FOR SALE: Traditional machiya in Tsukiji, Tokyo

Price: ¥138,000,000 (approx. 1.24 million USD)

A traditional machiya for sale in central Tokyo? In the middle of Tsukiji? And a 4 minute walk to a subway line? Yes, yes and yes. Up for grabs is a 3-storey merchant house near the former Tsukiji Fish Market and just behind Hongan-ji Temple.

The sale is for the land only, with the structure included ‘as-is’. Essentially you are only paying for the land, as it is expected that a buyer would demolish the old building. As such there are no details on the building (layout, size or age). The machiya is featured on the Chuo City website as being a ‘uniquely machiya-type office’, and suggests it may date from the 1930s, about the same time that the fish market relocated from Nihonbashi to Tsukiji.

Is this a rare find? According to the Tokyo metropolitan government, only 1.3% of all existing housing across Tokyo was built before 1950.

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.

However, this is starting to change rapidly as the Tsukiji area undergoes gentrification or, as is more likely, blandification. Some of the older and original merchant houses have managed to survive WWII air raids and land redevelopment, but are growing fewer and fewer in number. The owners of some of the remaining old properties have …continue reading