Flea and antique markets are very popular in Tokyo, and on any given weekend — year around — you can find several locations hosting these sales. Many of the flea markets will be set up at various shrines and temples around the city, but you can find them at other locations as well. Our favorite is the flea market at the Tokyo International Forum near Yurakucho Station in the Ginza area of the city. It is set up on the plaza just outside of the entrance to the International Forum every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month.
We started going to this market several months ago in search of Kokeshi Dolls for my collection. The Kokeshi Dolls are wooden dolls that are made by turning wood on a potter’s wheel or a lathe. They have a very simple design without arms or legs, and it is said that they were originally made in northern Japan to be sold at the hot spring onsens (public baths). I have collected several of these dolls, and we often go to the flea markets looking for more dolls. They are really pretty inexpensive, and I like to see the different designs and faces painted on the dolls. Here is a link to Wikipedia if you would like more information:
But the flea markets sell much, much more than just Kokeshi Dolls. There are all kinds of items available — from here in Japan, and from abroad. It is an eclectic mix of items, and I guarantee you will find something there that you like. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is a fun way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in Tokyo. Following are more photos from our trip to the flea market this past weekend.
There are racks full of used silk kimonos, yukatas, happi coats, robes and jackets. Many are handmade, and cost ¥1000-¥2000 or less! ($10-$20)
Dishware — including beautiful ceramics, and cast iron teapots.
Toys, stuffed animals — “Peanuts” and Snoopy are very popular here.
How about old record albums, and posters?
Or… a one of a kind sculpture, mask, or figurine?
And… when you get hungry… There are plenty of food options around nearby.
And one last photo — of the newest addition to my Kokeshi family. Her paint is a little chipped, and the wood is somewhat darkened with age, but she has a lot of character… don’t you think?