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Tuesday, 13th January 2015
In Events In Japan,

Setagaya gears up for Boro-ichi Fair

This week will see Tokyo host its bi-annual Setagaya Boro-ichi Fair, a flea market that has been going for more than 400 years that has even been designated one of the city's intangible folk cultural assets.

Originally set up in the Azuchi-Momoyama period, the occasion sees the streets of the Setagaya ward flooded with stalls selling all manner of goods, from beautifully made Japanese crockery to intricate antiques.

The market was initially established as a twice-yearly opportunity for the locals to exchange items of clothing - a fact that is even reflected in the Boro-ichi name. 'Boro' refers to old fabric scraps, which was the main object traded in the centuries gone by.

However, Boro-ichi has evolved since then, and visitors will find themselves spoilt for choice at this traditional Japanese market that sees some 700 vendors set up shop on the charismatic streets of the Setagaya ward.

Tourists will want to spend at least a couple of hours wandering up and down the extensive selling area before retreating to one of the daikan mochi tents selling freshly made rice cakes - an immensely popular treat at Japanese fairs.

Such is the popularity of this sticky food that you may well queue for over an hour to get your hands on one of them.

As well as the opportunity to make an unusual purchase to take home for the family, visitors will be able to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere, as the festival draws tens of thousands of shoppers in search of a bargain.

The fair lasts for two days and occurs twice a year, in December and January, and always on the 15th and the 16th of the month.

Setagaya Station can be accessed on the Setagaya line and then the market itself is just a short walk down Boroichi Dori. Those leaving the fair are advised to do so at the nearby Kamimachi Station, which is likely to be less busy. 

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