Tourists to be barred from Tokyo tuna auctions


Tourists will be banned from pre-dawn tuna auctions at the largest fish market in Japan – and the world – for at least a month, officials said Wednesday.

“We have decided on a total ban as visitors are taking pictures with flash and touching tuna, which gets in the way of bidding,” said Akiko Ueyama, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

“The market is not a visitor attraction but a place for fish bidding.”

Local authorities have long overlooked hundreds of people, mostly foreign tourists, flocking every day to Tsukiji market to see the tuna auctions.

But the metropolitan government will now deploy guards to enforce the ban, which is due to begin on December 15. It will notify embassies, hotels and travel agencies of the move.

“We are also considering if we should continue it indefinitely,” Ueyama said.

The market, the source of fresh sushi and sashimi flown daily to top restaurants the world over, has long topped must-see lists for first-time visitors to Tokyo.