Tokyo's Legendary Tsukiji Fish Market Has A 'Ninja' Rat Problem

As officials plan to move Tokyo's famed fish market, they'll have to deal with a major rat problem

The source of much of the world's greatest sushi fish, Tokyo's sprawling Tsukiji fish market is getting ready for its move this coming fall to a larger, more modern facility. While the plan to move the market—which trades upward of $20 million on a given day and hosts the famed tuna auctions where a single fish can fetch more than $1 million—has been in the works for more than a year, officials are just starting to tackle one of the most unsavory parts of the relocation.

Officials are investing nearly $200,000 or 22 million yen into exterminating a large rat population that lives in and around the market. According to the BBC, the rats are nicknamed "ninja" rats, because they pop in and out of sight with ninja speed. To help control the population after the market moves, 83,000 glue traps are being given out to local families and businesses.

Though the news might put you off your lunch, keep in mind that Tsukiji is the source of fish at restaurants like Sukiyabashi Jiro (the restaurant featured in Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and three-Michelin-starred Masa in New York City. So clearly fisherman and fish sellers have devised ways to keep the rats away from their product. The market's new location, which is on a man-made island, should help keep the rat population at bay.

Find Masa here, or in our DINE app.