I have written an article regarding the move from Tsukiji to Toyosu for AFAR magazine. It lists some of the shops and restaurants in the new Toyosu Market and more about the move. This post is about the issues that came up today.
Toyosu Market, replacing the historic Tsukiji Market, opened today, Thursday, October 11, 2018, for its first official business day. Naturally there will be some growing pains as everyone learns their way around the market. The reaction was mixed amongst the workers and customers coming to buy seafood and produce. There are a mountain of issues, too many to cover, but here are some of the pressing concerns:
- Access. While Tsukiji Market is conveniently located in the heart of the city near Ginza and is accessible with two subway lines. The new Toyosu Market is on an island that must be accessed over a few bridges. Public transportation is via the monorail or limited bus service. The monorail is not only expensive it is inconvenient to access. Many vendors expect what used to be a 15-minute commute will now be over an hour. Today there were big problems with traffic. Some truck drivers said it took over two hours to get into the market. Another commuter said it took him over an hour just to exit the parking lot. A major road accessing the market, Kanjo 2-go Sen, is not completed so traffic is rerouted around. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.
- Parking. It is estimated about 40,000 people came to Tsukiji Market, both workers and customers. There is not nearly enough parking spots in the new market.
- Cold chain. The new Toyosu Market is supposed to be cold-chain-temperature controlled but today the fishmongers shared on social media of temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity high enough that mold could grow, today reported at 75%. There are no dehydrators in the market. This is not an issue for the seafood but there is concern for the building and equipment molding.
- Contamination. Toyosu island is polluted with contaminants and already there are issues with water drainage not working properly and water overflowing on site. This is a safety concern for the workers for walking or driving through the water. There is also a major concern about the safety of the water and if it is clean or contaminated.
- Lighting in the tuna auction. An 8th-generation tuna vendor commented that the overhead lights in the tuna auction room are LED and that it is hard for the tuna buyers to get a true sense of the color of the tuna. He added that the temperature of the auction area is hotter than it should be.
- Logistics. Several issues with the design of the buildings. The vendor space for some shops are too small and overflow boxes are being put into the roads meant for the turrets to drive around creating a traffic jam within the market. Some of the slopes are too steep for turret drivers to drive up without possibly having product fall off their turrets. Some of the roads within the market for turrets have curves that are too sharp.
For tourists, it will open on Saturday, October 13th from 10 a.m. There are 70 retail shops and 39 restaurants. There is very limited viewing of the seafood and produce market. Regarding the tuna auction access will be given based on reservations made through the internet. The first day of public viewing is not until January 15th, 2019. This space is right next to the tuna auction area. There is a different window overlooking the tuna auction space that opens from Monday. This is on the 2nd floor looking down onto the auction. Access for tourists is only via public transportation via the monorail or buses.
The Tsukiji Inner Market is already being torn down and is scheduled to be used for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a transportation hub. Most likely buses will be used here for parking and staging as it is located near the Olympic Village, several venues and near downtown Tokyo. Following that nothing has been confirmed.
As for Tsukiji Market, the Outer Market is still open for business. The first few days after the Inner Market closed down and started its move to Toyosu, the Outer Market was like a ghost town. Tsukiji Market is in the heart of the city and worth visiting. Plenty of restaurants and shops. There are 60 seafood and produce shops from the Inner Market who have opened a branch in a newer market area called Tsukiji Uogashi. Please come and visit!