A Toji Flea Market Experience

15Our group left Shikoku Island on the way to Kyoto on a train crossing the scenic Inland Sea which is dotted with many small islands. The weather was warm and sunny and the islands were quite picturesque. However, the bridge structure did not allow us to capture images without steel posts bisecting the views.

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Of course, we had reserved seats, however we must have been in the kid’s clown car…. It was fun and colorful. There was only one other family group with a cute child, so we essentially had an entire private car. The kid was quiet too.

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Once we arrived at the hotel we immediately departed for the Toji Flea Market, but not until I checked the sign which posted the ideal maple viewing times in the major garden temples. We timed it perfectly, as nearly every garden was “at peak.”

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On the 21stof each month there is a huge flea market on the grounds of the Toji Temple which is quite near our hotel across the street from the Kyoto Train Station. This is a major event for Kyoto, like the famous cherry blossoms in April and colorful red maple leaves in November.

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Everything you could imagine is there for sale: delicious food, antiques, not so old antiques, tools, clothing, bonsai, containers, art, scrolls, more clothing, jewelry and much more.

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Japanese hospitality runs through the Toji Flea Market, everyone is friendly and helpful and much of the sample food is edible. The entire grounds are packed with sales stalls and they even flow on to the main streets at the several entrances.

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The prices seemed to drop as the afternoon wore on and just like bonsai conventions in the United States, many vendors began to pack up early ready to exit at the 4pm close.

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The Toji Temple is an active Buddhist place of worship and we saw several religious ceremonies were going on. A refreshing change from looking at small trees and gardens. But, we will get back to the serious activities tomorrow.

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