Tokyo Flea Markets – The 10 Best
Tokyo's not all about the new. Discover the best of the old with our guide to the top 10 flea markets the capital has to offer.
Japan is a country that prides itself on being the height of modernity. One quick glance around the skyscraper-lined streets of Tokyo and you’re unlikely to see anything but smartphones and the latest fashions. But cast your net a little wider than the towering department stores and you’ll discover a whole world of second-hand, vintage and antique castaways in one of Tokyo’s flea markets.
If you’re watching the cash, your carbon footprint or simply adore pre-loved goods, you’ll want to drop in on one of the numerous flea markets which can be found across the capital every weekend. With the second-hand trend only just taking off in Japan, you’re bound to find the most wacky souvenirs, unique outfits and biggest bargains. Venture off the beaten track and discover our pick of the top 10 flea markets in Tokyo.
Tips & Japanese Phrases
It may surprise you to hear that in spite of the generally reserved attitude of the Japanese, flea markets are still filled with the back and forth of bartering. Seasoned bargain hunters and newbies alike should take a look at our tips and learn some basic phrases so you can rummage the stalls like a pro. While some vendors speak some English, you might even get your hands on a better bargain if you can impress them with your Japanese.
– Bring cash (and change if possible). While change is a much sought after thing in most countries, paying with a 10,000 yen note for a 100 yen snack won’t even get you a second glance in Japan. If you’re short on change, just pop into a convenience store before heading to the markets.
– Double-check whether the market is on before turning up. As the majority of flea markets are outside, they are canceled in the case of rain. The dates may also change at random if it is a smaller or less regular market.
– Barter, but don’t overdo it. Markets are the perfect place to pick up some great souvenirs at tiny prices. But remember, a bit of playful bartering is fine, but be sure to not cross the line into rude or disrespectful.
– Turn up early. I know getting out of bed early is not necessarily your priority at the weekend, but it’s the best way to avoid the crowds and get first dibs on the best bargains.
– Learn some of these handy Japanese phrases!
|いくらですか？||Ikura desu ka?||How much is this?|
|割引はありますか？||Waribiki wa arimasu ka?||Is there a discount?|
|ちょっと高いですね。||Chotto takai desu ne.||
It’s a bit expensive, isn’t it?
|安くなりませんか？||Yasuku narimasen ka?||
Could you lower the price a bit?
|いつの時代のものですか？||Itsu no jidai no mono desu ka?||What era is this from?|
|(xx) 円にしてもらえませんか？||(xx) en ni shite moraemasen ka?||Would you accept (xx) yen?|
|嬉しいです。||Ureshii desu.||I’m really happy with my purchase.|
|ありがとうございます。||Arigatou gozaimasu.||Thank you very much.|
1 – Tokyo City Flea Market – Ōi Racecourse
Best Buys: Cheap second-hand clothing.
One of the capital’s largest and most renowned flea markets is the Tokyo City Flea Market, just a short walk from Tokyo Bay. Held every weekend over several floors of a multi-storey carpark at the Ōi racecourse, the market’s 400+ stalls overflow with unwanted treasures of every kind. Thanks to its semi-covered location, this is one of the only markets that sometimes still goes ahead on rainy days (if the rain isn’t too heavy).
Whether you’re on the lookout for used clothing and accessories or Japanese trinkets, you’re sure to find a bargain here. Top it all off with a visit to one of the food stalls – kakigōri (shaved ice) on a hot day or okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) for a filling snack.
Every Saturday & Sunday
09:00 – 15:00
+81 3 3763 2151
2 – Oedo Antique Market at Tokyo International Forum
Best Buys: Knick-knacks.
The Tokyo International Forum grounds are no stranger to creative events. The most regular of these is the Oedo Antique Market which takes place every first and third Sunday of the month.
The market tends to attract a local crowd with its 250 vendors displaying antiques from far and wide: Japanese fabrics, crockery and old furniture, as well as Russian dolls, Indian posters and European knick-knacks.
Don’t hesitate to pop inside the Tokyo International Forum itself to check out their exhibitions, artwork, shops and restaurants. On the look out for more exhibitions and cultural activities? Have a look at the Top 14 Tokyo Museums.
1st & 3rd Sunday of month
09:00 – 16:00
+81 3 6407 6011 (some English)
3 – Kichijōji Art Market
Best Buys: Unique paintings and crafts.
Kichijōji is perhaps most celebrated for the hopelessly romantic Inokashira Park, which is also home to the popular Ghibli Museum. On your walk to the park through Kichijōji’s winding streets you’re bound to stumble across a row of stalls exhibiting handmade and recycled arts and crafts. Artists painting along the street results in an unlikely but welcome taste of Montmartre in this little district of western Tokyo.
Plan the rest of your day out to Kichijōji with our Kichijōji Area Guide.
Saturdays, Sundays & holidays
09:00 – 18:00/19:00
+81 4 2247 1210
Official Website (Japanese)
4 – Yoyogi Park Flea Market
Best Buys: Vintage clothing.
Thanks to the neighboring Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Yoyogi Park has become a parade ground for young fashionistas flaunting some of the most daring trends, from cute Cosplay to punk rock. It, therefore, goes without saying that the Yoyogi Flea Market attracts a fashion-conscious crowd, which not only makes for good shopping but also for good people-watching.
