Fish market reopens to ‘rude’ tourists


The world’s largest fish market plans to reopen its pre-dawn tuna auctions to tourists in Tokyo next week, an official said today, ending a month-long ban imposed over complaints of loutish behaviour, including licking and hugging fish.

Hundreds of people, mostly foreign tourists, usually flock to Tokyo’s Tsukiji market every day but local authorities called an end to the auction visits on December 15, just before the market’s busiest period of the year.

The market now plans to allow visitors back from January 19, according to the local government, which runs the market with wholesalers.

“We recognise that the auctions are part of the Tokyo scenery and popular tourist attraction,” said a local official, who declined to be named.

Wholesalers had complained about tourists’ behaviour at the market, with some sightseers being caught hugging, licking and straddling fish before the market installed a restricted sightseeing area last year, the official said.

Flash photography also put off auctioneers at the market, the source of fresh sushi and sashimi to top restaurants around the world, he added.

Tourists will now be allowed to visit the restricted area from 5am to 6.15m, while two guards will hand out visiting guidelines to tourists.

Other areas of the market had remained open to visitors during the ban.