[Treasure Hunting and Strolling in Kichijoji] [Shopping at the Market] Edition
What do you imagine when you hear Kichijoji? Despite the fact that the area around the station is mostly full of large-scale commercial centers, department stores and shopping malls, the area is also home to a community of individually-owned shops and shopping alleys with local roots that are tied closely with the lives of its local residents. Kichijoji is a fascinating town, slightly different than that of Shibuya or Shinjuku. Recently it seems that many foreign visitors have now come to enjoy this warm and friendly town, and are visiting in droves.
So if you are curious as to look slightly deeper into Kichijoji, a good idea is to take a look through the many open markets held throughout. How about you enjoy shopping at the many various markets deeply rooted in the local community?
On this edition, we would like to highlight the locally close-knit markets featuring art and flea markets, as well as marchés.
The thrill of discovering that special handcraft art! [Inokashira Park Art Market]
We want to first highlight the [Inokashira Park Art Market] held at the iconic Inokashira Park in Kichijoji. After being regulated in 2007, for over 10 years this art market has long been an event that takes an active part in invigorating Inokashira Park during the weekend. In addition to arts and crafts sold at individual street stalls and booths, you can even enjoy watching the street performance acts held throughout Inokashira Park!
2017 marked the 100 year anniversary of Inokashira Park. This art market has began in 2007 as a part of project to commemorate the 100 year anniversary. Even Hyakusai-kun (means 100 years old, pictured right), the official mascot to commemorate the 100 years came out to liven up the market. (pictured left is Miyazaki-san, from our office at the Management Section of the Tokyo Metropolitan Seibu District Park Office)
So let’s take a look at the art market firmly rooted in the culture of Inokashira Park and continues to take part in the interaction of the local residents.
“Hidamari-san,” who sells handmade postcards, pastel paintings and photo frames, is a market regular, who in addition to emphasizing interaction with fellow members of the art market, also enjoys interacting with the customers passing by.
She is a lover of nature and animals. Besides creating the paintings that she sells, she also enjoys taking photos of the wild birds flying around the park and collecting them in her notebook. This particular notebook is readily available for anyone to read at the store, and well worth visiting just to check it out.
“Raizo”-san who sells mainly wirework handcraft items that are popular today is an artistic man, being that he has another side as a musician.
His wirework miniatures of bicycles and motorcycles are both cute and cool, loved by both men and women, young and old. In addition, there are plenty of souvenir-worthy handcrafts such as wirework name plates and accessories made from foreign currencies, etc.!
Just taking a look around is so much fun.
In addition to offering resin, a popular handcraft material, Catherine-san at “Nekorindo” also offers accessories made from gemstones. I’m particularly in love with a resin-casted pendant embedded with clockwork gears and parts!
Nekorindo also offers gemstone accessories popular with the female crowds, so do take a look.
The “Soukou-Mennetsuke” is a store by artisans, that recreates the “Netsuke” accessories that were highly popular during the Edo period. Netsuke are used to tie valuables such as your wallet to a kimono belt to keep from falling out. In recent years it has become popular among foreign visitors. A traditional handcraft re-evaluated in current times.
This “Mennetsuke” is designed in the motif of a face. Its creator, Soukou-san, is a second-generation Noh mask craftsman.
Although an authentic and antique netsuke from the Edo era can by extremely pricey, you can purchase a netsuke at this store for about ¥2,000. They are reasonably priced and highly recommended as a souvenir from Japan.
“SATOYU*BOX” is a shop owned by Satoyu-san, an illustrator. The shop sells cute and cushy handcraft items incorporating Satoyu-san’s illustrations into covered-button pin badges, knitted earrings and accessories, etc.
There are many fans of these buttons and pin badges with their adorably illustrated characters. So much that they have now become a familiar staple at this art market.
Over here we have “GOSSAN”-san, also a familiar face at the art market. GOSSAN-san crafts and sells toys made from wirework.
For example...we’ve all been kids once and we made a rubber-band gun out of chopsticks right? Well, this is the wirework-version of that. Even more impressive is that its 6-barreled, meaning it can shoot up to 6 rubber bands continuously.
It’s especially popular among kids, and there’s even a moving tricycle available too. It even moves like the real thing! Pretty spiffy huh?
