The Impact of Tsukiji Fish Market on the Local Economy

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Nestled in Tokyo's glamorous Ginza district, Tsukiji is not just the beating heart of Japanese food culture but a glamorous icon of globalization. While it’s the go-to spot for visitors and locals in search of some fresh, fabulous seafood, it also has a bigger impact on the larger economy of the area. 

And not only that. Tsukiji Fish Market has a real influence on the global economy. When it comes to the seafood food chain, Tsukiji Market is at the top. 

Let’s talk about the local economic impact of this market, how its relatively recent move to a new location changed the game, and touch on the way the Tsukiji Fish Market influences the larger seafood market worldwide, too.

But First, Some Background…

Oh, the tales Tsukiji could tell if fishmonger stalls could talk! Founded way back in 1923, Tsukiji Fish Market wasn't always the bustling hotspot we know and love today. 

Following the Great Kanto Earthquake, which left much of Tokyo in ruins, the city's fish markets were consolidated into the Tsukiji district. A choice that would shape the city's culinary destiny, wouldn't you say?

Back in the days of the Edo period, Nihonbashi was the heart of fish trading in Tokyo. But as the city grew, a new, organized market was needed. Tsukiji Fish Market became the solution. Designed with grand arches and a series of specialized sections, it symbolized modernity and function, embracing both heritage and new trends.

The Inner Market was where the real action happened: tuna auctions, bustling wholesalers, and fish as far as the eye could see. And the Outer Market? A vibrant retail area with food stalls, restaurants, and shops to delight both locals and tourists.

The market quickly became a central hub for seafood in Japan, connecting fishing ports with the nation's growing appetite for fish. Thanks to Tsukiji, Bluefin tuna, sea urchin, and all manner of seafood found their way from the sea to the center of Tokyo.

Tsukiji Fish Market was, in essence, a microcosm of Tokyo itself: a blend of tradition and innovation, a meeting place for all walks of life, and a gastronomic paradise. It stood as a testament to Tokyo's resilience, creativity, and culinary prowess. Now, that's history worth sinking your teeth into!

Tsukiji Fish Market: A Powerhouse of Local Economy

This bustling market generates jobs like no one's business, providing livelihoods for thousands of local fishmongers, wholesalers, and other related professions. It also supports the careers of local restaurants throughout Tokyo and Japan at large by providing a central location for the world’s best sushi chefs to find the perfect ingredient for their next omakase.

But providing a wild amount of professional opportunities isn’t the only way in which Tsukiji supports the local economy. It also generates a lot of tourism. From guided tours to impromptu visits, the market lures travelers from around the world, filling the city's coffers time and time again. 

Whether you’re looking for a spot at the world-renowned tuna auction or just want to try some of the best seafood you’ll ever experience, there are many reasons to visit this thriving market while you’re in Tokyo. Commercial real estate, too, owes a tip of the hat to Tsukiji. The market's demand for space and related businesses creates a ripple effect that boosts property values in central Tokyo.

Last but not least is the educational impact. From local culinary schools to research, Tsukiji serves as a living textbook. Chefs, students, and scholars frequent the market to learn and derive inspiration. It's an education in flavor, business, and culture.

Tsukiji's not just feeding you; it's feeding an entire local economy!

The Big Move to Toyosu

Before we talk about how this move affected the economy in the area, let’s get back to some background. In 2018, this iconic marketplace packed up its scales and headed to its shiny new home in Toyosu. But this wasn't just a quick jaunt across town or a temporary change. It marked a significant transformation for Tokyo's seafood trade.

Why the move, you ask? Tsukiji's facilities were aging, and the bustling hub was strained to its limits. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, with an eye on modernity and efficiency, decided it was time for an upgrade. So they readied Toyosu, a state-of-the-art facility located just over two kilometers from Tsukiji's original site.

Covering 40 hectares, Toyosu's new market is nearly double Tsukiji's size and features cutting-edge technology, including advanced refrigeration. It offers designated areas for tuna auctions, wholesale business, and seafood processing. Tsukiji's beloved intermediate wholesalers found a new home here, continuing to serve as vital links between the fishing industry and restaurants.

