Tuesday, June 22, 2021

In Tokyo: The Ohi Racecourse Flea Market

IF YOU’VE visited Japan’s capital city, I’m pretty sure Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Omotesando and Tokyo’s popular districts were ticked off your list. In these areas, the shopaholic in you wasn’t denied. You had a good Japanese serving of shopping for luxury items from the boutiques or the lower-priced pre-loved shops, beauty products from the convenience outlets, and from the specialty stores, the yukata, kimono, geta and more. The ramen was tastier after a good day of shopping, wasn’t it?

Tokyo is filled with shops— big and small, contemporary and quaint, selling the most interesting items. I believe these hold the power to have you wield your credit card. Willpower is the key otherwise extra luggage will be called for.

You got your shopping covered? I think not. Let me direct you to another interesting shopping destination in Tokyo. It’s just one of the many scattered around the city that pops up during the weekend—the Ohi Keibajo Flea Market. This I just found out myself because my host took me to one.

The flea market is located at the parking area by the 1950-built racehorse track, Ohi Keibajo. It’s said to be the mother of all flea markets in Tokyo and one of the biggest in Japan. It got its name after its location, but it’s also known as the Tokyo City Flea Market.

It is reported that the market can host 600 booths. The number gives you an idea how much time you may need to scour the whole area. An entire day is a good estimate. I planned to stay for three hours max but ended staying the whole day. The Takoyaki stand was the source of sustenance to see me through the exploration.

The scene in the parking area is as Japanese as it could get—disciplined. Each seller occupies a parking space set-up their goods like it would be displayed in a store, making it easy to spot what may interest the buyer. Not one goes beyond the boundary. There is respect for space and beauty of order.

I particularly love the station wagons that transforms into a pop-up shop. It’s pretty much like the food trucks but these sell pre-owned goods.

This is a gold mine where everything for sale will be another man’s treasure. Spread across the expansive covered and open spaces are items the seller wishes to part with — pre-loved, if you want to call it as such — ranging from home decors to toys, clothes to kitchen implements, dinnerware to accessories to furniture, vintage goods to a few antique pieces.

For a fraction of its original prices, you can bag great traditional Japanese finds. Toy collectors will have a field day with the display of Godzillas and Ultramans that come in various sizes. There’s the Kokeshi and Kewpie dolls, too.

Chefs and would-be cooks can snag knives and whetstones, artists can take home calligraphy implements, tea lovers the most interesting pots and bowls, dinnerware for the gourmand, antiques for the collectors. At Ohi Keibaho Flea Market there is something for everybody.

Better believe it. My intention was only to take photos but ended up buying something.

Oh, I chanced by another flea market. That’s another story.

Where: 2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku 140-0012, Tokyo.

When: Saturday and SunDay, 9AM-3PM

To get there: 3-minute walk from O-i Keibajo Station or 10-minute walk from Ekaigawa station (Keihin Kyu-ko Line)

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