A cheapo’s paradise, flea markets in Tokyo are awesome 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.
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 secondhand kimono or yukata for just 1,000 yen? How about a 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 more.
Here’s our pick of top Tokyo flea markets.
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Also known as Tokyo City Flea Market, this is one of the biggest and most popular flea markets, with around 600 vendors. Unlike a lot of the other flea markets, it also has a regular schedule.
Where: Ohi Racetrack, Shinagawa (it’s near Oikeibajo Station).
When: Every Saturday and Sunday, 9am-3pm
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.
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 more about clothes recycling here.
Where: It moves around Tokyo. The lion’s share of markets occur at the Ikebukuro Station West Park (that dodgy concrete area), and Akihabara UDX, with other markets at various parks.
When: 10am-4pm-ish, Saturdays or Sundays.
Say “Yasuku naranai?“ when you want to say, “Won’t you make it a bit cheaper?”
Many hapless cheapos search for the famed Shinjuku Nomura Building Flea Market, but it seems to have stopped operating back in 2005. Luckily this one 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).
Say “Ni-ko kattara, waribiki arimasuka?“ when you want to say, “If I buy two, is there a discount?”
This Tokyo flea market has around 200 vendors. Apparently good 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 Park, at the back of the Metropolitan Government Buildings (near Tochomae Station).
When: Around once every two months. Saturdays, 10-3pm.
Say “Ni hyaku en, dou desuka?“ when you want to say, “How about two hundred yen?”
Say “Kibishii desune“ when you want to say, “You’re tough/strict” (you drive a hard bargain – say it with a smile!).
Punted (by the organizers) as being the oldest and most famous antique fair in Japan. 280 dealers. Held five times a year. They don’t only sell antiques—you can find much of the same kind of stuff as you would at a regular flea market.
Where: Ryutsu Center Building, 2F (in front of Ryutsu-Center Station on the Monorail line).
When: 5 times a year. Held over three days each time. Check the website (in English!) for dates.
Say “Okane ga tarinai!“ and look sad when you want to say, “I don’t have enough money!”
Yoyogi was long home to of Tokyo’s oldest and most hipster-ish flea markets. 800 vendors, all peddling second-hand 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 (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, fair trade goods, tasty meals and handmade crafts.
Where: The paved space just across from the park itself, near the NHK buildings (near Harajuku Station).
When: Sundays, usually once a month … maybe.
Why all the uncertainty? The flea markets are run by a bunch of different groups and NPOs, so it can be confusing trying to figure out what’s going on, where. Also, if the weather is foul, the 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). Your best bet is to check the websites (using Google Translate to help, if necessary) before making any plans!
This website has a schedule for flea markets in the Tokyo and Saitama areas.
TRX (Tokyo Recycle) is another big site with great maps, calendars, and details on each market.
And here’s a good one for antiques.
If you’re around in December-January, don’t miss Setagaya Boroichi—a designated cultural asset and a flea market that’s been going strong for over 400 years!
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