Photo/IllutrationFrozen tuna are lined up for auction at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward at 5:51 a.m. on Sept. 14. (Pool)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Demand to see the final tuna auctions at the Tsukiji fish market is so great that the line got cut off at 2 a.m. on Sept. 14, four hours before the start of the penultimate one.

The action got under way at 6 a.m. with the ringing of a handbell. When auctioneers called out the individual numbers of the frozen tuna, fish brokers bought them mostly in a matter of seconds by using “teyari” hand signals to signify their bids.

The public's last chance to see the famed auction in Tokyo's Chuo Ward is Sept. 15. Only 120 visitors are allowed per day on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Tsukiji market will close Oct. 6 after more than 80 years in operation.

It will be relocated to Toyosu in Koto Ward on Oct. 11, about 2 kilometers away. However, visitors won't be allowed the up-close look at the early morning auction.

At the new market, visitors will be able to view the tuna auction only through a glass wall from a high-up observation point.

The public can continue to visit the wholesale area for fresh fish, fruits and vegetables at Tsukiji from 11 a.m. until Sept. 29.

(This article was written by Noriyasu Nukui and Yuka Ariyoshi.)