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Tsukiji’s fish wholesalers may be leaving but Showa Era outer market here to stay

by Yoshiaki Miura

Staff Photographer

Although the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tsukiji’s fish merchants are wrangling over the planned transfer of the site in Chuo Ward to the Toyosu district in Koto Ward a few kilometers southeast, there is still a portion of the world-famous market that will remain vibrant and unchanged.

The Tsukiji outer market area, known as Tsukiji Jogai Shijo, is next to the inner market (Jonai Shijo), an area dedicated to the business of licensed wholesalers, whose move to Toyosu has proved contentious due to soil contamination at the new site.

The outer market, however, is accessible to everyone, and is always crowded with tourists. The 460 shops, selling everything from fresh tuna sashimi and dried fish to kitchenware, will not move to Toyosu.

The reclaimed land area, which also houses many stalls and restaurants serving sushi, curry and ramen, is reminiscent of the Showa Era (1926-1989), and is markedly different in its atmosphere from the high-end shopping district of Ginza nearby.

After the food stalls (many close by 2 p.m.), visitors can go to Namiyoke Inari Shrine, built in 1959. It houses a deity believed to have helped calm the sea for the land reclamation project in the mid-17th century.

A couple share a strawberry skewer bought at the Tsukiji fish market, which sells not only seafood but also snacks and desserts.
A couple share a strawberry skewer bought at the Tsukiji fish market, which sells not only seafood but also snacks and desserts. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
A tourist photographs the head of a freshly caught tuna at a sushi restaurant in Tsukiji, Tokyo.
A tourist photographs the head of a freshly caught tuna at a sushi restaurant in Tsukiji, Tokyo. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
The shops and food stalls in the Tsukiji outer market are packed with tourists on Jan. 19.
The shops and food stalls in the Tsukiji outer market are packed with tourists on Jan. 19. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Visitors to Namiyoke Inari Shrine in Tsukiji, Tokyo, pass through a hoop made of grass that is believed to purify their spirits.
Visitors to Namiyoke Inari Shrine in Tsukiji, Tokyo, pass through a hoop made of grass that is believed to purify their spirits. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
A tourist browses a dry foods store in Tsukiji, Tokyo.
A tourist browses a dry foods store in Tsukiji, Tokyo. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
A family enjoys noodles at one of the many stalls offering traditional Japanese food.
A family enjoys noodles at one of the many stalls offering traditional Japanese food. | YOSHIAKI MIURA
Tsukiji Honganji Temple, a Buddhist temple in Tsukiji built most recently in 1934, features a unique stone exterior combining Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic architecture.
Tsukiji Honganji Temple, a Buddhist temple in Tsukiji built most recently in 1934, features a unique stone exterior combining Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic architecture. | YOSHIAKI MIURA

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