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Tsukiji - Fish Market -

It is said that "Uogashi" or a riverside fish market dates back to the 16th century, the beginning of the Edo period. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun and builder of Edo as is now Tokyo, invited fishermen from Tsukudajima, Osaka and gave them a privilege for fishing in order to let them supply seafood to Edo Castle. The fishermen purveyed fish to the Castle and sold the remains near the Nihonbashi bridge. It was the origin of Uogashi. Then, to meet the growing demand for fish with the increase in population, Nihonbashi Uogashi was reformed and developed into a market. The market was lead by wholesale merchants licensed by the Shogunate who bought fish from local ports, sold them to jobbers in the market and thus built up a large fortune, forming their own distributing network. Vegetables markets handling vegetables gathered in the suburbs of Edo were established in Kanda, Senju and Komagome: the Edo's three big vegetable markets. The markets attained prosperity led by wholesalers and jobbers like fish markets. During the Edo period the market price was determined chiefly by negotiated transactions between sellers and buyers. Public auction was hardly taken place except in vegetable markets. In the Meiji and Taisho eras, the privilege of wholesale merchants were abolished. In 1923 some 20 private markets in Tokyo were destroyed almost completely by the Great Kanto Earthquake. After the earthquake, Tokyo City as it then was undertook to construct a central wholesale market on the bases of the Central Wholesale Market Law which had been promulgated in the same year. As a result, the three markets of Tsukiji, Kanda and Koto were founded and the growing population then led to a succession of new markets.

Central Wholesale Market

Central wholesale markets, established by local governments under the Wholesale Market Law, sell fresh foods indispensable to out daily life such as fish, vegetables, fruit, meat and flowers. It is difficult to store perishable foods for a long period as the spoil easily. In addition, the production of perishables is greatly affected by natural conditions such as the weather, so the price is subject to greater fluctuation than other goods. So the wholesale market, standing between producers and consumers, promotes the smooth distribution of perishables and contributes to stabilization of diet through the fair and speedy transactions between wholesalers and jobbers in the clean and functional facilities. There are 88 central wholesale markets in 56 cities in Japan: markets for fruit and vegetables, 54 for fish, 19 for flowers and 10 for meat.

Tokyo's Wholesale food market offers many different kinds of food products from all over Japan and all over the World,and accordingly it has become a major distribution center. Most of the perishable food products reach the consumer via the wholesale market. The wholesale market sanitation inspection station carries out monitoring,testing and inspecting of food products at this food distribution center ,and it prevents the general distribution of bad food products.The inspection station was established to make sure that those living in Tokyo have a safe and plentiful supply of food.

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