Will the neighborhood with a name synonymous with delicious seafood survive following the opening of the city’s new fish market?

On October 6, the Inner Market of Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market closed down, bringing to an end its eight-decade legacy as Japan’s most-respected source for delicious sushi, sashimi, and all other types of seafood. But while the Tsukiji Inner Market is no more, the surrounding neighborhood, also called Tsukiji, remains, and we stopped by to see how the district is coping with the loss of its world-famous landmark.

Tsukiji’s replacement, the brand-new Toyosu fish market, started its wholesale operations on October 11, and after swinging by to take an advance look at the facility, we stopped by Tsukiji on our way home.

We arrived at about 2 p.m., and it immediately felt like the wind had been taken out of the neighborhood’s sails. Granted, even when the Tsukiji Inner Market was up and running, most of the wholesale business was done by the early afternoon, but the Outer Market, a collection of shops and restaurants open to the general public, usually had plenty of tourists and shopper milling about. But on this day, the crowds were far smaller than they’d been on our last visit (though there was probably a boost in pedestrian traffic then as people came to say goodbye to the Inner Market).

We decided to stroll over to the Inner Market’s main gate for old times’ sake. Aside from a few straggling wholesalers packing up the last of their remaining belongings, all of the merchants have already made the move to Toyosu, and with demolition work starting that day, not only was there a security guard posted at the gate, but also a sign saying that if any unauthorized visitors were spotted within the complex, the police would be called to apprehend them.

But like we said, the Outer Market, and its restaurants, are still open for business. We can’t help but feel a little worried for them, though. Many of the restaurants have names that include “Tsukiji,” and until last week proudly displayed banners touting that their sushi comes “directly from the Tsukiji market.” With the Inner Market now relocated, will the remaining Tsukiji restaurants see their prestige, and popularity, diminish? Or have all their years competing and surviving in the world’s most competitive sushi enclave earned them enough faith that customers will continue to come even if their ingredients weren’t purchased literally blocks away.

Time will tell, but for now, Tsukiji’s Outer Market is still here, and with the annual Tsukiji Festival scheduled for October 13, hopefully people haven’t forgotten about the neighborhood just yet.

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