Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Let’s go to Kochi City Central Wholesale Market!

By Kencho CIR, Teo Valerie
 
We went to find out about the market!
   The market was opened in 1930 and is the second oldest market in Japan. Fish caught in Kochi and foods from across the country are brought here, and make their way to the dinner tables of Kochi’s residents.
 
The most commonly caught fish in Kochi isn’t actually bonito!
   If you walk towards the ocean-facing side of the market, you can see where the unloading of fishing boats takes place. I’m sure many of you would think that because this is Kochi, the most common fish caught here would be bonito. However Kochi is not the number one prefecture in terms of catching bonito- it is just number one in terms of their consumption. The bonito eaten in Kochi primarily comes from Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Chiba Prefecture. So what is the most common fish handled at this market? The answer is tuna and alfonsino. Incredibly, approx. 290 tons of tuna and approx. 200 tons of alfonsino are handled here every year, with other main types of fish including bonito, common dolphinfish, blue mackerel and the Japanese amberjack.

Try experiencing the intensity of an auction!
   The fish brought to the market are displayed in the auction which starts at 5:30 AM. Only wholesalers, and intermediate wholesalers and trading participants who have received permission are able to participate, and to receive this permission, they need a record of sales. Foreigners who work as distributing agents in Kochi or have a record of sales are allowed to apply.
 
The appeal of a traditional auction
   1. A large quantity of goods can be seen by the buyers, and an appropriate value can be decided depending on their good and bad points.
   2. Wholesalers are not able to raise the prices as they so choose.
   3. Supply and demand of goods are properly adjusted to the day’s catch.
 
   At auctions unexpected results can also take place. If the item is very rare, the prices can shoot up surpassing expectations. In recent years the total quantity of fresh fish that the market handles is decreasing every year, however the total amount of money being made is going up. Great quantities of many varieties of fish are being sold to large amounts of consumers and retailers in the 18 intermediate wholesaler’s stalls which are separate to the auction. These intermediate wholesalers cut the fish into small portions so that families can easily buy them for cooking at home.
 
   As we left the market with its lines of fresh fish, salted-dried fish and fruit and vegetable stalls it was like we had visited an extremely large, fresh and discounted supermarket! Please go and discover it for yourself.
 
Auction times (AM)
5:30~ fresh fish
(Pacific bluefin tuna, marlin etc.)
6:00~ salted-dried fish
(whitebait etc.)
7:00~ vegetables
7:30~ fruit
 
   The fruit and vegetables auction takes about 1 hour to complete, however the fresh fish auction is over in 10-15 minutes, and the salted-dried fish auction is over in a mere 5 minutes. You will regret it
if you’re late!
 
Kochi City Central Wholesale Market
・Location: 12-12 Kokadai, Kochi City
・Access
   Take bus P1 or P2 from Harimayabashi stop and get off at “Chuo-shijo-mae”. It takes about 10 minutes to get there, however you could be waiting at the bus stop for over an hour so please check the timetable before going! The return bus changes to C1!
・Open market days coming up: April 7, May 12, June 2, July 7.

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