The Toji Temple Flea Market is a truly authentic Kyoto antiques market on the grounds of Toji, a temple built in the 700s during the Heian Period. The flea market is only held once a month on the 21st, so we were encouraged by our professors to make the trip to Southern Kyoto to experience it.
Rising bright and early on a Sunday morning is never ideal, but it was definitely worth the grogginess to get to the temple at 8am to beat the crowds. I have never seen so many priceless antiques, handmade artisan crafts, and delicious food all in one place! It was such a treat to experience the bustling market, taste the food (I especially loved the yakisoba wrapped in egg), and attempt to communicate and bargain with the vendors using what little Japanese we have learned so far.
I personally have quite the weakness for ceramics and couldn’t resist purchasing some beautiful handmade mugs and tea cups. The artisans themselves were there selling their work, and they all seemed so humbled and grateful that I had taken a liking to their pieces. It really makes a difference to personally buy something from the craftsman who made it by hand, and it was extremely rewarding to be able to ask them about their work.
It is a shame that the market only comes around once a month. I’ll most definitely be planning any future visits to Kyoto to coincide with a flea market date!