The shouts of a tuna buyers and sellers kicked off trading Thursday at Tokyo's new fish market, days after the world-famous Tsukiji market was shut down following 83 years in operation.
Around 900 businesses moved from the old market, a popular tourist attraction, to the new site on the waterfront in Toyosu, about 2 kilometres south-east of Tsukiji. The new market's opening was delayed by two years as the city dealt with soil and air contamination and other problems at the site, which used to house a gas production plant.
The old market is to be torn down to make way for a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The decision to relocate the market was controversial, with strong opposition from workers. In addition to the pollution issue, Toyosu is less central than Tsukiji, which is within walking distance of the Ginza area, known for its luxury shopping and upscale restaurants.
The market was open only to wholesale buyers on Thursday. The general public will be invited to the 40-hectare site starting on Saturday.
The old rituals were performed on opening day at the sparkling new facility, with the bell sounding for the market's famous pre-dawn tuna auction at 5:30 am. The top tuna bid was for a 214-kilogram fish caught off northern Japan that sold for 4.28 million yen (38,000 dollars).
A viewing platform overhead allows visitors to watch the daily spectacle. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. The first day was met with traffic jams on surrounding roads, while local media reported a delivery vehicle caught fire and a woman was injured after being hit by a pallet truck.
is/ch (dpa, afp)