It’s not a secret that Tokyo is a shopping mecca. Wherever you go in the city, there’s always a mall, a local shopping street, specialty stores, or independent boutiques to cater to all your needs. From essentials to souvenirs, you’ll never run out of options. As long as you have the money and the energy to continue browsing, it can be a non-stop activity.
However, one shopping scene that many tourists usually miss out on is the city’s flea market events. Mostly happening during the weekends and held in various locations around Tokyo, these pop-up markets are great places to scour for not just great bargains, but also very interesting and unique finds. If you’re keen on a shopping experience involving lots of interaction with the locals, these are also the perfect venues to do so. Drop by any of these popular flea markets and add on to that shopping haul. However, do check their websites before going due to irregular schedules.
Komazawa Olympic Park Flea Market
Tokyo’s large parks are popular venues for weekend flea markets. This one in the Setagaya suburbs is great for browsing pre-loved items. From clothing to toys, you are sure to pick up high-quality items for a steal.
A tip: Do come in your workout clothes because you just might get the urge to exercise after your shopping spree. The park has numerous sports facilities such as tennis courts, a gymnasium, a cycling course, and an athletic field.
Address: 1-1 Komazawakoen, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Yoyogi Park Flea Market
The flea markets held in Yoyogi Park have the reputation for being the trendiest of them all. It’s not really surprising since Tokyo’s hippest district, Harajuku, is just around the corner. Expect fashionable finds and hipster collectibles. The park also hosts the Earth Day Market once a month. It is a bazaar for organic produce and also a hangout for the eco-conscious crowd.
Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tokyo City Flea Market
This flea market is easier to catch since it is held almost every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM to 3 PM. The venue is at the carpark of Oi Racecourse, where around 300 stalls peddle a wide variety of goods. Expect anything from rarities like Japanese antiques to daily goods like houseware and clothes. There are food stalls, too, so you can enjoy delicious snacks as you shop.
Address: 2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Mottainai Flea Market
Run by a group that advocates conscious consumerism, Mottainai flea markets are events to practice less wasteful lifestyles by choosing to buy second-hand. Most of the items sold here are clothes, but you can also find books, housewares, furniture, and other reusable stuff. The market moves around Tokyo, but it is staged more frequently in Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park.
Address: Various venues around Tokyo
Website: http://www.mottainai.info/jp/event/fleama/calendar/ (Japanese only)
Oedo Kottoichi Flea Market
If you’re particularly interested in antiques, then this bazaar is a must. It is one of the most popular antique markets in the city where you can browse pieces from up to 250 sellers each time. Go through interesting collections of vintage items which include but are not limited to ceramics, paintings, kimonos, war memorabilia, and furniture. Surely, you’ll find a one of a kind souvenir here! Catch it every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at the Tokyo International Forum grounds.
Address: Tokyo International Forum 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Konjaku Kimono Oichi
Planning for a kimono purchase during your trip to Tokyo? Check if this flea market event coincides with your travel dates. The Konjaku Kimono Oichi is a great venue to buy second-hand and/or vintage kimonos. The selection is extensive that you will surely find one that fits your style and budget. Locations vary per event, but generally, it is held in Ginza or Asakusa.
Address: Various venues around Tokyo
Website: http://www.kottou-roman.jp/kimono/ (Japanese only)
Hanazano Shrine Aozora Kottoichi
Sunday strolls at Shinjuku’s Hanazano Shrine are made more interesting by this weekly antique fair. From 9 AM to 6:30 PM, the entrance to the shrine is lined with 25-30 stalls selling vintage trinkets, collectibles, and small furniture, among other things. It’s not as big as the other markets on this list, but its regular schedule and accessible location from Shinjuku Station make it easier to fit in your itinerary.
Address: 5-17-3 Hanazono-jinja, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://kottou-ichi.jp/ (Japanese only)
Aoyama Weekly Antique Market
Another regular weekend market worth checking out is this one in Aoyama Street at the United Nations University (UNU). It has a regular line-up of exhibitors – 70 in total based on the official event website and is held together with the UNU Farmer’s Market. However, do take note that majority of the items sold here are Western antiques. So if you’re on the hunt for Japanese vintage, better look elsewhere.
Address: 5 Chome-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.thejmp.com/ (Japanese only)
Styled after a European flea market, the Akasaka Nominoichi is a festival as much as it is a selling event. On top of the clothes, jewelry, furniture, and many other things to spend your cash on, there are also music performances and mobile gourmet dining to entertain and attract your attention. It is usually scheduled once a month, and as for price expectations, the profile is a bit upmarket since it is held in Roppongi’s Ark Hills.
Address: Ark Hills 1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.arkhills.com/akasaka-nominoichi/ (Japanese only)
Ariake Retro Festival
With schedules every month, the Ariake Retro Festival is a shopping destination for vintage junkies. These literally mobile shops sell anything from pre-loved clothes to old-school furniture. There’s something to pique the interest of any old soul.
Address: Ariake East Promenade Square 3-chome-7 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://mihonichi.com/ariakeretro.html (Japanese only)
Do you want to feel the local shopping vibes in Tokyo? There is a shopping tour in Tokyo to walk around old shopping streets established in 1937. You will be able to visit different kinds of stores to understand Japanese shopping cultures.Shopping street tour in Tokyo (View at Voyagin)
Thumbnail image is from Flickr.