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Apr 11, 2008 07:09 AM

"Tsukiji- Fishy Business"

An article in The Economist confirms what many of us know already- that Tsukiji as a tourist destination is a double-edged sword for Japan and that, it seems for the most part, has become too much for the market to handle. The story mentions the proposed move to Toyosu in a couple of years, although in the comments section of the story, someone notes that the move was pushed back further. Most likely, the inner stalls and real operating part of the market as a wholesale destination will become limited to commercial individuals and rationed to only select tours/journalistst/etc. The first time I went to the market, more than ten years ago, it wasn't so bad. These days, I feel sorry for the vendors. Perhaps areas on the outer portion of the market will become like Hakodate's, which is a sort of "market experience" with stalls selling gift packages.?.?...Anyway, here's the article-

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  1. i visited a couple weeks back and i can't agree more that the tourists are seriously getting in the way. obviously there's a hypocritical edge to it but we did try to get out of there as quick as possible and were as aware of our surroundings as possible. by one of the tuna auctions i had to yell at a crowd of people taking photographs to let a guy with a cart through because they were oblivious that they were taking up the entire entranceway even though they were standing right in the middle.

    some people don't quite seem to get that this is a daily living, not some gimmicky sideshow.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pinstripeprincess

      I agree with the hypocritical nature. I like going there and seeing the sights, sometimes it's even fun to wait in line for Dai or Daiwa but I feel guilty as well.

      1. re: lost squirrel

        Well there's nothing wrong with eating at Tsukiji. There's an outer market that's designed for the public, and that's where the sushi shops are. It should be a fun tourist destination on its own, but all the guidebooks talk about is the inner market, which is a busy workplace and really shouldn't be promoted to tourists. I've been there only once in recent years, and it was just embarrassing.

        1. re: lost squirrel

          The outer area, where the restaurants like Sushi Dai are, is not the issue. It's the inner vendor and auction sections that are the concern. This area will probably be off limits at some point in the near future.

          1. re: Silverjay

            You mean the outer area of the inner market, right ? Sushi Dai, Daiwa are located inside the inner market. Yes, the suituation of the inner market core (vendor/supplier/auction) are really crazy.


            1. re: skylineR33

              Ah, thanks for clarifying that - I had assumed all the restaurants were in the outer market by definition. But yes, going to the restaurants isn't the problem, hanging out in the inner core work area is.

      2. I was last there 25 years ago. I think I'll just preserve my memories, with apologies to all of you non-geezer/geezerettes..

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          i'm on the same track.... it was my first trip to japan and will be my only visit to tsukiji. while the sushi restos from the inner market were certainly quite nice... for their pricing and my own limited wallet, i was more than happy to dine at the tsukiji sushi sen location in ginza instead. besides, they were so much more happier to have my business that i even ended up being gifted a mug!

        2. See attached layout map. It's the area colored in blue and called "Marine Products Section", probably the most interesting area, that will have to be regulated at some point. The yellow colored restaurant section or "飲食店街", which is on the outer area of the market, is not the problem. Most of those businesses are retail operations.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Silverjay

            See attached photo of Tsukiji market's layout.- SJ

            1. re: Silverjay

              How does one pronounce "魚がし横丁" in Japanese?

              1. re: K K

                Uogashi (魚がし) yokocho (横丁)

            2. I just read that there will be a special cordoned off 'tourist section' for people to check out the tuna auction.
              Apparently it'll be open/available from 5 to 6:15am.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lost squirrel

                Where did you read that (can you post the URL, Nihongo is OK) - where + how will it be different from the existing one, other than the hours?

                1. re: kamiosaki

                  Here's a notice from someone who gives tours in English:

                  The Tokyo Government that administrates the Tsukiji Market is restricting tourists strictly than before from April 1st, 2008.
                  This is affecting our tour.

                  --We can't take a look at the shrimp site anymore. We can't watch the sea urchin auction and the live fish auction. We sometimes are not able to watch the fresh fish auction, too. We have to watch the fresh tuna auction from a longer distance than before.

                  In terms of watching several kinds of auctions, I can't do it anymore. Instead, I have to concentrate more on things such as watching the middleman store area, explaining about the functions of the people working and facilities of the Market, etc.


                  Reuters via Straits Times:

                  1. re: kamiosaki

                    I just read it in the Metropolis, small print section.

                    It's just a blurb and they don't provide any links or background. I think most of the information comes from Japanese newspapers but I'm not sure.

                2. I just got back, and was happy enough to just have a quick wander around later in the day (about 8 am) and have some breakfast sushi. However, later in my trip I was in Katsuura, about 4 hours south of Osaka, where they not only land more tuna at the docks than they do in Tokyo, but also actively encourage visitors. I'm quoting a bit from local promotional fluff here, but as a way of seeing just how big the tuna can really be without pissing off honest fish traders, it might be a viable alternative.