I love flea markets. In my opinion, any shopping event at which I can pick up a pink dress printed with zebras for only ¥500 is a good one.
I dragged myself out of bed on a cloudy Sunday morning, and headed for Shinagawa JR station and the Shinagawa Intercity Flea Markets.
I struggled to find it at first, and it was only by plugging the address into Google maps and following some people who looked like they might also be flea market patrons that I stumbled across it.
Spread across two floors of the otherwise quiet Intercity Shinagawa building, this flea market called to mind the old song about the Portobello Road Markets:
Portobello Road, Portobello Road,
Street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload,
is sold off the barrow on Portobello Road.
Replace ‘street’ with ‘random building’ and ‘chap’ with ‘obaasan’ and it’s pretty much the same thing.
Delicate handmade silver jewellery sits beside jars of buttons. Cream-colored vintage dresses brush against neon teeshirts with Coke logos. Crockery jostles for space with granny-panties and bras. Rows of socks sit perpendicular to magnets shaped like sushi. An annoying motion sensor dog yaps whenever anyone leans past to look at the handbags.
In amongst all the usual flea market flotsam, there were some truly amazing pieces; clothing, jewellery and home wares that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Several times my wallet was nearly tempted out of my bag, and it was only the realization that I’m living out of a suitcase that stopped me from buying a vintage tea set and a whole new wardrobe.
For those who want to set up stalls at the market, registration is by phone (03-3226-6800), and costs ¥3200 for a basic, second-hand goods stall.
For those like me who just want to spend their weekly budget on beautiful dresses and colorful hairclips, the market starts at 10am every Sunday and runs until 4pm. I recommend getting there early, and allowing yourself lots of time to browse through all the wonderful things on display.