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.

fishAmour Towa-Adachi-ku
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 the market)
Access: JR Joban line Kameari stn., north exit, twelve min. walk

crabHiroo Arcade
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

eggsUehara 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% discounts.
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

shoesShinagawa-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
fish and camera
Nishi-Ogikubo Ekimae "Kokeshi-ya Nichou Gurume no Asa-ichi"
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
Tel: 03-3334-5111

Maki Nibayashi
299: Pokemon
The world of Pocket Monsters
298: December Exhibitions
Compilation of art shows in Tokyo
297: Early bird shopping
One-stop shops for Christmas presents
296: Oseibo
The end of the year present
295: Books on Japan
A compilation of books on Japanese culture
294: November Exhibitions
Compilation of art shows in Tokyo
293: Leisure
Where to see the turning of the leaves
292: Pets
The unwanted - wrestling with the truth
291: Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival
290: October Exhibitions
Compilation of Tokyo's art shows
289: Write on
Resources for writers
288: Stamps for Charity
An easy way to volunteer
287: Early Autumn Matsuri
Tokyo's exciting autumn festivals
286: September Exhibitions
Compilation of Tokyo's art shows
285: Lost and Found
Getting your companion back
284: Help in English
The Metropolitan Tokyo Consumer Life Ordinance
283: Yoga
Tokyo's little Mediterranean resort
282: August Exhibitions
Compilation of Tokyo's art shows
281: Flea Market
Summer guide to bargains
280: Gakko no Kaidan 4
"School Ghost Stories"
279: Boom boom II
Another guide to the best firework shows
278: July Exhibitions
Compilation of Tokyo's art shows
277: Drinks on the house
Finding free drinks in the city
276: Fireworks!
Wallet-sized guide to the best shows
275: Yokohama Chinatown
The good places to visit
273: Books
The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Ghetto
272: Asa-ichi
Popular morning markets
271: Kikujiro's Summer
Beat Takeshi's acclaimed film
270: Hachioji
Guide to Hachioji
269: Kick ASS shorts
Short films become big business
268: The house of the Dead 2 on Dreamcast
Review of the new Dreamcast game
267: May Matsuri
Tokyo's two most exciting festivals
266: Boy's day
May 5 celebration
265: Home is where the party is
Tokyo's foreign societies
264: Free ticket to nowhere
Free government coupons
263: Kimono hunting
Second-hand and antique kimono boutiques
261: A sakura feast for the senses
View the infamous blossoms at Yozakura Noh
260: Ripe for the viewing
Prime Tokyo spots for hanami
259: St. Patrick's Day
Where to catch the craic March 17
258: Instant happiness - just add water
Instant ramen
257: The Global Perspective
Impoverished nations of the Pacific Rim
256: Streets of Tokyo
Guide to Omotesando
255: Interview
Film director Brett Ratner
254: Valentine's day
Doing the day in style
253: American Football
Predictions for the upcoming season
252: HELP Asian woman's shelter
Overcoming archaic attitudes about women
251: Ebisu gang
Vintage analog effector shop
250: Money landering
Zeniarai Benten shrine in Kamakura

ISSUES 349-300