“The woodcut on the left is by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and the one on the right is by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Both artists are popular overseas,” notes the owner Toshiro Kawamura, who also deals in sagemono accessories traditionally hung from a kimono sash, such as tobacco pouches and inro seal or medicine cases.

Tokyo Revealed
―Treasure Hunting at Antique Markets

Text by Chikako Shimizu

Tokyo boasts an abundance of antique markets selling many kinds of valuable antiques. As fascinating as the diversity of merchandise on offer at the markets are the vendors themselves, who have plenty to say about their wares. Interacting with them is one of the delights of a market visit.

Oedo Antique Market
―One of Japan’s premier open-air antique markets
Those with a sharp eye for antiques vouch for the high quality of this market, guaranteeing a lucky find or two. It takes place on the first and third Sundays at Tokyo International Forum in Yuraku-cho, and about five times a year in Yoyogi Park at irregular intervals. About 250 dealers display merchandise running the gamut from ceramics, lacquerware, folkcrafts, prints, and furniture to fashion jewelry and kimono. Even for non-experts, it’s a fun place to browse.

All the photos shown here were taken at the Tokyo International Forum market. Above is the sidewalk lineup of Korokuten, a shop specializing in vintage Japanese furniture. The market schedule is subject to change depending on the weather and the availability of the venue. When planning a visit, don’t forget to check the website before setting out.

Left: Enjoying a constant flow of foreign visitors is the booth run by Chika Koshida, radiant in her kimono. In addition to kimono, her specialty, she sells kimono accessories like shawls, bags, and zori sandals. Right: Most of these sword guards, each kept in its own wooden box, were crafted during the Edo period. Observes booth owner Kensuke Tansho, “Customers from abroad tend to favor ornate sword guards with inlay work and the like.”

Takahata Fudo Gozare-ichi
―Antique market in an atmospheric temple precinct
Located in a quiet Tokyo suburb about 30 minutes by superexpress on the Keio Line from Shinjuku Station, Takahata Fudoson Kongoji temple is one of the three major Fudoson temples in the Kanto region.

The Gozare-ichi market, first held on the spacious grounds in 1988, was the brainchild of Kaoru Kokune, late husband of current organizer Atsuko Kokune. The name Gozare-ichi connotes a market that welcomes “any and all” vintage goods, from daily necessities to hobby items. Says Kokune, “What’s great about this market is that you can enjoy scenery that varies from season to season within this stately temple while you’re looking around for things you like.” It doesn’t hurt to pay your respects at the temple before you start your search.

Masuo Kumazaki is a lumber dealer based in Gero, Gifu prefecture. Laid out in his booth are countless sake cups, ranging from moderately priced to expensive top-quality. The colorful, ornate Kutani-ware cups make ideal souvenirs.


Oedo Antique Market
Tokyo International Forum ground-level plaza,
3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
9 AM to 4 PM, first and third Sundays of the month
No market from July to September 2020

Takahata Fudo Gozare-ichi
Takahata Fudoson Kongoji, 733 Takahata, Hino
7 AM to 4 PM, third Sunday of the month



2021 Spring / Summer

Inside Japan’s West