The Tsukiji fish market, the world’s largest and one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist sites, was the scene of a major fire on Thursday. Dozens of firefighters have battled a blaze. The fire was in Tsukiji’s “outer” market – an area packed with informal restaurants where tourists can feast on fresh seafood plates and sushi.
The fire broke out just before 1700hrs local time (2300hrs GMT). There were no immediate reports of injuries or people trapped. Clouds of smoke billowed into the air as efforts to put out the flames were hampered by the area’s narrow streets and tight-knit buildings. Five buildings were said to have been destroyed.
The Tsukiji “inner” market, where most seafood wholesalers are located and tuna auctions are carried out at dawn, was not affected.
Tsukiji draws tens of thousands of visitors a year to its warren of stalls laden with exotic species of fish, huge tuna and fresh sushi, part of a tourism boom that is a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic plan.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.