The Tsukiji fish market is an odd sort of landmark. It’s not the natural wonder that Mount Fuji is, and it isn’t quite the image that Tokyo Tower is either. But for many people around the world, they have at least heard of the place, if not seen images of Japanese people grade HUGE fish that were caught fresh.
The Tsukiji fish market is a cultural landmark. It’s not so much about any religion or the spirits that you can find in MANY of the places in the country, it’s about fish and the HUGE market for it in Japan. It sat between Ginza and the Sumida River in Tokyo. It was first built in 1935 and ever since then, it has become more than just a place to buy lots of top-grade fish for restaurants and eateries. It has become a destination for people in Tokyo. Besides bidding on fish, there are restaurants and places for tourists to visit as well.
At least it did. The Tsukiji market is now closed. After 83 years of business and becoming a shrine to doing fish business. It is relocating a couple of miles away and will become the Toyosu Fish Market when the new market opens for business on October 11, and then will let in the tourists on the 13th.
The adjustment may take a lot longer though. It is said by those that worked in the Tsukiji market that the Toyosu location has a LOT less parking and that the new set up (it will become an indoor market) will change the way the sellers will interact with the buyers and the tourists. As with any big move like that, growing pains are expected. With so many dealers from the old market involved, some of the habits of doing business over fish will have to change, and as they say, old habits die hard.
Meanwhile, while the vendors and the visitors get accustomed to the new location, there are plans for the old location as well. For Better or worse, the location of the Tsukiji market is planned to be flattened and turned into a “Transport Hub” for the 2020 Summer Olympics being held in Tokyo. The upcoming Tokyo games have run into a LOT of issues over the years already, so I can hope that ending the legend of the Tsukiji fish market goes smoother than deciding the logo for the games or building of the new stadium.
The move itself has had its own issues as well. The new location was chosen in 2001 (predating Tokyo being chosen for the Olympics be a good number of years) and was originally supposed to occur back in 2016. However, there were many protests and even rioting then over the move. This time around there is a lot less protesting (though there has been some of that) and rioting and just a lot of grumbling faces that are not happy about the adjustment they will have the make.
The new market though will have a direct connection to the subway through Shijo-mae Station that actually connects to the new market itself. It is only two stops away from Toyosu Station. So maybe that is the reason the parking for the new building is less than before. There are hotels in the area to stay at and visitor entry to the new market will be free. But the really good stuff happens EARLY in the morning with the famed Tuna Auctions will be held before 5 AM. There will be places to eat in the new building and word is they have a grass-carpeted area on the roof to venture as well. Those behind the move have also said that the shrine that was housed in the old venue will be moving too and will be at the new location. There are even future plans to open up a nearby hotel and a hot spring close to the new market in future years.
A hot spring and hotel for a FISH MARKET. I think that goes to show how much this place means to a lot of people.