The priciest giant bluefin tuna sold at Tokyo’s biggest fish market on the first day of business in 2024 fetched ¥114.2 million ( ₹6.55 crores approx), in an auction for what is considered an auspicious fish that has become a Japanese New Year’s tradition.
The tuna weighed 238 kilograms (525 pounds) and was sold Friday to seafood wholesaler Yamayuki and sushi chain operator Onodera Group — a team that has been the winning bidder of the top fish for four straight years.
The giant tuna was over three times the amount offered last year in the sale at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market, and the fourth highest since records started in 1999, according to Hiroki Matsushita, an official at the fish market.
“If we were going to do it, we wanted to win,” Yukitaka Yamaguchi, the president of Yamayuki, said by telephone, taking a break from cutting the fish.
The highly valued tuna caught off the coast of Aomori prefecture is set to be served at the Michelin-starred sushi restaurant Onodera in the upscale Ginza district.
The price paid for the tuna is the highest since the Covid-19 pandemic. It comes as virus restrictions have been lifted and restaurants are packing in customers.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has returned to pre-pandemic levels and has exceeded 2 million for six consecutive months, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Still, domestic demand remains wobbly, as the country had its deepest contraction in gross domestic product since the pandemic in the third quarter. The tuna’s price this year was still far off from the 2019 record of ¥333.6 million ( ₹19 crores approx).