In the months of December and January, Setagaya City where we live holds what is called a Boro-Ichi (世田谷ボロ市）which literally translated means Setagaya Junk Market. It’s a big two-day event that attracts a lot of people, as they turn the streets into a massive pedestrian zone of vendors selling everything from sake to second-hand kimonos. Flea markets are very popular in Japan, as people here shop compulsively and second-hand goods are usually very good quality; not the stained up old t-shirts you tend to find in the Salvation Army in the US, but more like high quality suits, shoes, jackets and bags. I didn’t need anything in particular, but I never pass up an opportunity to amble around a market, looking at all the random things you can find, such as…
There was a lot of great old stuff I would have loved to buy, like lovely traditional kitchen items that are generally VERY expensive brand new, but since we have no idea how long we will be in Tokyo, or where we are going next, it seemed prudent not to add another box of stuff to our future shipping.
If you live in Tokyo, or happen to visit Tokyo on the 15th-16th of any month (it is always on the 15th and 16th), be sure to go check it out, not only for quirky shopping, but also because you can try lots of yummy local food as vendors set up takoyaki, yakisoba, beer tables, dango, and a variety of other street food. Vendors also tend to like to try out their English with you and give out freebies to tourists.