The History of the Tsukiji Market

The Tsukiji Market is one of Tokyo’s most significant landmarks, representing both the biggest wholesale fish market in the world and the biggest wholesale food market of any kind. If you’ve ever eaten sushi or any other kind of seafood in Japan, it most likely can be traced back to Tsukiji.

The genesis of this important fish market goes back to 1657. An event now known as the Great Fire of Meireki wrecked havoc on Edo, which was at the time the capital of the nation. Over 100,000 citizens were killed, with many others displaced from their homes. Over the years, the Tokugawa shogunate worked on rebuilding the capital, declaring that new land should be reclaimed from the sea. This new land was called Tsukiji, or “constructed land”.

The Tsukiji land attracted many fish merchants and people looking to the sea to rebuild their lives. Over time, it became a spot where foreigners would enter Japan. The fish industry thrived on this location, and it grew into the international phenomenon that it is today.