Koubou-ichi Market


Today is my first full day in Kyoto and I’m out the door at 7am to visit the flea market that’s held every month at Toji Temple. “The flea market is affectionately known as “Kobo san,” in honorable reference to Kobo Daishi. Since his death occurred on the 21st day of the month, it has become a tradition to hold a memorial service for him on the 21st day of every month. Eventually, merchants appeared to cater to the many pilgrims who flocked to the temple at these times and before long this evolved into the flea market we see today.”


The market is interesting because of the wide range of stuff that’s for sale. There are vintage textiles, ceramics and hair combs, but also new merchandise and trinkets for those looking for a deal. Pickled vegetables are piled high (bottom left) and a piles of fabric fill the pathways (bottom right).



Red silk (above left) is very expensive. I manage to find a good size piece for 400 yen. To the right of the market, there are flowers and plants for sale (above right).



I stop for some sugared dried fruit (left) and I’m also tempted by the roasted garlic (right). It smells delicious and mixes with the incense in the air.



There are many stalls selling bundles of pine (bottom left).



I’m shocked by how inexpensive things are. I realize that the markets that I’ve been going to in Tokyo are extremely overpriced. I find some good examples of boro fabric and I imagine that one piece will be priced at 13,000 yen like I’ve seen in Tokyo, but when I ask the seller, she says it’s 2000 yen and the other 1000! That’s about $30! I take both! My booty pile from the market (left) and details of the boro (right).




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