beads of dew
when did you sneak in?
On the 21st, Kōbō-san (in honor of the founder) is held at Tō-ji temple, and on the 25th, Tenjin-san (in honor of the enshrined deity) is held at Kitano Tenmangū, a large shrine in northwest Kyoto (entrance on Imadegawa-dōri). Both kick off before 7am and it’s worth getting there early if you’re looking for special treasures. With hundreds of years of history these are the places to buy vintage Japanese cultural items such as kimono, wood carvings, scrolls, ceramic, books, various antiques and so on. The variety is nearly endless. There are also many food vendors. Going is always a lot of fun and some real treasure can be had often at a reasonable price. Unlike Japanese retail stores, you can feel free to negotiate a lower price. The Tezukuri-ichi is devoted to handmade (new) items.
Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
This market is held on the 25th of every month on the grounds of historic Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in the Nishijin area of Kyoto.
There are so many variety of products to buy. Especially kimonos and kimono fabric are very reasonably priced, they are good for displaying as interior or art decorations. There are also interesting antique Japanese ornaments, wood prints, and hand crafts, which is perfect for souvenir of Japan.
when: 25th of every month
time: 7am – 4pm
Kobo-san Market at Toji Temple
This market is held on the 21st of every month on the grounds of historic Toji Temple in the south part of the city, near JR Kyoto Station.
Like Tenjin-san, there are so many variety of products and many more stands for antique ornaments. Things such as Japanese carpentry tools, antique architectural related items such as sliding door handles, roof tiles, wooden carvings and so on may be a little more common at Kobo-san. However every time the vendors have different items for sale.
when: 21st of every month
time: 7am – 4pm
This market, tezukuri-ichi, literally, ‘handmade market’ is held on the 15th of every month on the grounds of Chion-ji Temple in the Hyakumanben and Demachiyanagi neighborhoods near Kyoto University.
Everything sold at this market are handmade products, from food to clothing, to jewelry, to furniture — and more. There are many young artists and craftsmen that participate. Not many traditional Japanese products are offered though, but this market is very enjoyable and the vendors are especially friendly.
when: 15th of every month
time: 8am – 4pm
Tezukuri-ichi at Kamigamo Shrine
This market is held on the 4th Sunday of the month.
Some of the vendors from Chion-ji show up here as well, and they are more spaciously arranged along the little stream on the grounds of the shrine.
Weather: What if it rains?
If it rains on the markets day, Tenjin-san at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and Kobo-san at Toji temple will still be held, but at much smaller scale. Tezukuri-ichi at Chionji Temple will be held on the next day, instead. If 16th was also rainy day, it will be cancelled for the month.
Getting the Best
At all of these markets, prices are negotiable, especially if you go around closing time. However, if you would like to find quality products, it is recommended to go early.