The famed Tsukiji Market has finally run its last leg of 83 years this week, and has shut down its doors for the last time before making the move to Toyosu. With its official opening on October 13th, the new Toyosu Fish Market is now fully operable and open to the public for shopping and tours.
The Tsukiji Fish market was set to move in October this year, due to concerns about fire safety, sanitation and lack of protection against earthquakes. In a matter of a week, 900 businesses moved their livelihoods to the new site, which saw about 2,600 vehicles and forklifts used for assistance.
Making international news headlines, this move meant that the Toyosu location grand opening would be wild, and in a matter of a couple hours, we saw chaos.
Early in the morning of the opening at around 3am, a forklift caught on fire at the market, emitting smoke and required a first floor evacuation. According to the Tokyo Fire Department, one forklift was left burnt, and fire safety teams left the scene within 30 minutes without any injuries reported.
Now it seems like the forklift drama didn’t stop there: a woman also sustained injuries to both of her legs after being caught between two forklifts only an hour later at 4am, where an ambulance was called to the scene and she had to be transported to a hospital.
Little changes have been made from the move– things are definitely looking more fresh and new, with more accessible walkways for visiting tourists. The opening of the market started out with a good old fashioned tuna auction, with the highest bid in the morning being a hefty 4.28 million yen ($38,130.52) for a 214 kilogram slab of tuna from Aomori Prefecture’s coastal town of Minmiya.
But back to the #drama, because this was such a huge opening, traffic was off the rails, with many visitors expressing their concerns about the traffic at Toyosu, as many cars and trucks were at a standstill due to the lack of parking spaces.
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Even behind the scenes, there was strange pools of water that were showing up everywhere, which had long ago been a concern for the new location. Many stall holders and workers say that Toyosu probably shouldn’t be the place where large quantities of seafood should be sold if it can’t hold… well, water.
But hey, for us, as long as the fresh sushi still comes in fresh, then we’re happy!