Tokyobling's Blog

Boroichi – Setagaya

Posted in Places, Shops, Stuff by tokyobling on December 16, 2012

Back in 1578, the same year the very first Thanksgiving was celebrated in North America, another tradition started in the small village of Setagaya, in what is today central Tokyo. The warlord and daimyo (feudal lord) of Odawara, Hojo Ujimasa, declared that a twice yearly market would be held in the village. Since then the market has never failed to deliver and people still visit there to shop for antiques, food, plants and clothes. The only thing that has changed really is the number of visitors, which today numbers at about 200 000 visitors per day, or 800 000 a year. Not bad for a flea market! I doubt there were 200 000 visitors today though, as the unseasonable cold and hard rain made it bit less than pleasurable to wander through the market. The market is probably one of the best flea markets in Japan and well worth a visit if you are into antiques or plants, or just like browsing and looking around. There’s also plenty of food stalls selling everything from local specialities to kebabs. So if you are free in Tokyo today and looking for something to do, I recommend heading over to the Setagaya! You can get there easily from Sangenjaya station either by the little Setagaya line or you can walk if you have the energy, it’s not too far I think.

Please pardon my photos, it was nearly impossible to get anything half decent with solid white skies, rain pouring down and people jostling around me while trying to keep my camera under my umbrella. I’ll just write this post’s photos off as a total failure and post something nicer tomorrow. Sorry! If you were there and got some nice photos please share in the comments! Oh, and if you are planning to go there today to take photos, please note that many of the stall owners don’t like to have their stalls photographed. It might be best to ask before you snap away!

















Sunday Antique Market

Posted in Places, Shops, Stuff by tokyobling on October 31, 2011

Perhaps it is time for a useful post? People sometimes ask me to recommend things to do in Tokyo and one of the ideas I usually give is the Sunday antique markets. There’s a whole bunch of them all around Tokyo most Sunday afternoons, the only trick is to figuring out which one is on at which time. I have a few favorites, the markets at Ueno Shinobazu Koen, Yasukuni Shrine, Togo Shrine, Hanazono Shrine and this one, at the Yurakucho Internationl Forum, for example, the Oedo Antique Fair (大江戸骨董市). Yesterday on my way somewhere else I passed through the weekly market and had time to take a few photos. I agree – terrible photos and nothing creative here at all. Just some snaps to show you what it looks like. Next time I go I’ll try to get some nicer shots of the actual antiques.

There’s a useful, although incomplete list of craft fairs, antique markets and flea markets on this web calendar, in Japanese only. And one more similar calendar here. Fun trivia – in Japanese the word Flea and Free is written exactly the same in Katakana, leading many Japanese to believe that the term “flea market” is actually “free market”. So don’t be surprised if someone talks about “free markets”.

Also, if you are into antiques and in Tokyo in December, don’t miss the Heiwajima Antique Show, the oldest antique market in Japan, December 16, 17 and 18 this year.

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