Unusual glow draws us in like moths to a flame. 

The other night at around 9:00 p.m., our reporter Ahiruneko was riding his bicycle home when he saw a strange, brightly lit spot in the distance. Ever curious, he pedalled towards the glowing site, like a moth to a flame, where he discovered a bank of vending machines. However, these were no ordinary machines, as they were filled with…

▼ …tuna!

That’s right, tuna was the star on this well-lit stage, appearing as sashimi, minced tataki, and even in gyoza dumplings. All the tuna in these vending machines comes direct from the fishing company who caught them, “Maguro no Takumi” (“Tuna Artisan“), and they use a traditional Japanese fishing method known as “tuna longline fishing”, which has a history that stems back to the 18th century.


It was rare to find a vending machine stocked with tuna direct from the fishing company itself, and though Ahiruneko’s first thought was, “Is there really a need to have tuna available at all hours of the day and night?” he found himself reaching into his wallet to make a late-night purchase.

▼ He opted for the “Leftover Pieces of Tuna with Toro (fatty belly)“, which was decently priced, at 1,100 yen (US$7.44).

▼ When he retrieved his pack from the machine, he found it was frozen for freshness.

Once caught and spiked using the ike-jime method, the tuna is quickly frozen at minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit) for quality control. This provides customers with the freshest tuna possible, so when he got home, Ahiruneko decided to try it straight away, but first he had to soak the vacuum-sealed bag in a large bowl of iced water for around two hours.

By the time the tuna was ready to eat, it was already midnight, so Ahiruneko found himself having a late-night tuna party for one. Laying the cuts out on a plate, he could see there were three types of tuna here — bigeye, yellowfin, and Pacific Bluefin which was way more variety than he’d expected.

The cuts displayed an excellent colour and nice streaks, and required nothing more than a dollop of soy sauce when eaten.

So how did they taste? According to Ahiruneko, there was only one word to describe them — amazing! There was absolutely no fishy taste or smell yet they were incredibly flavourful, and much higher quality than anything you’d get at a supermarket.

His only complaint was while he was eating them, he began to crave white rice. While sashimi is great on its own, Ahiruneko had cracked open a can of beer to enjoy them with, and now he found himself wishing he’d made a bowl of white rice to perfectly round out the meal.

That’s when he remembered something that made him feel like kicking himself — there were other vending machines next to the tuna ones, and they were filled with…

▼ …rice!

Ahiruneko should’ve known there was a reason for this pairing of machines, and now he knows better for next time. He actually recalled that the rice vending machines had previously been there on their own for many years, with him passing them by without any interest. Now that tuna vending machines have been newly added to the location, rice sales have likely increased, which is a win-win for local rice farmers and local residents like Ahiruneko, who will next time be combining tuna with rice to make this simple rice cooker meal.

Vending machine information
Maguro no Takumi Ichiban-bune Hino Minamidaira store / 鮪匠いちばん船日野南平店
Address: Tokyo-to, Hino-shi, Minamidaira 4-45-3
Open 24 hours

Related: Maguro no Takumi Ichiban-bune
Photos © SoraNews24
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