An era has ended. Few tourist attractions is Asia rivaled the excitement of the Tsukiji Fish Market, the real life active fish market, with the world’s most famous tuna auction. It was perhaps the only place in the world where the fish traveled better than many of the people watching along, and the ability for tourists to purchase fresh fish and have it prepared made it one of the most unique and rewarding experiences. Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the iconic market has closed, and a new market has opened in its place. If you’re headed to Tokyo, Toyosu is your new spot…
Toyosu Market is the “new” Tsukiji Fish Market. The new Tokyo location opened Thursday, and will officially open its doors to tourists and the public at large on October 13th, 2018. The market is located in between Koto and Chūō on an island of sorts, which is slightly more out of the way for most keen visitors than the previous Tsukiji location. The new market is roughly double the size of its 83 year old predecessor, and according to the Japan Times, the facilities are state of the art. Only the best for the world’s most famous fish.
Initial reports suggest a vastly improved experience for tourists, but growing pains for vendors. The previous market was known for confined spaces, gritty age and authentic feel, whereas the new market is the most advanced of its kind. It’s not easy to break decades old traditions, and tuna brokers are reportedly struggling to find their early footing in the space with issues such as new lighting and temperatures which can impact critical decisions. With roughly $14m in fish sales daily, it’s serious business. Toro ain’t cheap…
Getting a glimpse at the iconic tuna auction in Tsukiji Fish Market was quite an undertaking. Only a few guests were welcomed into the space daily, which meant queues would begin as early as 2am to snag a coveted spot. The new Toyosu market will offer an observation deck for tourists hoping to catch the auctions and will open on January 15th, 2019. In the meantime, all travelers can visit the market’s restaurant and shopping floors. Sadly, fresh fish from the market will not be for sale.
I’m unlikely to visit the new market since the original was a one of a kind experience I’ve done a couple of times, just meandering through the aisles dodging carts and lift vehicles. Looking down from an observation walkway turns it into a theme park experience which is not what I travel for. Just one Japanese experience left undone: climbing Mt Fuji!
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