Photos and videos from first day at new fish market in Tokyo show a very different scene to Tsukiji.

On Saturday, the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world moved from its sprawling 83-year-old complex in Tokyo’s Tsukiji to a brand new facility in Toyosu, roughly 2.3 kilometres (1.4 miles) away.

While many fishmongers were resistant to the relocation, which was deemed necessary by the government due to concerns about fire safety, sanitation and earthquake resistance at the old complex, the move went ahead in memorable fashion. And on Thursday, less than a week after bidding farewell to Tsukiji, the new market at Toyosu began operating ahead of its official opening to the public on 13 October.

▼ Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike was on hand to assist with the festivities.

The first day of business turned out to be a day of drama, however, as a turret truck caught fire at the market at approximately 2:50 a.m., shortly before officials and press representatives were due to arrive on site.

▼ Fire trucks could be heard arriving on the scene before dawn.

Inside the facility, announcements revealed that a turret truck was emitting smoke, and people were asked to head to the first floor for safety.

According to the Tokyo Fire Department, one turret truck was left burnt after the incident, and emergency teams left the scene within 30 minutes without any injuries reported. However, news reports revealed the fire was just one of a number of issues on site in the early hours of the morning, as a woman sustained injuries to both legs after being caught between two turret trucks at approximately 4:00 a.m.

▼ An ambulance was called to the scene to transport the woman to hospital.

Turret trucks and customers move around in close proximity to each other at the market, with this video showing a truck narrowly avoiding an older woman towards the end of the clip.

Following the early morning drama, the day then proceeded with the very first tuna auction at the new facility at 5:30 a.m. Unlike Tsukiji, the fresh and frozen tuna auctions are now held in the same room with a glass partition separating visiting tourists from the bidding vendors.

The highest bid at the first morning’s auction was for a 214-kilogram (472-pound) tuna from Aomori Prefecture’s coastal town of Minmiya, which went for 4.28 million yen (US$38,130.52).

However, news reports showed fishmongers commenting on problems with the new auction room at Toyosu, saying it was warmer and more humid than the auction rooms at Tsukiji.

▼ One visitor measured a temperature of 29.5 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit) in the fourth floor cargo-handling facility.

And that wasn’t the only complaint from fishmongers and their customers, with many expressing concerns about the traffic encountered at the new location, with cars and trucks coming to a standstill around the facility. Many complained that there just weren’t enough parking spaces available at the new market to accommodate customers.

Behind the scenes, there were other problems, as staff worked to fix large pools of water around the complex, which had long been a concern at the market even before it opened.

Workers claim that the drainage at the Toyosu site is insufficient for handling the large volume of water used by market vendors every day.

Still, it wasn’t all bad news, as the complex itself proved to be shiny and modern, with cleaner facilities and a more organised layout that makes it much easier to navigate.

The escalators and elevators around the multi-level facility make it much more visitor-friendly as well.

And when the vendors go to check their mailboxes every day, it will definitely be a world away from their old experience.

▼ Tsukiji mailboxes on the left, Toyosu mailboxes on the right.

While change always takes some time to get used to, vendors are hoping for continued business success at the new facility, and these good luck boats aim to steer them towards a bright future.

And if the smiles on these fishmongers’ faces are anything to go by, the future for the new fish market certainly looks positive. These intermediate wholesalers said they were thankful for the day’s rainy weather, seeing it as “divine protection” from the gods.

In spite of the dramatic events of opening days, fishmongers still have one more day to settle in before the market opens to the general public on 13 October. And then it will be back to business as usual for the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market, in its brand new indoor facility not far from TeamLab Planets Toyosu.

Sources: Togetter, Matomedane (12
Featured image: Instagram/yoshieiloveyou