Diel vertical migration of the cutlassfish Trichiurus japonicus larvae were investigated by consecutive 24-h collections at 3-h intervals at a station in the central Seto Inland Sea, Japan in June and September. Only one larva was collected in June 2017, while 224 and 40 larvae were collected in September 2016 and 2017, respectively. Larvae were present only at depths of ≥ 11 m during the day, whereas they were present at depths of 1, 6, 11 and 16 m during the night. Migration was observed in larvae in which swim bladder formation was completed. A similar pattern, namely nocturnal occurrence at shallow depths only of the developed larvae, was observed in another 24-h survey, suggesting that the swim bladder regulates the upward movement of larvae at night.