The traditional machiya-style townhouse in Tsukiji we featured back in February 2019 when it was listed for sale, has, sadly, been demolished. It will be replaced with a 5-story hotel covering the adjoining vacant lots. Completion is scheduled for February 2021.
The merchant house is featured on the Chuo City website as being a ‘uniquely machiya-type office’, and suggests it may have dated from the late 1920s or early 1930s, about the same time that the fish market relocated from Nihonbashi to Tsukiji.
According to the Tokyo metropolitan government, only 1.3% of all existing housing across Tokyo was built before 1950. There are little-to-no enforceable heritage protections, which means historic buildings continue to be demolished to this day.
Tsukiji was largely reduced to rubble and burnt fields following the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, and the area’s neighbourhoods underwent a large re-shuffle. Despite being in central Tokyo, the district largely avoided the major developments that sprung up around the city during the period of rapid economic growth following WWII and the asset bubble in the 1980s. Unfortunately this is changing rapidly as the Tsukiji district is undergoing a massive transformation. Smaller lots are being bought up by developers who are building apartments and hotels. Old shophouses are gradually being sold and demolished. This trend is not slowing and is likely to continue into the future.
The district was listed by the World Monuments Fund on their 2016 World Monuments Watch List. The Fund selected 50 sites in 36 countries for its 2016 list. The Tsukiji district was the only area selected in Japan that year. The district’s early 20th century architecture, which includes small two- and three-story wooden shophouses, is considered to be at risk due to the urban redevelopment that is occurring after the relocation of the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was recently announced that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to convert the former Tsukiji Fish Market site into an international conference and exhibition center which would not be completed until at least the 2040s.