One of the interesting things to do apart from temple, shrine and garden visiting is to visit the Kobosan Flea Market held every 21st of the month at the Toji Temple, a 15 minute walk from Kyoto Station.
The temple itself is worth visiting, but why not do so when the flea market is on for a richer experience? There are about 200 stalls selling all kinds of goods, from hot food to fresh chestnuts, antiques to vintage kimonos, chopsticks to hand-crafted artworks.
I bought a lovely vintage kimono for 1,000 yen (about US14)! Something like that could cost 50,000 to 100,000 yen if bought new! It was supposed to be shop-soiled, but I could only find one tiny age spot on the silk lining, and no blemish on the "face" side of the kimono. All the embroidery is still in perfect condition! It would make a lovely wall hanging decoration.
I also bought complete lengths of chimiren (colourful silk kimono cloth) to give away as gorgeous table runners. At 500 yen (about US7) each, they were a steal!
The flea market offers lots of unique and quirky things to buy as gifts that would be far more appreciated than the mass produced souvenirs sold in tourist shops.
Even if you don't buy anything, the flea market and temple are interesting to visit.
The flea market opens early (at sunrise) and closes at around 4,30 in the afternoon. It is a perfect place to visit if you are an early riser and want to get some early morning activity in before the shops and attractions open.
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