A cheapo’s paradise, Tokyo flea markets are awesome places for bargain-hunting. And there’s no shortage of them—you’ll find something happening in one of the city’s parks or parking lots just about every Saturday and Sunday, as well as some public holidays, throughout the year.
You can fork out wads of cash for fancy souvenirs at soulless stores, or you can riffle through the stalls at one of the flea markets below and find all sorts of awesome (and original) things for a fraction of the price. Keen on a previously loved kimono for just ¥1,000? How about an antique tea ceremony bowl? Secondhand fashion (still seasons ahead of much of the rest of the world) for a few hundred yen? You can also find CDs and DVDs, books, vinyls, coffee presses, random military stuff and much, much more. #cheapowinning
Here’s our pick of top Tokyo flea markets to check out for mind-blowing bargains and good fun. This post is peppered with cheapo tips—keep an eye out for them!
1. Ohi Racecourse Flea Market
Also known as Tokyo City Flea Market, the Ohi Racecourse Flea Market is one of the biggest and most popular markets, with 300-600 vendors. Unlike a lot of the other Tokyo flea markets, it also has a regular schedule. See the video above for what to expect.
Where: Ohi Racetrack, Shinagawa (near Oikeibajo Station).
When: Most, but not all, Saturdays and Sundays, 9am-3pm. Look for Tokyo City Flea Market in the schedule.
Cheapo tip: Say “Ikura desu ka?” when you want to ask how much something is. If that’s the extent of your Japanese, smile and nod when they rattle off a reply in the vernacular.
2. Mottainai Flea Market
A cool little flea market with a focus on secondhand clothes. The organizers hope to reduce wastefulness (mottainai) through their event. You can sometimes also find books, CDS and DVDs. If you’re looking to off-load some clothes of your own, you can do that at some of the venues—read our article on clothes recycling in Tokyo for more on that mission.
Where: It moves around Tokyo. The lion’s share of markets occur at Ikebukuro Station West Park (that dodgy concrete area), and Akihabara UDX, with other markets at various parks around the city.
When: 10am-4pm(ish), Saturdays or Sundays once a month or so. Check the schedule for the next one (use Google Translate if necessary).
Cheapo tip: Say “Yasuku naranai?“ when you want to say, “Won’t you make it a bit cheaper?” Don’t expect too much, though, Japan isn’t exactly a hub of hardcore haggling.
3. Shinjuku Mitsui Building Flea Market
Many hapless cheapos search for the famed Shinjuku Nomura Building Flea Market, but it seems to have stopped operating back in 2005. Luckily, the Shinjuku Mitsui Building Flea Market is still going. It’s not huge, but you can find some good deals.
Where: Shinjuku Mitsui Building, 55 Hiroba (near JR Shinjuku Station, West Exit).
When: Usually one weekend a month. 8:30am-3pm. Check the website for the schedule (in Japanese).
Cheapo tip: Say “Ni-ko kattara, waribiki arimasu ka?“ when you want to say, “If I buy two, is there a discount?”
4. Shinjuku Chuo Park Flea Market
This Tokyo flea market has around 200 vendors and a reputation for “vintage” stuff. In between browsing the stalls, you can nip up to the top of the Tocho Buildings to see the (free!) view over Tokyo.
Where: The Mizu no Hiroba Square in Shinjuku Chuo (Central) Park, at the back of the Metropolitan Government Buildings (near Tochomae Station).
When: Around once every two months. Saturdays, 10-3pm. Check the flea market event page to see when you can expect the next one.
Cheapo tip: Say “Ni hyaku en, dou desu ka?“ when you want to say, “How about two hundred yen?”
5. Heiwajima “Antiques Fair”
Advertised (by the organizers) as being the oldest and most famous antique fair in Japan. 280 dealers. Held five times a year. They don’t just sell antiques—you can find much of the same kind of stuff as you would at regular Tokyo flea markets.
Where: Ryutsu Center Building, 2F (in front of Ryutsu-Center Station on the Tokyo Monorail Line).
When: Five times a year. Held over three days each time. 10am-5pm. Check the Heiwajima Antiques Fair website (in English, yay!) for dates.
Cheapo tip: Say “Kibishii desune“ when you want to say, “You’re tough/strict” (you drive a hard bargain—say it with a smile!).
6. Yoyogi Park Flea Market(s)
Yoyogi was long home to one of Tokyo’s oldest and most hipster-ish flea markets. 800 vendors, all peddling secondhand goods—with lots of recycled fashion. But it seems they have stopped hosting them, or at least stopped publicizing them. Check Yoyogi Park’s schedule page (in Japanese) for the next one, or risk just dropping by the park.
Yoyogi Park also hosts the Earth Day Market once a month or so (this is more reliable), where you can get organic produce, Fairtrade goods, tasty meals and handmade crafts. That’s usually on a Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Where: The paved space (events square) just across from the park itself, near the NHK buildings (close to Harajuku Station).
When: Sundays, usually once a month—in the case of Earth Day Market, anyway.
Final cheapo tip: Say “Okane ga tarinai!“ and look sad when you want to say, “I don’t have enough money!”
7. Shinagawa Intercity Flea Market
This popular flea market can be found in and around the Intercity complex near Shinagawa Station most Sundays of the year. It’s easy to access, chock-full of everything from used clothing to kitchen utensils and electronics, partly sheltered in case of inclement weather, and surrounded by a slew of restaurants. Check out the Shinatatsu Ramen Street while you’re in the area.
Where: Intercity Complex, Shinagawa. The market is a few hundred meters from the Konan Exit of Shinagawa Station.
When: Most Sundays (excluding the latter half of August). 10am-4pm.
8. The “Best Flea Market” (Yurakucho)
This market may not 100% live up to its name, but it’s well worth a visit nonetheless (it’s also sometimes just called the Tokyo International Forum Flea Market). You can expect over 200 vendors, flogging a range of goods as diverse as antiques and home arts and crafts.
Where: The square outside Tokyo International Forum, Yurakucho (1 minute from Yurakucho Station).
When: Usually one Sunday a month. 10am-4pm. You can check the schedule here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).
9. Yasukuni Shrine Flea Market
You may have heard of the small flea market held in the grounds of the controversial Yasukuni Shrine (that’s the one where some of Japan’s war criminals are enshrined). Choice of venue aside, the market is known as a good spot to find pottery and antiques. However, it is currently on hiatus; the market is expected to start up again in November 2019. In the meantime, you can learn more about the history of the shrine and explore the nearby Imperial Gardens on a short DIY walking tour.
Where: Yasukuni Shrine (five minutes from Kudanshita Station).
When: Weekends from November 2019.
Handy resources on Tokyo flea markets
Here’s a schedule for all sorts of flea markets in the Tokyo and Saitama areas. It’s in Japanese, but is super useful to bookmark and translate. TRX (Tokyo Recycle) is another big site with great maps, calendars, and details on each market (also in Japanese). This small flea markets site has a few different listings, and here’s a good resource for local flea markets with a focus on antiques.
If you’re into all things old, check out our Guide to Souvenir Antiques to see what’s on offer at some of the markets (as well as where else you can go for bargain finds). And if you’re around in December-January, don’t miss the Setagaya Boroichi—a designated cultural asset and a flea market that’s been going strong for over 400 years!
Note: If the weather is foul, Tokyo flea markets often get canceled—unless they are under cover or indoors (for example, Ohi Keibajo is outdoor but under cover, and continues in the case of light rain).
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|Name:||Places mentioned in this article|
|Location(s):||Akihabara, Harajuku, Heiwajima, Ichigaya, Ikebukuro, Kudanshita, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Yurakucho,|
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