“NICCOT”-san is a handcraft artist that uses yarns in her creations. She places emphasis on creating art that would make anyone smile when they hold it in their hands. And it’s true! These adorable hand-sized dolls using soft and fluffy yarn will definitely put a smile to your face.
“HIRO Workshop” also a regular member to the art market, offers originally crafted accessories using leather, brass, and silver materials.
In addition to engraving your favorite letters to brass bracelets and rings, he sells leather items as well. Furthermore, he also accepts a variety of custom orders for accessories and bags at his usual store.
Since his store is located near Inokashira Park, why not take a look if you’re curious?
Selling traditional Japanese designed pendants is “Sigen-Seisakusyo”, highly skilled due to his previous occupation as a craftsman working for the mint bureau.
The Japanese-style aesthetic seems popular with foreign visitors, and the strange facial expressions are quite adorable.
Over here we have Big Bear-san who crafts and sells “Leaf Art” of insects using only leaves. They are made using palm leaves, but just look at how well they are created!
So detailed that they could start moving at any second, but also very pleasing to the eye. Watching one being made quickly from scratch is definitely worth your time. Also very popular among kids as well.
Here we have “Broom Duster KAN”-san, who has long been a participant to the art market since its beginnings.
Most impressive is that he’s 70 years old! Listen and hear him well as he rips away through his self-made dobro acoustic guitar (with a pot lid to the sound hole) and his harmonica attached with a self-made bullhorn.
In addition, at the art market, there are numerous artists participating including street performers, musicians, magicians, etc. Even more world-famous performers participating here, and being able to enjoy their incredible performances is what makes the Inokashira Park Art Market so special.
Although the schedule for the next event is still undetermined, any new updates will be posted in the below so please keep an eye out.
A flea market rooted firmly in the local region makes way for surprising discoveries [Kichijoji PARCO Rooftop Flea Market]
We love flea markets because they are in essence a gathering place for locals to mingle and interact. The [Rooftop Flea Market] held on the rooftop of the Kichijoji PARCO department store located right in front of Kichijoji station is one such locally-rooted flea market.
Due to the rooftop location, it’s usually held on Sundays and holidays during the spring and fall seasons (you can see the dates from the following link). It’s especially great that it’s held every week during the season. Another feature is the large number of independent pop-up stores. As the name suggests, the atmosphere is like that of a garage sale or flea market, making for someone of a kind discoveries!
I found a great find too (laughs). So now let’s take a look at this flea market!
A family-run pop-up store that stands out with their colorful fashion style. They are here today to sell off the clothing they have hoarded a little too much, and are offering a variety of distinctive items and children’s clothes.
Over here we have La La Maison who was selling handmade accessories. A local resident.
And over on this side we have a first-time pop-up, offering casual streetwear.
Another local resident from the area, decided to open at the market only yesterday off the cuff. That is another great thing about this flea markets. You can just casually join in on the fun.
Over here we have a pop-up offering sneakers, outdoor fashion and some interesting toys. Another first-timer as well.
Looking around, there seemed to be a great many number of shops and booths selling women’s apparel. Not to mention, the visitors seemed to be largely made up of women.
Over here is “UNIKUM”-san who makes and sells handmade accessories. The most popular item here was the accessory made from real seashells with resin and gold glitters. There were plenty of familiar regulars.
A great thing about flea markets is that anybody can easily open a pop-up store. We were especially surprised that there were many first-timers today.
It just maybe that flea markets are not only enjoyable to shop, but to sell as well.
For more information, please check the below website.
Foods and Goods Sourced Nationwide to Color your Everyday [Musashino Marché (3F, Tokyu Department Kichijoji Store)]
The “3sun Marché” held throughout Kichijoji aims to invigorate the local region. Although its named “3sun Marché” due to being held every 3rd Sunday of every month, the [Musashino Marché] located on the 3rd floor of the Tokyu Department Kichijoji Store is open everyday.
The Musashino Marché prides itself on sourcing only great “foods” and “goods,” of great stores from all over Japan. As the name suggests, “Marché = Market,” this market is focused on directly sourcing that special “something” nationwide.
Although they schedule seasonal and limited-time-only stores, events and projects, we would like to highlight some popular select items available at their regular stores.
So let’s now take a detour to visit the Musashino Marché, a place where you can always find that special foods and goods that gently helps enrich your life.
First we want turn our attention to the popular bakery store ”Chris Bakery.” This bakery is firmly rooted in Fuchu and Kichijoji of the Musashino area, and specializes in whole loaves of bread. Though there have been a recent rise in bakeries focusing on whole loaves of bread, this bakery has been offering their bread using carefully sourced natural yeast and ingredients since the beginning of the boom.
Today we want to take a look at their claim to fame, their squared loaf of bread (¥421 per loaf with tax). Made from home-grown wheat, natural yeast and ingredients, they also use absolutely no shortening and margarine of any kind, resulting in a naturally sweet and fluffy baked bread. It’s so popular that it sells out every time they freshly bake a new batch throughout the day.
We also recommend the salted-buttered bread (¥151 with tax). With the rich aroma and heartiness of butter, this is one item you won’t get enough of.
The “Kuzefuku-Shouten,” a store that sources and handles “tasty foods” from all over Japan also has a pop-up store in Musashino Marché. These original dishes made from carefully sourced choice ingredients from all over Japan are guaranteed to put smiles on your dinner table! Here are some choice highlights.
The healthy, tasty, and easy-to-drink organic vinegar (each ¥1,058 with tax) is made from using plenty of fruits like oranges, red grapes, peaches, pomegranates, apples, cranberries, etc.
Various types of Nametake (enoki mushroom), a perfect accompaniment to rice are available in 3 flavors to match your preference. Nametake (¥322 with tax), Shichimi (spicy chili) Nametake (¥355 with tax), Bonito Nametake (¥355 with tax).
We highly recommend the Kuzufuku-Shouten, because in addition to these, they offer plenty more original dishes that brings out the flavors of the ingredients.
Over here we have “COREPAN,” a shop that handles local and traditional handcrafts from all over Japan, with a focus on selecting POP items! They specialize in offering “finely made items” such as pottery and clothing that are created by artisans. Out of these items, we want to highlight a few that will be perfect for a gift.
Hirota Glass’s Taisho Roman series recreates the opalescent glassware that was popular during the Taisho era using traditional techniques.
Taisho Roman ‘Wind-Up’ Cup (¥3,780 with tax, pictured upper left, left-end)
Taisho Roman ‘Stripe’ Glass (¥3,240 with tax, pictured upper left-center)
Taisho Roman ‘Cross-Stripe’ Reicha (¥2,700 with tax, pictured upper left, right-end)
Taisho Roman ‘Ichimatsu’ Reicha (¥2,700 with tax, pictured upper right, left)
Taisho Roman ‘Ichimatsu’ Tumbler (¥3,780 with tax, pictured upper right, right)
Hirota Glass’s “Hanahonoka” is an adorable dish that is designed exactly in the shape of a Sakura flower.
Hirota Glass, Hanahonoka (¥972 through ¥1,620 with tax, pictured lower left)
Pictured on the lower right is Somemono-Nakagawa’s “Miyazome Tenugui (¥864 and higher with tax),” a hand towel made by using a dye-technique called Chu-Sen to color the Mookamomen fabric.
Finally, we have the “Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza.” A direct sale store that focuses on Hokkaido specialties. In addition to being a great place to interact with the locals, even better is that they offer plenty of tasty ingredients directly sourced from Hokkaido.
Pictured in the above is the Hokkaido-limited Potato Chip (each ¥411 with tax). Lucky for us, both the cheddar cheese and Okhotsk salt-flavors that were only available in Hokkaido can now be bought here.
And pictured in the bottom is Hokkaido at its finest! A carry-bag of Petit Golden Pure Jelly made using plenty of Yubari Melons (¥540 with tax).
The Musashino Marché routinely holds limited-time only events and shops so make sure to keep an eye out in the following.
So how was our Market and Shopping feature to fully enjoy Kichijoji?
We’d like to believe that we assisted in some shopping plans to experience the locally-interactive town of Kichijoji.
So next week let’s go! Kichijoji is waiting!
*Prices listed in the text are as of May 2019.