Flames spread through the world’s most famous place to eat raw fish.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on the evening of August 3, firefighters in Tokyo were alerted to a blaze that had broken out in the Tsukiji district. In recent years, the neighborhood has become a major tourist attraction for both domestic and foreign lovers of sushi and other seafood, thanks to the presence of the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market.


The fire began in a three-story building with a restaurant on its first floor. The structure is located in the Outer Market, a tightly packed collection of shops and eateries open to the general public and bordered by two of the area’s major streets.

Many of the restaurants in the Outer Market open for business early in the morning, and shut down following the lunch rush. While such schedules are inconvenient for those who sleep in and wake up craving sushi, it thankfully meant that there were few people in the market during the fire, resulting in a smooth evacuation and no reported injuries.


However, the flames proved extremely difficult to put out, spreading to a total of seven buildings as the fire grew to 935 square meters (10,064 square feet) in area. Even with 63 fire trucks responding to the scene, it took roughly eight hours until the blaze was completely extinguished.

The damage also resulted in a power outage. Some 90 buildings were left without electricity, including restaurants whose owners were forced to leave behind unpowered refrigerators full of sashimi-grade seafood during the evacuation, and will now have to throw out the spoiled food.

Tsukiji’s Inner Market, site of its early-morning tuna auctions, suffered no damage in the fire.

Sources: NHK News Web, Asahi Shimbun Digital
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