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From Tsukiji to Toyosu! Japan’s kitchen moves location

Frozen tuna auction at Toyosu market

    With a history spanning more than 80 years and on a scale that made it one of the largest in the world, the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo (known as "Japan's kitchen") closed in October 2018 and relocated its business to Toyosu Market. We would like to introduce you to Toyosu Market which has become a new tourist spot.

What are the features and characteristics of the new market?

    After it opened in 1935, Tsukiji's was a place that offered reliable supplies of fresh food. In particular it was known for handling the largest volume of seafood in the world and the name "Tsukiji" even became famous overseas as a marketplace representative of Japan. However, as facilities at Tsukiji became obsolete and too small etc., a new market was created at Toyosu – a modern facility with a view to the future.

Toyosu Market (courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market)

    While taking advantage of the experience and features cultivated at Tsukiji to date, Toyosu Market incorporates state-of-the-art technology and has been designed with careful thought for the environment.
    The best feature is that Toyosu Market is a closed facility with the wholesale market and the intermediate wholesale market located indoors. It allows the freshness of the food to be maintained - protecting fresh produce from the wind and rain; ensuring proper temperature controls; and enhancing quality and sanitation controls. In addition the new premises have secured a smooth flow of operations to enable efficient logistics by providing plenty of cargo handling space near the market floors and installing parking lots. Responding to users' requests, the Toyosu Market has also set up on-site facilities that can handle processing, sorting and packaging operations etc.
    The vehicles used for transporting goods (known as "turret trucks") and the fork lifts used on site are all electric, reducing carbon dioxide emissions; and in addition, the market also uses natural energy like solar power etc. Green zones have also been developed in the building and on the rooftops as part of environmental conservation measures.

A turret truck used for transporting cargo has been placed in the observation gallery. Visitors can get on it to take commemorative photographs.

Visitors’ Course of the Highlights

    A feature of the Toyosu Market is the visitors' course that has been set up to allow visitors to enjoy the auctions (a system whereby buyers bid against one another on price, and goods are sold to the buyer offering the highest price) and market conditions in safety and comfort. The course is available from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days when the market is open. Visitors can walk around the Management Facilities Building, the Fisheries Wholesale Market Building, the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building and the Fruit and Vegetables Building.
    Let's take a walk around the course. The course starts in the Management Facilities Building. Here in the PR corner you can get an overall image of the market before starting the walk. You can also pick up pamphlets and various information. From here let’s go through the connecting passageway to the biggest highlight - the Fisheries Wholesale Market Building.

A model of a blue-fin tuna on display in the visitors’ hall. This is the real size of the biggest tuna ever actually traded

The wholesale market seen from the visitors passageway

    The visitors passageway runs along one end of the hall, giving a broad view down from the window onto the wholesale market. It is an incredible site to see hundreds of tuna lined up. You get a great view from here, but if you want to enjoy the bidding from a little closer then let's move downstairs to the "observation deck for tuna auctions." The observation deck is right next to the auction site and the big glass window has been left open at the top so that you can really hear the bustle of the wholesale market and the voices of traders making their bids. It is a lively spectacle with the sound of the specialist calls used to place bids and sight of buyers using their fingers to indicate the amount and price of the goods they want to buy in gestures known as "hand signals." Be aware that you need to apply in advance to watch from the deck, with the successful applicants being chosen by a lottery draw. Auctions start from around 5:30 a.m.

Auctions are held in various spots around the wholesale market. From the observation deck you can hear some lively voices

A board displaying the meanings of the “hand signals”

    Going back along the connecting passageway, next we go across the road to the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building on the opposite side. The Fisheries Wholesale Market Building is where tuna and other seafood are traded by wholesalers to wholesale brokers and this building (the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building) is where the wholesale brokers sell the seafood to fishmongers and sushi restaurant operators from the city. There is only a gallery on the 3rd Floor for tourists to observe from, but you can see the intermediate wholesale market from the window and there is a good display of various information panels and turret trucks that are actually in service etc. This building has the largest number of restaurants and merchandising stores and you can enjoy a meal and some shopping here. Many of the restaurants and merchandising stores are open for business from early morning until just after noon, so we recommend that you visit in the morning.

The Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market where professional traders come to shop

On the 4th Floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building are rows of merchandising stores. Ordinary members of the public can also shop here

There are restaurants on the 3rd Floor. Many of the restaurants that were popular in Tsukiji have relocated here

    The Fruit and Vegetables Building is a little far away, but it is linked by the passageway allowing easy access. In this building you can also see the Wholesale Fruit & Vegetable Market from the passageway and an observation deck.

The fruit & vegetable market seen from the observation gallery. It has a different look to the wholesale seafood market with lots of cardboard boxes neatly lined up

Display panels tell of the market’s history

Access to the Toyosu Market

    The closest station to Toyosu Market is the "Shijo-mae" station on the Yurikamome New Transit Waterfront Line. The station is linked by connecting passageway to each of the market's buildings. There are no parking lots available in the market for tourists or the general public, but it isn't too far if you take a taxi from around Ginza or Tokyo Station.

Yurikamome’s “Shijo-mae” station, the access point for Toyosu Market

    In the vast space between Shijo-mae station and Toyosu Market, there are plans to build large-scale commercial facilities that are linked to the market. As Japanese cultural entertainment facility on a food theme, you will no doubt be able to spend more quality time here sightseeing and shopping once the new commercial facilities are completed.

(courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market)

The market area around the old Tsukiji site still remains

    Meanwhile, although the main market functions have moved from Tsukiji to Toyosu, the market area around the old Tsukiji market is still doing well and is crowded with many tourists. It has an exciting atmosphere and you can enjoy things like a treasure hunt around the market area, which has a long history. It is within walking distance of Ginza, so why not go along to try some sushi or a rice bowl topped with seafood etc., or to do some shopping?

The area around Tsukiji, crowded with tourists. There are even stores crammed into the alleyways

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