January festival: Setagaya Boroichi, the most legendary flea market in Tokyo!

The Setagaya Boroichi is the grand old lady of Tokyo flea markets. It’s so ancient and so revered, in fact, it holds Intangible Cultural Treasure status!

On December 15-16 and again on January 15-16, it fills every street and alleyway for BLOCKS

In classic style, there is loads of crap studded liberally with actual finds.

From lacquer dishes to antique irons, the hidden treasure vibe is strong with this one

This flea market is so vast, I can pretty much guarantee that somewhere within the maze you can satisfy your burning desire for…

Porcelain head pillows
Porcelain head pillows
Japanese swords and accessories (with a strong dose of caveat emptor)
Enormous bobble-head tigers
Enormous bobble-head tigers
Ingenious traditional bird feeders
Gas masks
Kokeshi dolls
Kokeshi dolls
Demon masks w/ nose slings
Demon masks w/ nose slings
Soulful cat purses
Soulful cat purses
Piles of potentially fabulous vintage kimonos for five bucks
Useless but irresistible netsuke
Useless but irresistible netsuke
Life-size pet statues
Life-size pet statues
Traditional molds for the kind of candy that looks beautiful but tastes meh
Traditional molds for the kind of candy that looks beautiful but tastes meh
Oddly disturbing 1940s kewpie figures
Oddly disturbing 1940s kewpie figures
Shinto household shrines made of yukusugi cedar
Shinto household shrines made of rare yakusugi cedar
Hoarder stashes
Hoarder stashes
And of course, military surplus wookie suits
And of course, military surplus wookie suits

Not to mention retro toys, politically incorrect fur things, little plants that will certainly die when you forget to water them, antique school uniform buttons, homemade pickles, antique pruning saws, helium-filled beetles, obi cords, lucky cat teacups, gooey rice cakes on a stick, wooden abacuses, cheap puffy jackets, drinking gourds, and much, much more.

Like all good flea markets, you have to hunt for the gems. Neener, neener, I saw this tanuki tea kettle before you!
Like all good flea markets, you have to hunt for the gems. Neener, neener, I saw this tanuki tea kettle before you!

When: January 15-16 and December 15-16

Hours: 9:00 – 21:00

Admission: Free

MAP

Know someone who’s planning a trip to Japan? If you think they might enjoy this, share it!

And if you’d like to see what else is happening in January, click here:

Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan, the monthly Japanagram newsletter, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s