|Tsukiji Honganji Temple|
Tsukiji is a huge market, which deals with 8,800 tons of fish, vegetables, and fruits a day. It’s surprising that that amount is traded just in a day for satisfying the demand of people in Tokyo. The other day, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced that the Auction Hall of Tsukiji market is going to move to Toyosu, a bit to the south from where it is, on the 7th of November 2016.
I thought it’s almost the last opportunity to enjoy the present market atmosphere that has lasted since the Edo period and decided to visit there. My sister and I met at Higashi-Ginza station and had a half-day tour going around Tsukiji like foreign visitors.
First of all, we headed for Tsukijii-Honganji temple. It’s a branch temple of Nishi-Honganji, a Jodo-Shinshu sect of Buddhism, which is located in Kyoto. At first sight, you may be surprised to see its peculiar appearance. It’s quite different from authentic Japanese temples. It’s more like the Indian style.
The round shaped roof of the temple represents the linden leaf, which is one of the very important symbols of Buddhism because Buddha is believed to have reached Enlightenment while he was meditating under a linden tree. Moreover, in the center of the leaf you can see a lotus flower motif, which has a significant meaning for Buddhism. Lotus flowers bloom beautifully in muddy water, it represents that your life can bloom beautifully even if you are in muddy water, a metaphor of suffering of lives.
Tukiji market is divided into two areas; one is the Auction Hall and the other is Jogai-ichiba, or the shops of allied traders. Jogai-ichiba is a huge shopping arcade. There are many small retailers lining narrow streets and they sell small portions of fish, vegetables, fruits, and a variety of processed goods.
At a corner of Jogai-ichiba, there are some dining areas. Inoue, a ramen shop, is one of my friend’s recommendations, so we decided to have lunch there. Inoue is a standing bar style ramen shop. People are eating a bowl of ramen at a simple table extending onto the sidewalk. It seemed that it would take some time to reach a bowl of ramen because many people were waiting in line in the narrow street. However, we’ve already decided to eat there, so we went to the end of the line.
---To be continued---
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