No one does flea markets like the Japanese. We had a wonderful time at the Kitano Tenmangu shrine’s flea market the last time, and vowed to visit at least one whenever we’re in Japan.
Gems such as vintage kimono, antiques, and delicious street food are always available at flea markets, and they aren’t available at tourist-y shopping areas.
I may or may not have planned this trip around a flea market’s schedule.
A large flea market at the Tō-ji Temple is held every month on the 21st, but as my sister and I were in Kyoto at the beginning of the month, we managed to drop by the smaller market that is held on the first Sunday of each month. The temple is only a short 15-minute walk from the Kyoto station.
The 21st of each month is the day for “Kobo-san”, which is a flea market run to honor the anniversary of the death of To-ji Temple’s founder, the Kobo-Daishi Kukai. The Kobo-san market, which has run continuously for 700 years, is visited by around 200,000 people each time! Within that are even regular visitors who come from Tokyo via Shinkansen. – Japan Monthly Web Magazine
After a eating our way through the market (breakfast IS the most important meal of the day after all), we perused the market and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at just about everything we came across! We bought the entire inventory of handcrafted obi clutches from a stall, just because they’ll make such lovely gifts!
Cheryl has converted me into a fan of oden, a Japanese winter soup, and in turn, I’ve turned my sister into a fan as well. The one at the Tō-ji Temple Flea Market (¥500) is THE BEST we’ve come across. So delicious and full of umami that we went back for seconds.
(I’m drooling as I type this)
If you’re looking for unique, one-of-a-kind and handcrafted souvenir, I highly recommend visiting flea markets in Japan.
This article provides a comprehensive list.
Be prepared to bring lots of cash and space in your tummy!