"I was able to buy a delicious, super fresh tuna", the sushi restaurant chain owner proudly told reporters. The winning bid for the prized but threatened species at the predawn auction Saturday was more than double the 2013 annual New Year auction.
Kimura has been a frequent visitor to the markets and for the past few years has been the victor of the annual auction.
The purchase shocked the city's famed Tsukiji fish market, the world's biggest and among Japan's most popular tourist spots.
Tsukiji, which opened in 1935, was best known for its pre-dawn daily auctions of tuna, caught from all corners of the ocean, for use by everyone from top Michelin-star sushi chefs to ordinary grocery stores.
Japan is the biggest consumer of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna and the national and global demand for the fish has lead to overfishing of the species. Kimura has often won the annual auction in the past.
"I have come here every year to eat New Year sushi but this tuna is tastier than ever", Reiko Yamada, a 71-year-old housewife, told AFP.
To land the enormous catch, the self-styled "Tuna King" had to pay the hefty sum of 333.6 million yen ($3.1 million) for the 278kg bluefin tuna, which was caught off Japan's northern prefecture of Aomari.
Prospective buyers inspect the quality of tuna before the first auction of the year at the newly opened Toyosu Market, the new site of Tokyo's fish market, on January 5, 2019, in Tokyo. Experts warn it faces extinction, with stocks of Pacific bluefin depleted by 96 percent from their pre-industrial levels.
"I sincerely hope this market will be loved by many people", said Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who attended the sale, wearing the white rubber boots favoured by auctioneers.
The high-priced tuna will be served at regular prices at a Sushizanmai outlet in Tsukiji later on Saturday, the report said, estimating that the fish may cost an average of more than $200 per serving.
The Toyosu market took over the operations of the world-famous Tsukiji market in the capital's Chuo Ward last October.