“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo and Juliet

Only a true antiques junkie would find the promise of wonderful flea markets the big consolation prize for moving half way around the world. But what’s a shrine sale? At a jinja? A house of worship didn’t seem like a logical place to hold a bustling flea market.

A jinja (also jingu) is the Japanese word for a Shinto shrine, as opposed to a Buddhist temple (tera, sometimes said dera and the kanji can also be read as ji). Throughout the centuries, markets have been held on the grounds as they were central meeting places.

At the entrance to the jinja stands a large torii or gate, marking the separation of the mundane and the sacred. Shrine sales tend to be held in the outer courtyards and grounds.

The information below is a basic schedule of shrine sales near central Tokyo, as well as some special markets and events in the Kanto plains region.  It is in no way comprehensive and decidedly skewed towards the location of my home. It will appear as a permanent tab at the top of the blog (near the “about me” tab) for ease and convenience. I will be updating and adding to it in the coming weeks, including adding sections on Yokohama and Kyoto. In the meantime, feel free to email me at jacquelinewein[at]yahoo.com with questions.

Shrine Sale and Antique Market Schedule Autumn/Winter 2010

First Sunday of the Month

  • Togo Shrine – 3 min walk from Harajuku station (JR Yamanote line) or a 5 min walk from Jingumae station (Chiyoda line).  This is probably the most foreigner friendly shrine sale because of the convenient location and large number and variety of dealers. I think prices can be slightly higher here.
  • Oedo Antique Market at International Forum http://antique-market.jp/eng/index.shtml See map as there are many subway choices. There is also plenty of parking available.  A very large market, with about 1/3 non-Japanese items in a very convenient and pleasant shady setting.

Second Sunday of the Month

  • Nogi Shrine – Next to Nogizaka station (Chiyoda line). Not held in November. A conveniently located small sale with nice dealers.

Third Sunday of the Month

  • Oedo Antique Market at International Forum http://antique-market.jp/eng/index.shtml Not held in December. See map as there are many subway choices. There is also plenty of parking available. See above for description. I prefer the third Sunday market to the first Sunday market.

Every Sunday of the Month

  • Yaskuni Shrine – 5 minute walk from Kudanshita Station ( Tozai Line, Hanzomon Line or Toei Shinjuku Line) or 10 minute walk from Ichigaya Station (Namboku Line, Yurakucho Line, Toei Shinjuku Line or JR Sobu Line). Parking lot on site. This market varies from weekend to weekend but can be excellent.
  • Hanazono Shrine – 6-7 minute walk from Shinjuku Sanchome station (Toei Shinjuku, Marunouchi lines). An historic market that has really dwindled to very little over the years. Most days I give it the pass, although it is conveneient to stop by if you are already traveling to Yaskuni-jinja.

First Saturday of the Month

  • Patio Street in Azabu Juban – 3 minute walk from Aazbu Juban station (Toei Oedo, Namboku lines). A small sale with about 10 vendors, but easy and convenient to stop by.

28th of every Month

  • Kawagoe, an old castle town 40km north of Tokyo has one of the best shrine sales on the grounds of Narita-san Betsu-in. It  is about 10-15 minute walk from Hon-Kawagoe station on the Seibu Shinjuku line. You can also take other trains to Kawagoe station, which is a further walk. There is parking, but it tends to fill by early in the morning. A very large sale with unusual and high quality dealers. My de-facto favorite!

Other Events

Heiwajima Antique Fair is a huge antiques fair with hundreds of dealers held 4 times a year In the Ryutsu Center.  Expect high quality merchandise (and sometimes prices to match) as well as lots of Western antiques. Tokyo Ryutsu Center station on the Tokyo Monorail–change trains at JR line Hamamatsucho station. Plenty of paid parking  is also available.

  • September 24-26
  • December 17-19