|PLUS - Shop talk
Aaah, Sunday mornings.
Usually spent sleeping off the effects of a long Saturday night at the local izakaya, or
agonizing over the coming work week. It' hard to beat sleeping in till 2pm on a Sunday
afternoon but by waking up at the crack of dawn (only one Sunday per month!) you can find
all sorts of great buys and bargains, and even get a fresh, delicious breakfast.
Asa-ichi, or "morning markets," are quite popular in Japan, and there are a
number of options for an early Sunday morning shopping spree. Who knows - you might enjoy
yourself so much, getting up at dawn won't seem like such a bad thing.
Telephone numbers are not available; ask at the local koban for directions.
This asa-ichi offers mostly food, from freshly baked breads to fresh fish. Most stores
within this morning market offer discounts - a third off for many items. Near Sumida
River, it's a perfect spot for a picnic lunch made from items bought fresh that morning.
Where: Adachi-ku, Towa Ginza Shotengai, Amour Towa
When: Every second Sunday, 7-9am (fireworks at 7am signal the opening of
Access: JR Joban line Kameari stn., north exit, twelve min. walk
Known for its high-class shops and restaurants, who would imagine that this place also
offers low-priced deals on the third Sunday of every month? Not only do local shops get
together and offer bargains, but they tie up with Hokkaido to bring shoppers the best of
Hokkaido's seafood at reasonable un-department store prices. Timing is crucial; this
asa-ichi lasts only an hour, so get there early.
Where: Shibuya-ku, Hiroo Shopping Arcade
When: Every third Sunday, 9-10am (moved to the parking lot in the
basement of Sugawa Bank if it rains)
Access: Hibiya line Hiroo stn., one min. walk
Uehara Ginza Shopping Arcade
Also known as "Uegin," its draw is the sales on eggs and liters of milk. People
line up thirty minutes before it opens to get the deals. A variety of other businesses
such as bakeries, tofu shops, butcher shops and flower stores offer their items at 30-50%
Where: Shibuya-ku, Uehara Ginza Arcade
When: Every third Sunday (canceled if it rains) except August, when it
will be held the second Sunday, 9-11am
Access: Chiyoda or Odakyu lines Yoyogi-Uehara stn., two min. walk
Shinagawa-ku Chuen Skip Road
This asa-ichi, almost twenty years old, only operates in April, July and October. Most
stores along the arcade participate in a garage sale that has not only united the
community but become increasingly popular among visitors. Everything from secondhand
clothes and goods to jewelry and even electric appliances are on sale. Non-shop owners can
participate in the garage sale free of charge, as long as they are not for-profit
businesses or professional flea marketers. Due to the overwhelming number of participants,
there is a drawing two months before the opening of the market.
Where: Shinagawa-ku, Chuen Arcade
When: July 11 or 18 (check the arcade), 7-11am
Access: Asakusa or Tokyu Oimachi line Chuen stn., two min. walk; or Tokyu
Ikegami line, Ebara Nakanobu stn., two min. walk
Nishi-Ogikubo Ekimae "Kokeshi-ya Nichou Gurume no
Sponsored by the French Restaurant Kokeshi-ya, this asa-ichi offers something a little
different-fancy food that changes with the seasons. In March they offered grilled scallops
or grilled lamb for JY400 and ikura-don (salmon roe over rice) for JY600. To make the day
more memorable, there's also a picture portrait service available for a reasonable fee.
Where: Suginami-ku, Nishi-Ogikubo stn., Kokeshi-ya restaurant parking lot
When: Every second Sunday, 8-11am; next June 13
Access: JR Nishi-Ogikubo stn., one dmin. walk