On the old Ōme Highway, just outside of Ōme Station, daruma are sold in mass at the nearly 200-year-old Ōme Daruma Market.
What are daruma?
Daruma are round Japanese dolls designed to represent the founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma. Every year, people purchase dolls and fill in the pupil of one of their eyes (the right one) with black and make a wish. When that wish comes true, they fill in the left side. Once the daruma have completed their purpose, many take their dolls to shrines at the beginning of the year to set them alight.
You can even throw your daruma on the pyre if they haven’t fulfilled your wish — that’ll show them — but you still need to fill in the eyes.
As well as stalls that are open from 1:30 p.m. until the evening, you can also watch daruma being burnt on the precincts of Sumiyoshi Shrine (a 3-minute walk from the station) — look out for a free gift if you offer up your own daruma doll.
How to get there
Ōme Station can be reached directly on the Chūō Line from Tokyo Station in under 1.5 hours and from Shinjuku Station in around an hour.