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In my previous post about shopping in Tokyo I told you about Harajuku and Shimo-Kitazawa. This time I’ll take you to Koenji and the best kept secret of Tokyo: the Oi Keibajo-mae flea market!
Weeaboo notice: Yes, I know Koenji and Oi Keibajo need lines above the o’s. But my font can’t handle that, so you get an ugly ō in another font and that sucks and… Oh well.
In a relatively quiet area of Tokyo, you’ll find a shopping street with lots of second-hand clothing shops, stretching from metro station Shin-Koenji to JR station Koenji.
Usually I take the metro to Shin-Koenji, to walk trough the shopping street towards the JR, but this time we did it the other way around. Charlotte and I just visited Nakano Broadway on the day we made these pictures, and that’s just one station (or a short walk) from Koenji.
After a few shops you’ll find this gem. Don’t go in there, it’s all very expensive. But do have a good laugh.
As a real Dutchy, I think the items at Tatouage are way overpriced, but the store looks great. And it’s clear that the buyers went to The Netherlands once. Maybe not for this expensive Amsterdam sweater, but at least for the counter!
Also in Koenji: Kiki 1 and Kiki 2, cute shops that look like you just entered a time machine, and got beamed to an 80’s teenagers’s room in the US. Barbies, Trolls, toys and all things pastel.
When I wanted to try on pants in their tiny fitting room (Adidas track pants with buttons on the side in my size and for only 1600¥ (€12,-), minus 30% sale discount, so yes, got them), I was up to my ankles in plushy toys, and my head touched the ceiling. The staff looked at me as if I was some sort of Alice in Wonderland, cooing: “Kawaiiiii!”
Edit, may 2019: BEWARE! Don’t sell your items at Kiki, they will scam you. Read my story here.
The cheapest store in the street
You want dead cheap? Please check this obscure, nameless shop (well, I guess it has a name, but I couldn’t find it…) at the end of the street. Or, beginning, depending on where you start. Close to Shin-Koenji, it is.
It was near impossible to make decent pics: the shop didn’t have a nice finish and the clothes appear messy. But on the hangers, the size is indicated, which is nice. You need to dig but you will find nice items, for cheap.
And then! *drumroll* The coolest, cheapest, greatest place ever for your second-hand shopping: the Oi Keibajo flea market!
This market is held almost every weekend underneath the parking garage of the horse racing tracks. (When it’s raining, it will be cancelled, so check trx.jp before you go. The market is listed as Tokyo City Flea Market. (Or Free Market, because in Japanese the spelling is the same.)
You can get to the market by monorail from Hamamatsucho to Haneda. Get off at Oi Keibajo-mae and follow the crowd.
You have to adjust to the trippy light for a while, but, except for the piles at the very end, it will be fine.
There’s up to 600 stalls. Some are professional vendors, selling drug store items, fake Yeezy’s or ugly “funny” T-shirts. Others are selling everything that came out of grandma’s house, when she moved to the retirement home. (Do they even do that in Japan? Well, maybe grandma just died, but that idea makes me sad.) Anyway, people really want to get rid of their stuff, and sell items for near to nothing.
They sell a lot of clothing at the market, usually tossed on the ground on a bit of tarp, accompanied by a cardboard sign: “All 300¥! (€2,25)” By noon, someone takes a marker and makes that 3 a 1. Everything is now 100¥ (€0,75). And there’s gems to be found!
I found a Gucci blazer for 200¥ (€1,50, and already reserved by Hannah), Champion sweatpants for that same amount, got two vintage designer frames for 500¥ each and this weekend, I dug up a pair of Burberry pants from a 100¥ pile. New York Joe valued it at 3800¥ (€29,-) and paid me 30%. How to get rick quick! Charlotte bought tons of cute dresses. She’s lucky: she fits into Japanese sizes.
Besides clothes, you’ll find other stuff, like hardware. Tons of crappy hardware.
Unfortunately, the strobe flash I got this weekend for 300¥, appears to be dead. But the Instax I bought earlier for 100¥ works just fine after a set of new batteries and a precision repair I could do myself. (I had to push back a wire that was visible on photos.)
A few weeks later I found another Instax, which I’ll probably sell. I also found a Polaroid cam for 500¥ (€3,78), but I haven’t been able to test it yet. Oh well. It’s always better than wasting 6800¥ (€51,-) on the Shimo-Kitazawa one.
And for my inner nerd...
Wanna go? (Of course you wanna go!)
The Oi Keibajo market starts at 9:00 on saturdays and sundays. Please come early, because it’s huge, and by 14:00, the stand holders start packing already. There are toilets and food stands, but I’d recommend you take your own food and drinks, especially when it’s hot. Oh and of course, cash. 100¥ coins, preferably.