The transition wasn't without controversy. Concerns about soil pollution at the new site, the cost of the move, and a sense of loss for Tsukiji's rich history fueled debates and emotions. But progress waits for no fish, darling!

Toyosu also opened its doors to tourists, offering observation galleries to watch the auctions and a plethora of dining options to savor fresh sushi. The design reflects a balance of tradition and innovation, embodying the spirit of Tsukiji while embracing the future. While Tsukiji will forever hold a place in Tokyo's heart, Toyosu represents a new era for Japan's largest fish market. 

The Impact of the Market’s Move to Toyosu

Restaurants and Retail Shops

Oh, honey, the move to Toyosu wasn’t just about the fish. It stirred up a culinary frenzy, with new restaurants and boutique shops popping up like mushrooms after the rain. 

Visitors eager for a taste of Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market found themselves feasting on more than just sushi. The retail scene thrived ,too, with local entrepreneurs seizing the opportunity to offer unique goods and souvenirs, adding some extra sparkle to Tokyo's economy.


And let's talk about the tourist magnet that Toyosu became! Tsukiji’s move was a siren call to travelers from across the globe. The bluefin tuna auctions became a must-see spectacle akin to New York's Broadway shows. 

Local tour guides found new life, curating experiences that showcase Tokyo’s rich seafood culture. The influx of tourists helped fill the city's coffers with precious tourist yen.


When Tsukiji packed its bags for Toyosu, it wasn't just the fishmongers who had to adjust. The whole transportation network in central Tokyo got a makeover. 

Taxi drivers became local experts, ferrying eager tourists to the new market with anecdotes to share. Buses sprouted new routes, and even Tokyo’s Metro rolled with the changes. Think of it as Tokyo's version of a conga line, leading straight to Toyosu!

Real Estate

And, darling, the real estate! The move was like a magic wand waved over Toyosu’s industrial landscape, transforming it into the Belle of the real-estate ball. 

Developers and investors rushed to claim a dance, resulting in new housing complexes and commercial spaces. Property values soared in Toyosu and neighboring areas, making real estate the next big catch after bluefin tuna.

In essence, Tsukiji's move to Toyosu was the talk of the town in Tokyo, reeling in more than just fish. Tsukiji's impact on central Tokyo was fabulous and profound, from dining to shopping, sightseeing to commuting, and housing to investing. It's a tale of transformation, sweetie, and it’s all about the economy.

Tsukiji's Global Economic Influence

Honey, Tsukiji isn’t merely a seafood market. It's basically the fishing industry's answer to Wall Street. Because the seafood caught and sold in and around this market doesn’t just supply the area with fresh, high-end seafood. It’s flown in from all over and exported to a wide variety of places.

Because of this, Tsukiji Market effectively sets seafood prices worldwide. If prices go up here, you’ll likely feel the pinch everywhere else in the world, too. From bluefin tuna to sea urchin, the fish market is the central wholesale market where prices are not only determined for Japan but ripple across the entire globe.

Europe, America, or Asia — Tsukiji's touch is everywhere. The fish market is a nexus for international seafood trading, involving over sixty countries. 

Tsukiji' is practically a poster child for globalization, with seafood export values touching billions of dollars annually. You won't just find Tokyo's sushi chefs here. You'll meet buyers from New York's finest seafood restaurants to London's trendiest sushi bars.

Bidders from around the world jostle to get the best bluefin tuna, with the action beginning as early as 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time. The largest tuna ever sold here, a whopping 278 kg Bluefin, was auctioned for an eye-watering $3.1 million.

A Fish Tale Like No Other

From influencing the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's policies to setting the stage for the Olympic Games, Tsukiji is more than a market. It's a cultural icon, a gastronomic giant, and a beacon of globalization. Not to mention, when it comes to seafood, it’s basically the center of the world!

From the inner market to the outer market, from the Toyosu Market to the biggest fish market in the world, Tsukiji is a story of style, substance, and seafood, as timeless as the city it calls home.


Tuna Sells for Record $3 Million in Auction at Tokyo’s New Fish Market | Reuters

Identifying Neighborhood Effects Among Firms: Evidence From Location Lotteries Of The Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market | REITI Discussion Paper Series

The Great Japan Earthquake of 1923 | Smithsonian

History of the Tokyo Fish Market | The Toyosu Shijou

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