Unfortunately, the Yoyogi clothing market is no longer a regular event and now takes place just a few times a year. This schedule includes the dates of the Yoyogi clothing market and is updated every year. Even if you don’t make it to the clothes market, there is something to be found at Yoyogi Park almost every Sunday, including antiques markets and events celebrating cultures from around the world.
Of course, Yoyogi Park is worth a visit whether you’re there for the markets or not, so have a read of Our Full Guide to Yoyogi Park and finish your day with a trip to nearby Shibuya for the Best Restaurants and the Hippest Bars.
Fourth Sunday of the month
08:00 – 16:00
+81 3 6407 6011
Yoyogi Park Events site (Japanese)
5 – Shinjuku Hanazono Jinja Shrine Market
Best Buys: Small pieces of furniture and collectables.
An unlikely but increasingly common setting for flea markets in Tokyo is on the grounds of temples and shrines. One of the largest shrines and, in turn, one of the largest flea markets in Tokyo is Hanazono Jinja Shrine near the Kabukichō district of Shinjuku.
Although the market takes place every Sunday, the first and third Sundays of the month are the best weeks to go for the biggest turn out of market stall holders. Second-hand goodies on offer include beautiful vintage furniture, affordable kimonos and traditional Japanese paintings and scripts.
06:30 – 15:00
+81 90 2542 0291
Shinjuku-sanchome Station (Exit E2)
6 – Yokohama Kimono Market
Best Buys: Kimonos and yukata.
There is no souvenir more beautiful or Japanese than a traditional kimono. But rather than paying through the nose for a new kimono or yukata (a lighter kimono worn in summer), get your hands on a vintage one from the Kimono Market in Yokohama.
The event takes place in the 100-year old Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, an impressive structure worth a visit in itself, found along the city’s southern coast. Whether you’re here to rifle through the array of beautiful, patterned materials or just pass by on a visit to Yokohama, it’s not one to miss.
If you’re not here for the dates of the Yokohama market, the same organisers also run kimono markets in Asakusa, Ginza, Kamakura and Kyoto.
Arrive into Yokohama worry-free with our Yokohama Station Travel Guide.
A few times a year
Official Website (Japanese)
7 – Yasukuni Shrine Antique Fair
Best Buys: Japanese pottery.
If you’re looking for antiques that you can’t find back home, the Yasukuni Shrine Antique Fair won’t disappoint. A wander around the 150 stalls is on par with a museum visit thanks to the spread of antiques dating back to the early 1900s. As one of the lesser known markets, you can enjoy a quiet stroll around the shrine’s grounds admiring traditional pottery, picture frames and Japanese fans.
While you’re in the area, pop over to Kagurazaka for some Japanese traditional culture, festivals and some unrivaled French charm and cuisine.
Every Sunday (Closed during cherry blossom season in April)
06:00 – 16:00
+81 90 2723 0687 (Japanese only)
Ichigaya Station or Iidabashi Station
8 – Takahata Fudoson Gozare-ichi Temple Market
Best buys: Traditional decor items.
Jump on a train for 30 minutes west out of the busy streets of Tokyo to the peaceful Takahata Fudo Buddhist Temple. A beautiful temple worth a visit in itself, every third Sunday of the month the complex is flooded with 120 stalls selling antiques of all kinds.
The name of the market says it all: Gozare-ichi literally translates to “as long as it’s old then anything goes”. Stock up on 1940s furniture, Japanese toys, tableware and vintage kimonos.
Every 3rd Sunday
07:00 – 16:00
+81 90 3314 1994
Takahata Fudo Station
9 – Setagaya Boro-ichi Christmas Market
Best Buys: Christmas presents.
Flea markets aren’t a recent invention, in fact, the Setagaya Boro-ichi Market dates way back to the 16th century, thus holding the title of Tokyo’s oldest. Its name, boro-ichi, literally means “rag market”, the stalls originally being piled with rags and farming tools. The tradition continues to this day with the sale of antique farming instruments, second-hand material and clothes, as well as children’s toys, Japanese dolls and food stalls similar to those found at Japanese festivals.
The enormous winter market sets up its 700+ stalls over just two weekends a year during the Christmas and New Year period, from December 15th – 16th and January 15th -16th. This makes it the perfect time to do a spot of Christmas shopping while munching on a daikon mochi cake, a traditional Japanese snack eaten at New Year.
Every year on January 15th & 16th and December 15th and 16th
09:00 – 20:00
Setagaya Station or Kamamachi Station
10 – United Nations University Farmers’ Market
Best buys: Pickles.
Although not technically a flea market, the weekly farmers’ market at Aoyama’s United Nations University is sure to appeal to any market lover. As well as fresh fruit and vegetables, much of which is organic, there are stalls selling jams, antiques, flowers, furniture and sake. If you turn up peckish, don’t miss the ready-to-eat food, including falafel pittas, Indian curry and pizza, as well as Volkswagen vans serving up hot coffee and bubble tea.
After a wander around the farmers’ market, head over to Omotesando for the Top 14 Places to Visit.
Every Saturday & Sunday
10:00 – 16:00
Shibuya Station or Omotesando Station
Official Website (Japanese)
Want more from Tokyo? What to see, what to do, what to eat and all the vital info? Compathy Magazine has everything you need and more: