Boro-ichi – Annual antique market

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For all those of you who love antiques, and digging through old stuff to find gems upon gems, the “Boro-Ichi” is for you! “Ichi” means market, while “Boro” means old and tattered, or just tattered, or something with a good patina. There is a whole museum dedicated to the beauty of boro called “Amuse Museum” in Asakusa. That place, although quite small by all accounts, is also worth a visit, in my opinion.

I hear people complain a lot that the Boro-Ichi “isn’t what it used to be”, but who cares!? The market is almost 400 years old….so it’s most definitely not what it used to be, right? It used to be a farmers market where locals went to buy and sell used tools and rags to mend working clothes. That is how it got it’s name – boro meaning aged. It was at it’s peak after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 until the 1930’s,  apparently, with something like 2,000 stalls lining the streets – stalls, theaters, food & spectacles abounded. It became not only a place to buy and sell goods, but to see your friends, hang out. Anyone who has been to a Japanese street festival will understand the value placed on hanging tight, sitting on a crate and ceremoniously drinking a beer with some buddies once a year.  In recent years, one can find items from that Golden Age-  a lot of the stalls sell farm tools, old clothing, toys, plants, New Years items, accessories, food & traditional items that have come from the 1930’s.

Go check it out and look for some gems to give them a new life, or to add to your collection. It’s a great place to look for inspiration as well. You also get to ride the adorable little chin chin densha, the Setagaya Line!

The Market happens twice a year- once in December (15th & 16th) and once in January (15th&16th) from 9am ~ 8pm each day. The market can be found at Kamimachi Station on the Setagaya Line.  Here is a map to Boroichi Street, where it takes place. Happy Hunting!

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