The sprawling Tsukiji Fish Market is one of Tokyo’s most famous tourist spots. The wholesale fish market is known for its array of seafood, viewing areas, and restaurants. However, the market is set to relocate to a new facility.

The Tsukiji Fish Market opened in 1935. Following the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake that devastated the earlier Nihonbashi fish market, the massive industrial size complex was constructed to meet the city’s needs. Its “genuine” atmosphere and lack of a polished façade led to the market becoming an unlikely tourist destination.

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo
The famous tuna auction at Tsukiji Market. Tsukiji is considered the world’s largest fish market.

The market is famous for its busy, bustling, stalls, Japanese kitchen tools, restaurants, fresh sushi breakfasts, and for its live tuna auctions. Crowds line up from as early as 2 am in order to witness the auction that begins around 5:20 am. Licensed buyers like wholesalers, local chefs and fish mongers then bid on wares for the day ahead. However, spaces for tourists at the auction are limited to 120 per day.

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Tsukiji Fish Market set to close up shop

However, the Tsukiji Fish Market is now set to close up shop. It currently occupies valuable real estate close to the center of the city. It will be relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility two kilometres away in Toyosu. This move was scheduled to take place in November 2016 in preparation for the 2020 Summer Olympics, but was postponed.

Tsukiji outer market in Tokyo
Some of the outer market, at Tsukiji will remain open.

The new building is made to accommodate larger numbers of tourists. It also consists of three main buildings, one of which will be dedicated to fruits and vegetables. Located near Shijo-mae Station, it will also have separate viewing decks for visitors to view the tuna auctions without getting in the way.

Now the Tsukiji Fish Market will officially close on 6 October, and tours of the live tuna operation will stop on 15 September. The inner market will become inaccessible after 29 September, but the out market (which contains various restaurants) will remain open even after October 2018. The new market, which will be renamed Toyosu Market, will open on 11 October.

Some of the original market will be kept intact, while the remaining area will be redeveloped. You can find out more at the Tsukiji Fish Market official website.

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