What We Know About the Toyosu Fish Market So Far

Adriana Paradiso
toyosu fish market
Aerial view of the new Toyosu Fish Market (under construction). | Photo by © Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market

You’ve probably heard that the iconic Tsukiji Fish Market will cease operations in October this year, and reopen as the Toyosu Fish Market. Here are the top tidbits regarding the relocation of this historic landmark in Tokyo.

When one market closes, another opens only slightly farther east …

… you know that old saying.

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First, the Tsukiji Fish Market was slated to close its doors in November 2016. Then the move got pushed back. And back. And back some more. But the official word now is that it’s relocating from October 6 to open at the Toyosu waterfront district on October 11, 2018. Hopefully there aren’t any more pushbacks (if only for updating this article’s sake). Over 600 merchants will be moving.

With a Fall 2018 opening of the new Tokyo fish market venue, the move means that time is running out for those keen on seeing the live tuna auction and experiencing the market in its original state. The tuna auction will be open to visitors at the new site, but it’s unclear when, exactly—and we do know there will be glass barriers. It’s probably best to make your way to Tsukiji while you still can, if you want to see it in its old form. Check out our comprehensive Tsukiji guide for opening hours, closures and what to expect.

Where exactly will the Toyosu Fish Market be?

The new Toyosu Fish Market will be near Shijomae Station in Tokyo’s Koto Ward—about 2km east of Tsukiji’s current location. It will be housed in three snazzy, interconnected buildings—two for seafood and one for fruit and veg. Admission is free, and you’ll be able to watch auctions from dedicated viewing platforms. Meals can be had at the restaurants in the complex (many of them will be direct transplants from Tsukiji).

Word is the complex will be expanded to include more tourist-oriented stuff in the future, like a hotel and hot spring.

Relocating from Tsukiji to the Toyosu Fish Market costs a lot of clams

(Clams, fish market … get it? You got it.)

The expected cost of transplanting the wholesale market from Tsukiji to Toyosu is upwards of 600 billion yen (approx. 5.42 billion USD). This includes construction (fun fact: the new market will feature solar panels and a green rooftop), infrastructure (including a new expressway), land costs, and soil decontamination measures.

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Tsukiji tuna auction will be moving to the new Toyosu Fish Market
When members of the public will be allowed to watch the tuna auction at the new Toyosu Fish Market remains to be seen. | Photo by Greg Palmer used under CC

Wait, go back—what’s that about soil contamination?

The Toyosu site was formerly home to a gas production plant, and an early survey conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed that the soil was, unfortunately, heavily contaminated. Extensive clean-up efforts seem to have sorted it out, but naturally, there’s been concern—especially from business operators—about food safety at the relocation site, and over 70% of Tsukiji wholesalers originally opposed the move.

toyosu fish market

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What will happen to the old Tsukiji Fish Market?

The Tsukiji Fish Market is closing for a few reasons: its facilities are old (it opened in 1935), and the current layout is inefficient. The government says this is hurting the market’s “image”, in addition to causing health and food safety concerns. Tsukiji attracts more than 40,000 visitors daily, so the latter concerns kind of make sense. The soaring temperatures of this summer highlighted the challenges, with the aircon units at Tsukiji unable to beat the heat.

But another big reason (and perhaps the main reason) for the move is that Tsukiji Market is currently sitting on prime real estate. There’s been all sorts of talk about having the site operate as a temporary bus terminal during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and then be redeveloped into a sports stadium and retail shops. There’ve also been rumblings about relocating the famous fish market back to Tsukiji by 2025, with an added food theme park. The state-of-the-art Toyosu facility would then become a distribution center.

Keep in mind, though, that no redevelopment plans have been 100% confirmed yet. We’ll update you when we know more.

The information in this post is subject to change.

This post was first published in April, 2016. Last updated in July, 2018.

Name: Toyosu Fish Market
Location(s): Toyosu,
Places Mentioned

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One Response to “What We Know About the Toyosu Fish Market So Far”

  1. Sony Lindberg June 23, 2016

    I’v actually been to Tsukiji before, not to the fishmarket you’re talking about but to the non-auction area with the shops and smaller merchants, and it was a blast! I had the best sushi iv ever had, there. But then again for $40 (lunch price) and 8 pieces of sushi, it better be really damn good! And it was!

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