Iconic Tokyo fish market to close, replacement design unveiled

Iconic Tokyo fish market to close, replacement design unveiled

World’s largest wholesale seafood market, Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market will be shuttered and move to newer, larger digs
Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market handles approximately 3,000 tons of fish and other seafood per day.

For Tokyo locals as well as visitors, Tsukiji fish market has long defined the heart, soul and, most importantly, the stomach of this hectic metropolis. 

But after 78 years in operation, the beloved Tsukiji fish market will close forever after 2013.  

The Tokyo metropolitan government recently released its design for a new wholesale seafood market set to open in 2014. 

Tsukiji's planned replacement will be larger, but likely not have the same character. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the new market will be located in a few kilometers from the Tsukiji market in a complex in the Koto Ward and spread out over 408,000 square meters of floor space.

That will make it 40 percent larger than the market it’s set to replace. 

As the largest wholesale fish market in the world, Tsukiji is a Tokyo landmark, but has struggled with the increasing numbers of visitors and rundown facilities. 

Tourists arrive before dawn to stand in line for breakfast sushi and dodge careening carts and trolleys that appear ready to run over anyone that gets in their way. 

The morning tuna auction has long been Tsukiji’s main draw, but as further evidence of the market’s infrastructure needs, tourists have been banned from watching the auctions until January 19, 2013, in order to keep business running smoothly. 

The Asahi Shimbun also reported that construction on the new market will begin once the Tokyo government successfully neutralizes toxic substances from a nearby former gas factory.

More on CNN: An insider guide to Tsukiji fish market