Anyone that knows me knows I love fish markets. My all time favorite of which is Japan’s renowned Tsukiji Market located in the heart of Tokyo. Around since 1924, the massive structure has been supplying Tokyo, Japan and the rest of the world with perhaps the best and freshest selection of tuna and other oceanic delights (read my previous post on the seafood wonderland here). Come 2014, the 78 year old bustling market will relocate to the Koto Ward, an area half a mile away from the original location and a space able to accomodate a 40% capacity increase.
While the market will thankfully still be in operation, there is something to be said when a renowned enterprise is removed from its’ original home. Part of the excitement and allure to the current Tsukiji is the overflowing mass of fish and seafood crowding into every corner and open space of the current covered warehouse. Walking through the narrow aisles, one gets a sense of history, the floors which have held a fantastic variety of freshly caught goods for tens of years. The new market will undoubtedly do Tsukiji just service- however it will more likely than not be an exceedingly sterile version of the current space. The walls of the Tsukiji warehouse are the bones of the market, an intrinsic component of the unrivaled atmosphere.
Tsukiji is for more than a memorable experience. An early morning spent there enlivens the senses, arouses the tastebuds and allows one to appreciate the cultural connection between Japan and the ocean. Tsukiji is integral to the Japanese way of life and while it undoubtedly continue to be, it will also undoubtedly lose some of the qualities that make it a uniquely captivating glimpse into the Japanese cultural patchwork. My advice? Go there now when you still can.
Tsukiji Market, directly above Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway Line or a five minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line, Mon- Sat, 5 AM- 2 PM (though the vast majority of the action dies down by 6:30 AM)