Restaurants, Roads, Rats: How has Tsukiji changed after the fish market move?

Our reporter investigates.

Earlier this month, the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market said farewell to its Tsukiji location in Tokyo after 83 years, relocating to Toyosu, roughly 2.3 kilometres (1.4 miles) away.

Since then the Toyosu Market opened on 11 October, grappling with a number of issues on its first day, as market vendors opposed to the move attempted to continue sales at the former site while Tokyo braced itself for a possible influx of rats escaping from the cracks and crevices of Tsukiji.

So how has Tsukiji changed since the move? Has the area turned into a ghost town with rats scuttling by on quiet streets or is there little difference here in the everyday? Curious to find the answer to these questions, our Japanese-language reporter Takashi set out to talk to the owner of one of the nearby restaurants, Hinaiji Dori to Sakana Dokoro Niconico Tsukiji.

Takashi: It’s been about two weeks since the Tsukiji Fish Market move. Have things changed around here since then?

Well, it was the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market that moved, so there’re noticeably less people around. However, Tsukiji’s Outer Market is still operating, so it’s not like Tsukiji has become totally deserted. There are still people coming here from inside and outside the country. 

Takashi: I could sense that as I was walking around. The amount of foot traffic here really has reduced, but it’s still lively around here, isn’t it?

Yes, I think people who live in Tokyo and who’ve been to Tsukiji will understand this, but the move doesn’t mean that Tsukiji will disappear. There’s still fish and sushi here at the Outer Market, so I’m hoping things will become better once people realise this, because there are people who are mistakenly thinking everything is dead around here now. 

Takashi: It’s a weekday today, so that’s probably why there aren’t a lot of people around here at the moment. But would you say there’s been

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