for $790,000

Toyosu Fish Market in Japan Sells Tuna for $790,000

The 2024 New Year's auction at Tokyo's Toyosu Fish Market witnessed a historic catch, marking a new tradition and embodying a spirit of resilience in the wake of tragedy.

An enormous bluefin tuna, weighing an impressive 238 kilograms (524.7 lbs) and hailing from Aomori Prefecture, sold for a staggering 114 million yen (789,769 USD), shattering records and becoming the highest New Year's auction bid since 2020.

This astronomical price more than tripled the previous year's winning bid, reflecting both the exceptional quality of the fish and the event's heightened significance in the shadow of the Noto Peninsula earthquake that struck Japan shortly before the auction. In a poignant display of respect, the lively bidding was preceded by a solemn moment of silence to honor the victims.

Despite the somber context, the auction itself pulsed with an undeniable spirit of resilience and hope. The victory bid was a joint effort by Yamayuki Properties, a leading wholesale company, and Ginza Onodera, a renowned sushi chain, marking their fourth consecutive triumph at the prestigious event.

Their commitment to upholding culinary tradition and bringing joy to their customers amidst adversity resonated deeply with the Japanese public.

Ginza Onodera wins the Auction 4 Years in a Row

Ginza Onodera in Tokyo - sushi chef making sushi for their customers

(Image from Ginza Onodera)

The winning bid on the prized bluefin tuna at the Toyosu Fish Market was not just a culinary triumph, but a symbol of resilience and community spirit amidst recent tragedies in Japan.

The successful collaboration between Yamayuki Properties and Ginza Onodera marked their fourth consecutive victory at the prestigious auction, guaranteeing their patrons access to the finest seasonal seafood.

However, this year's victory took on a deeper significance. Following a series of natural disasters that struck Japan shortly after New Year's, both Yamayuki Properties and Ginza Onodera grappled with a difficult decision: to participate in the auction or not.

The question wasn't about the fish itself, but about the appropriate tone amidst a nation grappling with grief and recovery. Ultimately, their dedication to their craft and a desire to lift the spirits of their customers and the broader community led them to participate.

A piece of sushi with a tuna on top - made by a sushi chef in Ginza Onodera, Tokyo

(Image from Ginza Onodera)

The winning bid will not translate into exorbitant sushi prices for Ginza Onodera patrons. In a remarkable gesture of solidarity, the chain plans to offer nigiri-zushi crafted from the prized tuna for a modest 550 yen (approximately 3.80 USD) per piece in select locations across Japan.

This decision reflects a commitment to making this premium seafood experience accessible, acknowledging the importance of affordable luxury during difficult times.

Furthermore, in a testament to their dedication to disaster relief efforts, Ginza Onodera plans to donate a portion of the sales revenue earned from the special tuna sushi offerings to support the victims of the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

This move underscores the strong link between the culinary world and the wider community and further highlights the significance of their participation in the auction beyond mere commercial success.

Toyosu Fish Market Regains Footing

Toyosu Market sign in Tokyo

(Toyosu Market sign)

The Toyosu Fish Market is a wholesale fish and seafood market located in Tokyo, Japan. It is the successor to the historic Tsukiji Fish Market, which relocated to Toyosu in October 2018. The market is the largest fish market in the world by volume of seafood traded, handling over 440,000 tons of seafood annually.

The Toyosu Fish Market is an important part of Tokyo's food culture. It provides fresh seafood to restaurants and supermarkets throughout the city. The market is also a popular tourist destination, and it is a great place for tourists to learn about Japanese seafood and culture. During the 2020 pandemic, the Toyosu Fish Market faced pandemic struggles due to the lack of tourists.

Seafood for sale at Toyosu market in Tokyo

(Seafood for sale at Toyosu Market)

Additionally, the Japanese economy faced a downward trend, affecting the fish markets, and making the market price of fish low. However, this year, they hope to recover from it in hopes of an increase in demand from tourism. This will also give motivation to the fishermen.

Beyond commerce, the first auction holds cultural significance. This enduring ritual reinforces Japan's appreciation of seafood and cuisine mastery. In challenging times, it offers hope and reminds us of life's simple joys.

Looking Ahead

The 2024 Toyosu Fish Market New Year's auction stands as a testament to the enduring power of Japanese tradition, its adaptability in the face of hardship, and its unwavering commitment to offering comfort and joy even during challenging times.

The record-breaking tuna served not only as a culinary prize but also as a symbol of resilience and hope, marking a significant chapter in the ongoing story of this iconic market and the vital role it plays in Japanese culture.

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