Boroichi Fair in Tokyo
Setagaya is home to one of Tokyo’s largest flea markets, the Boroichi Fair ボロ市.
The fair is named after the long street the market takes up, Boroichi-dori, which runs between Kamimachi station and Setagaya station.
The market is held twice a year, in December and January, for two consecutive weekdays.
Locals claim the market has been around for more than 400 years, although the items sold have changed over time.
Now, the Boroichi Fair is the best place to find hidden treasures at affordable prices.
Kokeshi Dolls こけし
Vintage Kimonos 着物
Over 700 booths line Boroichi-dori, and each stall is worth looking into.
The Boroichi Fair is very different from a mottainai fair, where vendors sell their used junk to avoid waste.
The vendors at the Boroichi Fair are selling quality items, whether they are traditional wooden toys like kokeshi dolls こけし, or vintage kimonos 着物.
The price is generally very low, kimonos can be found for as cheap as 1,000 yen.
Of course, the items are not in perfect condition but a price that low cannot be beat.
Haggling or bargaining is not a custom in Japan and might be frowned upon.
Be sure to check all the stalls or accept the already very low price.
Despite the cold weather, the market gets very crowded.
The fair still remains a local event, with most of the sellers and buyers residents of Setagaya ward. Despite its short distance to Shibuya, Setagaya has remained under the tourist radar.
The suburban neighborhood is sleepy for most of the year, except the Boroichi Fair.
For four days in December and January, over 200,000 people crowd the streets to find a hidden gem. The streets can get very crowded so be careful not to lose any items or accidentally run into someone.
Daikan Mochi 代官餅
A fair isn’t a celebration without street food.
Unlike the fried Osaka-based foods popular at summer festivals, the Boroichi Fair leans towards hearty and warm fare.
Soups are a popular and healthy option or noodles for a heartier meal.
Along the traffic street, many restaurants open their doors and sell their food to go.
The fair is a good introduction to Setagaya’s local cuisine, some of which have been around for a long time.
Daikan mochi 代官餅, a freshly pounded dessert topped with red bean or roasted soybean powder, is a once a year specialty sold at the market.
There are break tents and resting areas where visitors can sit down and enjoy their meal outside of the hustling crowds.
Amazake 甘酒 is a popular winter beverage that can be found in the gloved hands of everyone at the Boroichi Fair. The fermented rice drink supposedly has strong health benefits.
Despite its resemblance to sake, there are two types ,alcohol and non alcoholic.
If you choose the non alcoholic , safe for children to enjoy.
All 700 booths sell different items and within a wide range.
Some booths might be hosted by a pair of local grandparents or by a nearby boutique.
The original point of the fair, back in the 1500s, was to sell old garments and used tools.
This is still the case, as most of the booths sell used traditional or modern clothing, like fur coats. Now, about half of the booths sell new or slightly used items.
Kitchenware is popular, especially traditional Japanese kitchen equipment.
Wooden miso soup bowls are stacked up next to pristine chopsticks and utensils.
One of the most popular items sold are traditional objects.
Visitors can find trendy dolls from the Showa era to vintage ema from previous zodiac years.
The Borochi Fair is the perfect place to pick up a one of a kind souvenir while also supporting a local person or business.
The Boroichi Fair runs from December 15th-16th and January 15-16th from 9AM to 9PM.
- Tokyo Met. Setagaya-ku Setagaya1chome