Searching for Treasures in a Tokyo Flea Market

Something I have been wanting to check out since we moved to Japan are the numerous markets that are put on almost every weekend at various spots around the Tokyo area. However, summer in Japan is unbearably hot and humid, and I decided that spending hours just idly walking around a large outdoor market was best left for cooler weather. Well, all of a sudden it’s October and when I saw an article pop up on my Facebook feed about the best markets to visit over the weekend I decided it was a great time to go check one out.

The market I chose to go visit was the Oedo Antique Market that is held at the Tokyo International Forum once or twice every month. I am almost finished unpacking our house and am starting to decorate, so I was hoping to find something to put in our new place that would add a little local character to our basic, plain home.

The Tokyo International Forum was an easy train ride from Yokosuka, just about an hour, and you can actually see it from the train platform, which makes the likelihood of getting lost less, thank goodness for small mercies. But after exiting the train station another sight caught my eye that made my heart flutter just a bit and my eyes fill with tears… a real American hamburger chain!

OMG. How did I not know there was a Shake Shack in Japan?! I swear I heard angels singing when I saw this. 

Obviously Japan has so much delicious food. Every street is filled with restaurants selling sushi, tempura, ramen, yakitori, curry, and the list goes on and on. But, a good American hamburger is not something that is easy to come by here, and, honestly, it is one of the foods from the US that I miss a lot (honorable mention also goes out to Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, restaurants with a good Sunday brunch, and basically anything from Trader Joes). Unfortunately, the line for getting a hamburger, and shake I suppose, was pretty long and I decided I would come back one day when there was not a huge market going on. Farewell for now, burgers.

Ahem, anyway. After I resigned myself to the fact that I did not need a hamburger I walked around the market to see what goods were being offered. One of the most common items I saw was pottery, specifically small plates and bowls (my kryptonite).

Must have self control… Do not need more bowls!
Oh so tempting… I mean I need plates to eat, right? RIGHT?

As much as I love pottery and all things dining related. I passed on these. My kitchen is pretty small and I need to downsize my current collection of small bowls and plates before I add to it. But just like the hamburgers, I will be back to buy some pretty little plates to serve sushi on!

Another very popular item being sold were kimonos and the fabric sash (obi) that is tied around it. Stalls had piles and piles of them and people were just going through them looking for one that caught their eye.

Various obi sashes and other miscellaneous pieces of fabric. Be prepared to dig!
There were some expensive kimono, but many were under $10. A great bargain!

Something I was looking for was a picture to hang up, and I was hopeful that there would be some cheap(ish) pieces of artwork for sale.

This poster caught my eye. However, it was about $160, which is more than I cared to spend on a movie poster… especially a movie that I don’t really like (too long, too racist…). 
This stall has some gorgeous prints, some of which had dates from the early 1800s on them. However, they were also a wee bit more than I wanted to spend. Bummer.
Besides prints, many of the shops had lots of vintage postcards and other little trinkets with images on them. 

So I kind of struck out with finding a cool print. However, there is another place I plan to go check out maybe later this week to see if they have anything. I did enjoy the people watching here, and there were lots of very interesting finds.

This jacket looks very warm, and elaborate! I am not sure PETA would approve of the goods being sold at this booth though. 
There was lots of fabric at this market, so beautiful!
Need a tea kettle? I know where you can find an old one 🙂

Even though the market didn’t have exactly what I had been imagining for our house, I didn’t leave totally empty handed. I spotted a basket of fabric pieces on my second walk around that all had the same color pattern.

My big purchase for the day!

The fabric reminded me of an idea I had seen here, on Pinterest, and I think it will look pretty cool on one of our many blank walls (townhouse problems…). Who knows, it may end up being a #pinterestfail, but I’ll give it a try!

One thing I was disappointed with about the flea market was the lack of food vendors. I assumed there would be people selling food as well, since street food is so popular here, but the Shake Shack was the only option around! Boo. While browsing I saw a sign pointing to Tokyo Station (not the same train station I had gone through to get there) and remembered a long ago thing I read about an underground ramen street there. This sounded intriguing enough to check out so off I went. I got pretty lost trying to find it, but once there it lived up to it’s name. There was a whole underground network of ramen shops.

Yay for ramen, and signs in English!
My chosen ramen shop, mostly because the line wasn’t crazy long. 
Success! Nom nom nom.

All in all, not such a bad outing. I will for sure check out some of the other markets around town, and definitely go back and eat at Shake Shack!