Toji Temple (West Temple) is the oldest flea market in Japan and one of Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of immense historical significance – it was founded at the beginning of the Heian Period just after the capital was moved to Kyoto in the late 700s. It is a large template along with its unused sister temple Saiji (West Temple).
Every 21st of each month they held the most popular flea market at Toji Temple from the early morning hours until around 16:30 in the afternoon. It transforms the grounds from a peaceful sanctuary to a lively and colorful festival of commerce and trade.
The market is crowded with vendors on the plaza and in the park that surrounded the paid temple grounds. It offers a wide variety of new second-hand goods that attract hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of items: that includes – clothes, tools, kimonos, antiques, pottery, toys, plants and foods, that are all on sale.
Unlike the other flea market in Japan, a bit of good-mannered haggling is common here. Most vendors will offer at least some discount if you ask politely.
This place offers a great place to find all kinds of Japanese street foods and you can go all out as prices are really reasonable. So even if you don’t shop, it is still exciting just to go and enjoy the food.
Going shopping in Japan is a great experience. Not only the pleasure of buying food, clothes and souvenirs but also for the pleasure of experiencing Japanese hospitality. Japanese shop assistants are always very patient. They show you everything, let you try on shoes and clothes and do not lose their temper, even when you decided to not buy that item. And even better, a surprising number of shop owners speak English!
Toji is located in a 15-minute walk southwest of Kyoto Station. The closest rail link to Toji Temple is Toji Station (Kintetsu Kyoto Line), with trains leaving from JR Kyoto Station. From Toji Station, here the market is only a 3-minute walk away. The temple is also within easy walking distance of JR Kyoto Station. From the South Central exit, it can be reached in approximately 15 minutes.
After a long and tiring day of strolling and wandering Toji Temple – Shop at Japan’s oldest flea market, the next thing you would be looking forward is a warm and cozy place to recharge and refuel to be on the go the next day.
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