Setagaya Boroichi: The Grand Pooh-bah Of All Flea Markets

I’d heard about the Boroichi Flea Market for ages, but never made it to one until today. Yikes, it filled every street and alleyway for BLOCKS! In classic flea market style, there was loads of crap studded liberally with actual finds, but I think I can pretty much guarantee that somewhere within this maze you can satisfy your burning desire for…

Porcelain head pillows

Porcelain head pillows

Enormous bobble-head tigers

Enormous bobble-head tigers

Kokeshi dolls

Kokeshi dolls

Demon masks w/ nose slings

Demon masks w/ nose slings

Soulful cat purses

Soulful cat purses

Kimonos of yore and not-so-yore

Kimonos of yore and not-so-yore

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, gas masks, 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!

The Setagaya Boroichi Market is every January 15-16 (so there’s still time for you to go tomorrow, if you’re reading this promptly!) and if you miss it this time, they have another one December 15-16, just in time for holiday shopping. Admission is free, and it’s open from 9:00 – 21:00. If you’d like to go the next time you’re in Japan, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback.

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something

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