Osaka Central Fish Market
At around 4am, Osaka Central Fish Market springs to life. Bidding begins with the refrigerated tuna seller—a bell is rung, giant tuna fish are placed on display, and the fish sells out within the hour. Then, bidders move on throughout the one million-square-foot (320,000-square-meter venue to try their luck at winning other coveted food items.
Hassle-free tours of the fish market allow you to overcome the language barrier and get your bearings in the enormous venue. Walking tours typically include tastings of the city’s freshest sushi and sashimi and offer insider insight into the fish culture of Japan. To witness the famous tuna auction you’ll need to arrive at the market in the early morning—finding the auction is difficult unless you can read Japanese.
Things to know before you go
- Osaka Central Fish Market is a far less crowded alternative to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.
- The floor of Osaka Fish Market is generally wet and slippery so wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- There are several reasonably priced sushi restaurants on the outskirts of the market, which serve fish bought at auction that very morning.
How to get there
From the Dotonbori neighborhood in central Osaka, Osaka Central Fish Market is a 15-minute taxi ride. Alternatively, it’s four stops on the pink metro line, which departs from Namba station and arrives at Tamagawa station, from which the market is a 10-minute walk away.
When to get there
To immerse yourself in the bustle of the tuna auction, aim to arrive at Osaka Central Fish Market at 4am; the auction generally begins shortly after and lasts around an hour, or untill all the fish has been sold.
Explore Osaka’s Markets
Osaka has a diverse range of markets, making it paradise for travelers who love shopping. Make sure you visit the Shintennoki Flea Market, which sells precious antiques; Kuromon Ichiba Market, which is hailed as the Kitchen of Osaka due to its culinary offerings; and Ikuno Korea Town, home to scores of Korean shops.
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