Tokyo to turn famed Tsukiji fish market into conference centre

Morning activities at the landmark Tsukiji fish market following the market's final morning auctions before closing its doors, in Tokyo, Japan on Oct 6, 2018.
Morning activities at the landmark Tsukiji fish market following the market's final morning auctions before closing its doors, in Tokyo, Japan on Oct 6, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - After 80 years of selling fish and seafood of all types, the site of Tokyo's world-famous Tsukiji market will become an international conference centre under plans proposed on Wednesday (Jan 23) by the city authorities.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government wants to divide up the 23ha site near the swanky Ginza neighbourhood into space for international conferences and exhibitions, as well as hotels and restaurants.

The site will first serve as a transportation hub during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The plans are expected to be finalised in March after gathering views from local residents.

Tsukiji - the world's biggest fish market and a popular tourist attraction in an area packed with restaurants and shops - moved in October to Toyosu, a former gas plant a bit further east.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike had suggested the site could be transformed into a kind of culinary theme park, commemorating the market's colourful history.

But she backed off from the idea after business operators at Toyosu expressed strong opposition, according to local media.

 

Opened in 1935, Tsukiji was best known for its pre-dawn daily auctions of tuna, caught from all corners of the world, for use by everyone from Michelin-star sushi chefs to ordinary grocery stores.

The ritual of tuna auctions continues at the new Toyosu market. Early this month, a Japanese sushi entrepreneur paid a record US$3.1 million (S$4.22 million) for an enormous 278kg tuna at a New Year auction.