Note: This article is out of date. While the Tsukiji Fish Market still exists, the tuna auction has now moved the to the new Toyosu Fish Market.

Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction appears in literally every single guidebook about Tokyo. I understand why. It’s pretty fascinating to watch about a hundred Japanese men yell, haggle, taste test, and hack up gigantic tuna fish that are twice my weight and cost more than my student loans.

However, Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction has an unfortunate characteristic – you have to get there at around 4am to get a lucrative ticket (which is really just a colored vest) to the 5:25am Tuna Auction. Trains don’t run that early. Nor do busses. That means anyone who wants to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction has to either:

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  • Stay in nearby hotel and walk to the market (expensive)
  • Take a taxi from their hotel in Tokyo (also expensive)
  • Have a friend drive them (awesome, but very rare – since there’s basically no parking in the Tsukiji Market)
  • Stay up all night drinking coffee at the 24-hour Jonathan’s Family Restaurant (cheapest, but also means you can’t sleep)
  • Do all night Karaoke (somewhat expensive)
  • Stay in a Manga Cafe (cheap)

I, of course, picked the Manga Cafe. I ended up spending the night at the Com Com Manga Cafe – a nice five minute walk from Tsukiji Market.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

For those of you (like me) who have never been to a Manga Cafe – the name is a bit misleading. Yes, it is a place where you can read manga. However, I would go out on a limb and say 80% of the guests never even touch the volumes. I went through four volumes of Detective Conan before I passed out around 1am – aside from the small dent I made in the stacks of books, no one else had taken a single volume.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

What can you do at a Manga Cafe?

Most people sleep (especially at night). Other people surf the net. Some people read comics.

When you enter the Com Com Manga Cafe, you have to pick your “package” (how long you want to stay) and your “room.” The three options for rooms are a “mat” (thin futon kind of like a black gym mat with a computer), a “computer chair” (a reclining chair and computer) or a “reclining chair” (a reclining chair and footstool).

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

I did some research ahead of time – since I was meeting my friend at 3:45am, I only wanted the three hour package. The price breakdown is:

  • 30 minutes = 250yen
  • 3 hours (between 6am and 5pm) = 500yen
  • 3 hours (after 5pm and before 6am) = 980yen
  • 7 hours = 1500yen
  • Time extension (in case you oversleep) = 100 yen for every fifteen minutes

What are the Manga Cafe Rooms Like?

Simply put, they are wooden cubicles. Except the wood was fake wood, and the door was a small navy curtain. They are in no way soundproof – I learned that the hard way when my neighbor spend the whole three hours snoring like a man about to die.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

The shortlist of things you need to bring to a manga cafe includes your passport/foreigner registration card, eyemask, ear plugs, and alarm clock.

Why Com Com Manga Cafe?

Com Com Manga Cafe is a five minute walk from Tsukiji Fish Market, and a ten minute walk from the site of the Tuna Auction. If you take the last train to the Com Com Manga Cafe (Ginza station), you can buy a 3-hour Com Com Manga Cafe “pack” and arrive at the Tsukiji Fish Market with plenty of time to get your vest and watch the tuna auction.

Basically, Com Com Manga Cafe is the cheapest place to get a full-nights sleep before the tuna auction.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta
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