When I was planning my trip around the Tokyo area I had an urge to go to a flea market. I guess the last one I went to was during my first trip to Japan, back in 2006, and I really enjoyed it. I figured I might enjoy it even more this time round, with a bit more Japanese behind me (I remember being quite blown away by the first one and feeling a little overwhelmed, although I did manage to buy a kimono).
At first I had trouble finding a listing for one on the specific date I wanted (Sunday 17th April), but then my friend told me about a flea market that was being held in Meiji Park on that day. I don’t have much English information about the flea market or when it is held, just this map that my friend sent me and a mention on Paper Lantern. I don’t know if the flea market is held every week or not, but if you have the chance to check it out I would highly recommend it! (In fact, if you have the chance, check out any flea market in Japan – they’re great fun!) Meiji Park is easily accessible from Sendagaya Station on the JR Sobu Chuo Line. Just cross the street and head towards the huge gym, then you’ll see a park on the other side. I actually saw other people heading in the direction I thought I should go, so I just followed them. I figured they were probably going to the flea market and I was right!
If I had been staying in Japan, I’m sure I would have come away with bags full of “treasures”. However, with each item that caught my eye, I had to think “Can I get this home next week?”, “Will this fit in my suitcase?”. In the case of the huge wooden doll that I fancied, I had to force myself to walk away. It probably would have been considered a lethal weapon had it been in my hand luggage!
Flea markets are really interesting places to just poke around, and you don’t even have to buy anything. I spent a grand total of 450 Yen on two wooden dolls:
Plus 300 Yen on the biggest kakigori I have ever seen in my life:
It was wonderful to eat so much ice on such a hot day, but it took me well over 30 mins and I managed to spill a lot of it because it was basically an ice mountain balanced on a tiny plastic cup. Still, excellent value for money! 8)
Here are some highlights of the photos I took as I was mooching around…
Many people go to flea markets looking for kimono and yukata. Actually, I didn’t see so many at this one, but when I went to the flea market in Kyoto there were piles and piles of them!
I saw a lot of action figures!
People get there early and make themselves comfy for the day. As a customer it’s probably a good idea to get there early, too.
The force was strong with me that day…
Crocodile skin, anyone?
Or a wooden arm, perhaps?
I didn’t expect to find the Mona Lisa! 😉
I really wanted to “rescue” every wooden doll I saw… But I just couldn’t.
I have no words for this next one:
Of course, Kitty-chan was there:
I even found a Buddha (which I really had to talk myself out of buying!):
The whole place was totally packed. People had set up shop next to their cars, or by simply spreading a sheet on the ground. I don’t know exactly how the system works, but I saw a registration desk at one end, and sometimes there were announcements over a loud-speaker which seemed to be about cars and allotted spaces.
It was a really fun morning! If you’re in Japan on a weekend I highly recommend finding a flea market (just do a Google search for the area you’re in, or ask some local friends). It’s a (practically) free way to see some very interesting sights!
The full collection of photos can be seen on Flickr as usual.
This post is an entry for Show Me Japan this week. Don’t forget to check out the others! 🙂