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Tsukiji fish market to stop tourist tuna viewings

20 Comments
By Kazuhiro Nogi

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20 Comments
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I've never had the urge to get up in the middle of the night for the tuna auction anyway.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Really sorry to see this wonderful and vibrant co-existence of the wholesale and retail markets be torn in two. The aging structure could have been rebuilt in place. Putting Toyosu visitors behind windows says it all, I guess.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The aging structure could have been rebuilt in place.

That's probably part of the problem, I'm sure that they need to be able to keep the market open as long as possible during the construction of the new facility. Moving it over once the new place is ready will minimize down time. $14 million a day is a lot of money to lose while you're closed for renovations.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Glad I was able to visit Tsukiji before without any hassle. Until some weird kids started licking the tuna and riding the carts that put several bans in place.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I remember 14 or 15 years ago, we'd been out that night and only had a few hours kip. Up at the crack of dawn and a coffee-fuelled walk to the market. It was quite a sight to behold, sure I'd been to Billingsgate plenty of times but this was a whole new vibe. Tuna caught from as far away as Donegal, all up for grabs.

And post-auction, the onsite sushi/sashmi stalls where you could tuck in for the freshest breakfast in Tokyo.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

And post-auction, the onsite sushi/sashmi stalls where you could tuck in for the freshest breakfast in Tokyo.

Yes - they were great. What happens to all those businesses now? The sushi won't taste the same eaten away from Tsukiji in some hyper-modern joint with no atmosphere.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is a pragmatic move. Tsukiji is a place of work, not a place for tourists to take seflies and lick fish on sale like morons

6 ( +11 / -5 )

And so it goes, and so it goes.

As with so many other things, times change. 'Tis inevitable.

I remember the first time I did Tsukiji, back in '94. Back in the good ole' days. We had been out in the 'Pong all nite, headed to Tsukiji at 4 a.m., did the tuna auction...

And, then, since some of the group weren't in the mood for sushi, we headed back to the 'Pong for a western breakfast served by waitresses in black leather mini skirts!!

Ahh, the memories!!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There are fish markets all over japan. I’ve been to many and in local ones, I can talk to locals. I am a bit famous in one. First, fish in Tokyo is from from polluted Tokyo bay or irradiated Tohoku. Second, you can’t trust the new site for heavy metals.

i recommend to get out and visit big or small fish markets where fish are cheap and fresh.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Tsukiji wasn't just "a place of work". It was one of Tokyo's and Japan's major tourist attractions and was promoted as such in just about every piece of tourist info put out by Japanese tourist authorities worldwide. In the end it was probably a victim of its own success, but it's not as if tourists were forcing their way in and elbowing the market workers aside just so they could lick fish and take selfies.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I dunno. Tourists are much, much worse than they were even 15 years ago. It used to be that people who travelled overseas to exotic locations were people who were interested in learning about cultures. Your basic drink and have fun tourists mostly confined themselves to the usual easy destinations (Mexico for Americans, Spain for the Brits...) Now, with social networks and cheap travel, the clowns are everywhere - and many of them think the world is like one large Disneyland, there for their entertainment. It has taken a lot of fun out of formerly nice destinations.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I'm glad I visited about 20 years ago. The people there were very friendly and helped me with my Japanese. I've seen reports of idiot tourists hopping on moving trucks, touching fish, and even picking up a fish without asking permission. I believe when you're in another place or in someone's house, you respect their space and ask permission. As far as getting up early and watching the auctions, that would be great, but it's important to keep your distance as this is a place of business.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The joy of visiting Tsukiji was dying anyway. I was there several times, the first times (about ten years ago) were the best - friendly people, go everywhere and see whatever you like, just do not be a moron and do not obstruct their business, I really enjoyed it. The last time I visted the tuna auction (in 2016) was the worst. I accompanied my foreign friends who were eager to see the auction. First we had to wait for almost three hours in a waiting room for our turn to enter, and when finally it was our turn, our group (only groups allowed) was escorted by a security staff who behaved as if we were at a top secret military base - "do not come here, do not enter there". We were given a very brief tour (about twenty minutes) and rushed away. We all were very disappointed.

Glad I saw Tsukuji in much happier times. And still coming there sometimes - not for the auction, but for sushi shops around. Umai!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've seen reports of idiot tourists hopping on moving trucks, touching fish, and even picking up a fish without asking permission

Well, the Japanese government made the decision to weaponize tourism as part of its soft power war against China and South Korea. It's a bit rich for people to complain if some of the recruits aren't quite gentlemen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@extanker....

they are doing MAMMOTH re-structuring, re-building, refurbishment, in, over, and around Shibuya station, without, seemingly, disrupting the business of Tokyu, JR, and all the other lines, and the millions of people that pass through and around there.... so I imagine it was logistically possible to give Tsukiji market a makeover.

more about land-value I suspect....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tourists are much, much worse than they were even 15 years ago. It used to be that people who travelled overseas to exotic locations were people who were interested in learning about cultures. Your basic drink and have fun tourists mostly confined themselves to the usual easy destinations (Mexico for Americans, Spain for the Brits...)

I say, if only the proles would confine themselves to Butlins or Benidorm, what?

I think it's great that it's not only the rich who get to see the world now. Thanks to innovations in travel and opportunities out there, some of us ordinary people get to enjoy and in some cases, even live in a different culture.

Not our fault there's a few eejits who'd rather a lager than sigh over a Hokusai.

The market will be back, in some shape or form but it's not the tourists who have ruined it. Rather, perhaps, a factor might be the greed of those who saw make profit out of it?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Excellent. I've seen it myself, and I really don't need idiotic pissed drunk UK tourists licking my fish. So stop admitting anyone with no other business than fish trading there...

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I think it's great that it's not only the rich who get to see the world now. 

It wasn't only for the rich 20 years ago either - in fact, it was probably cheaper in many countries. There was just a mental block, maybe because the lack of internet meant jumping into the unknown and figuring out accommodations and such once you got there. That restricted it to people who were more interested in seeing another culture and more willing to forego the comforts of home to do so. There was no news from home, no TV from home, not much email, no Facebook, no Skype or WhatsApp, few Western restaurants, and calling home was very expensive.

Now, there's not much difference to being in LA, London, Bangkok or Tokyo. Which is fine, except they all now attract people who would have never ventured far from home before, and who are pretty much not interested or respectful of whatever culture they are visiting, except as a backdrop to their selfies.

Certainly, you don't think Benidorm is a great example?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@commanteer, those were truly the days. I often wonder what it would be like to rely on a bit of simple research, a map, and phrasebook...Oh, that's how I still travel!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is no surprise. The constantly changing rules about getting into the tuna auction previously were clearly designed to discourage visitors. I made a visit to Tsukiji some years ago, the vendors clearly resent visitors, one even threw water at me for no apparent reason. I saw the tuna hall after the auction was well finished, had the audacity to take a photo from the adjacent public area and was promptly escorted of site by a security person again for no apparent reason. if visitors are to be allowed then make the rules clear and consistent and encourage the vendors to know that they are allowed and be at least courteous to them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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