Yoyogi Park’s Big Annual Flea Market
Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park plays host to several events every year and on February 28 was the annual flea market with over 800 vendors selling all kinds of merchandise at prices lower than cheap. Flea markets have always been a way for people to sell their old wares because they no longer want them and at Yoyogi Park, it was a whole ocean of tarps with unique products new and old. People were enjoying their activities and selling everything from vintage clothes, kitchen supplies, toys, games, jewelry etc.
Once entering the park, there were stalls selling the typical Japanese fair food: takoyaki, yakisoba, long hot dogs on sticks, and okonomiyaki so that there was plenty to eat while you shop. Then there was the dazzling variety of buyable products spread across the asphalt. Tokyo is famous for being sophisticated and neat with its shops and markets but at this flea market was anything but organized. It was for anyone who could find a spot and spread out a tarp.
There were different kinds of home products in different kinds of places. Vendors would have women’s clothes mixed with men’s clothes and kitchen supplies mixed with antiques. You could find an old sake set or a fancy suit no problem. You could also find things no longer available like videocassettes and boom box stereos.
Some of the antiques available for sale were outstanding. There were dining sets and kitchenware with Japanese art that looked custom for Japanese tastes but for people outside Japan looked fantastic in a kitchen drawer. There were also some tiny traditional nabe stoves with the old-fashioned Japanese teapot. As with a typical store in Japan, if you smiled at the item for sale or talked about it, a friendly vendor would gladly give you a discount.
Handcrafted items were all around as well. One vendor selling small, welded metal people and bookmarks and another selling handmade clothes patches. This flea market not only became a place to sell away old bric-a-brac but also an opportunity for artists and craftsmen to sell their art.
One thing you can find in huge supply at a flea market in Japan is the nostalgia items. Manga characters, comic book superhero toys and merchandise could be spotted in a second. Anyone who wants a Wolverine piggy bank on their shelf or is a collector of Game of Life board games would be in Heaven at this place. For oldies music fans, Elvis and The Beatles merchandise was even for sale.
Of course the market was only one day out of the year and by 3:00 people started closing up. By that time vendors were getting desperate and began giving their unsold items for free.
Within the most populated city in the world, there is bound to be someone somewhere with a lot of junk to sell. Luckily they have this market to haggle and bargain all the unused supplies that somebody else will probably need someday. This is one of the most popular events in Tokyo and invites people from all around to sell what they don’t need or buy something they think looks nice for them. Like the old saying, ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’.