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Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market closes its doors


A final tuna auction has been held at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, before it moves to a new site. The 83-year-old market – the world’s largest – has long been a drawcard for locals and tourists.

The Tsukiji fish market, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Japanese capital and the world’s largest wholesale fish market, had its last day of operations on Saturday before it is relocated to a new site 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) away.

The move was prompted by growing concerns about the rundown market’s resistance to earthquakes, sanitation and fire safety, as well as the asbestos used in parts of its structure.

Tsukiji, which also offers vegetables and fruit, has been the hub of Tokyo’s food scene for decades and its many stalls and restaurants have made it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Its early morning tuna auctions, of which the last took place on Saturday, have also been a major draw for visitors from abroad.

The relocation of the market was postponed for almost two years because the new site in Toyosu, in the east of the city, showed some soil and groundwater contamination after being home to a gas production plant. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike gave assurances in September that the site was now safe, but some retailers remain worried.

Critics of the move also say that Toyosu is less central that Tsukiji, which is close to the fashionable Ginza area.

The old market, which covers an area of more than 230,000 square meters (57 acres), will be used as a transport depot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and possibly turned into a culinary theme park after that.

The reopening at the Toyosu site is scheduled for Thursday.

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