With coolers straining against the summer heat, tens of thousands of daily visitors sightseeing in earnest, and delivery scooters zooming around while loaded with tonnes of cartons of fresh seafood, nobody could say that Tsukiji Fish Market's hustle and bustle didn't have it all.
This veritable melting pot of street hawker charm and some serious seafood trading is now, technically, a thing of the past. While the outer market with its 500 shops will stay where it is, on Thursday October 11, 2018, the inner fish market of Tsukiji will officially reopen in its new home in Toyosu, a couple of kilometres away. Toyosu Fish Market, a new era for seafood in Japan, has arrived.
The iconic tuna auctions will now be found in Toyosu's more auction-friendly setup, with dedicated viewing platforms for visitors. No need to sign up to watch either; just get there early and pick your spot. A change, to be sure, from the wild ride of rubbing shoulders with auctioneers and bidders, but at least you'll be safe from collapsing antiquated hovels. Yes, the fish markets have entered the modern world.
Decades in the making, the move to Toyosu was inevitable. Concerns about safety standards were very real and despite the incredible charm that Tsukiji's old inner market had, the reality was that it was all surviving on a stubborn old oily rag.
Many are already mourning the loss of this unique part of Tokyo's incredible history. But as each era ends, it's axiomatic that a new one will begin. So it is with Toyosu. The stage is now set for another 83 years and more of Japanese seafood history, as new experiences and new memories are made.
The mad, eccentric hustle and bustle may be gone but the seafood still remains.
Take the train on the Yurikamome Line and get off at Shijomae Station. Toyosu Fish Market is connected directly to the station via an overhead passage.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident who enjoys drooling over proper soba and sushi, Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me and I enjoy stringing words together. I've almost one hundred published articles on Japan as well as five English language books written in the traditional Japanese zuihitsu-style.