Tsukiji Outer Market trying to survive
June 11, 2014
Published on Jun 11, 2014
By The Yomiuri Shimbun
With the relocation of the Tsukiji wholesale market in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, looming several years hence, the adjacent Tsukiji Outer Market, home to many sushi restaurants and food shops, is making strenuous efforts to ensure its survival.
Akio Suzuki, president of Torito, a chicken meat shop, working at Tsukiji Outer Market on Monday in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Tsukiji market has about 80 years of history as a publicly run wholesale market that moved from Tokyo's Nihonbashi district to its current location in the wake of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. The Tsukiji market, known as "jonai shijo," or the inner market, has become a world-class fish market. Whereas in "jogai shijo," or the Tsukiji Outer Market, a variety of shops ranging from those selling food items to cooking tools are open to the public. The two markets have been prosperous throughout the years, together as one.
How will the outer market foster its own unique brand after the Tsukiji market relocates to the Toyosu district of Koto Ward?
"We've been developing our business thanks to demand from those gathering around the [Tsukiji] market," said Akio Suzuki, 66, the third-generation president of Torito, a chicken meat shop that has been doing business in the outer market for about 80 years. "This [the outer market] has something that jonai shijo doesn't have and the two markets have been maintaining a relationship of coexistence and coprosperity."
Founded in 1907, Torito moved from Tokyo's Asakusa district when the Tsukiji market opened in 1935. Since then, the shop has expanded its business with customers, including restaurants that specialize in chicken in the Ginza district. Its bento box featuring teriyaki chicken and stewed chicken coccyx meat is popular among actors at the Kabukiza theater near the outer market.
In anticipation of the Tsukiji market's prosperity, many kinds of shops began gathering at the outer market. They included butcher shops, delicatessens such as those specialized in tamagoyaki (Japanese-style omelet), shops selling cooking implements such as kitchen knives, and restaurants catering to people working in the Tsukiji market, as well as wholesale buyers visiting the market.
There are currently about 400 shops in a roughly 50,000-square-meter area. The outer market is crowded with an average of more than 20,000 visitors a day, including many tourists and company employees working in the neighborhood.
However, the Tsukiji market, which has been attracting customers for the outer market, is planned to be relocated to the Toyosu district of Koto Ward about 2.3 kilometers away. "I was really anxious as the outer market will be left behind here," Suzuki said.
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