The History of the Tsukiji Market

For hundreds of years, the biggest name in the Japanese seafood industry has been Tsukiji Market. This historic market is one of the most important fixtures in Tokyo, serving as the primary location for the Japanese people to buy and sell their fish.

The history of the Tsukiji Market goes all the way back to the Great Fire of Meireki in 1657. This was a devastating wildfire that swept through many residential zones, driving the residents out of their homes. In need of a place to put all of the displaced people, the Tokugawa Shogunate set aside a piece of land bordering Tokyo Bay. With the easy access to the sea, the unfortunate settlers were able to feed themselves and reclaim their livelihoods by becoming fishermen. They needed to reclaim a portion of the land from the bay itself, which served as the site for their new fish market. They called this market “constructed land”, or “Tsuki-ji”. The market flourished, and has stood as a crux of global seafood ever since.