When you ever get the change to go to Tokyo and do some research on what to do and what to see, it's likely you will find something about the 'well-known' Flea Markets in Tokyo. After some questions to our Japanese friend we soon discovered nobody really knows if or when they were held exactly. We own quite a lot of touristic guides on Tokyo and Japan and surprisingly such markets were mentioned but not with much information. The first thing we discovered that these markets are NOT called Flea Markets but Antique Markets here in Japan. When you know this basic information you can find a lot more information regarding these markets. Most of these markets are held at a local shrine and differ in size and the kind of items they sell. There are also markets who are held in the center of some small town near Tokyo. And by near we mean like one hour by train. We went to the Yamato Promenade Antique far in (of course) Yamato city. It is held every third Saturday of the month. Many other Antique markets use the same method for determining when they are held: monthly on the first/second/third or last Saturday/Sunday. Because there are more than a few it can be very confusing!
The one in Yamato was one of the biggest markets in the Kanto district with about 200 dealers, so we wondered what we would find. After our train ride we soon discovered there was a lot to do in the center of the city. Besides the stalls of many antique vendors or just very old stuff, there was even a little stage for music where someone with an flute sax was playing very nice music! There were chairs in front filled with people who were enjoying the music. We soon began our discovery of the market and were very happy to see that most stuff that was sold was Japanese. You could find anything here you can imagine and a lot of stuff was a treat to even just look at it. They had stuff like samurai helmets, wooden dragon masks, old toys, old woodblock prints, vintage kimono's and very nice wooden statues and furniture. Belief us when we say there was a lot more! Of course Michelle found some vintage Kokeshi for her collection at home too.
After some browsing we discovered we managed to get a little sunburn. The weather was better than expected. We first decided to get some food, but this was harder than we thought. There were a lot of warm dishes but with this heat we didn't want to have a warm lunch. So eventually we bought some sweet bread and something cool to drink and we found a nice place to sit and had a view of the market. It was nice to see all those people go by and see where they stop and browse.
When we finished our lunch we went to the nearest Lawson to get some protection against the burning sun. We bought a spray we saw on television some time ago and like all the sun products it was spy 50+ protection. We guess the Japanese people are afraid to get some color. But it worked, that's what matters! We soon continued to discover the other half of the market (and found more kokeshi!). When we had finished visiting all the stalls we went back to the station to go home from a great day. All we can say is that this market is a great recommendation to all who visit Japan. You can find a lot of unexpected stuff for good prices that make incredible souvenirs.