Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs a successful sushi restaurant chain, paid 193 million yen ($1.8 million) to purchase a 276-kilogramme (608-pound) bluefin tuna, caught off the Aomori region in northern Japan.
“This is the best,” Kimura told reporters after the pre-dawn auction.
“Yes, this is expensive, isn’t it? I want our customers to eat very tasty ones this year too,” he said.
Media-savvy Kimura regularly pays top price at the first auction of the year at the Japanese capital’s main fish market, making himself and his business a fixture in national news during this season.
In last year’s new year auction, Kimura paid a record $3.1 million to win a 278-kilogram (612-pound) tuna.
The traditional auction is now being held in a new market in an area called Toyosu.
The world-famous Tsukiji market, which had long served as a popular tourist attraction in an area packed with restaurants and shops, closed in 2018.