April 14, 2008
by Tomomi Nakashima
Do you like shopping? Or browsing the stalls of flea markets? And chatting with the stall keepers? If you do, then you’ll probably be interested in Kyoto’s Tetsukuri-ichi, or markets that sell handmade goods.
The markets’ concept is to provide a place for people to show and sell the goods they’ve made by hand. The first market was held at Hyakumanben in Chion-ji Temple on April 15, 1986. Then the markets spread to Kamigamo Shrine and Umekoji Park. At Hyakumanben, it has been held once a month, on the 15th, since it started. At first, there were only six or seven stalls, but now the market has grown to over 50 stalls. The market is so popular that a drawing is held to decide who can show and sell goods. Although there are some regular sellers, the type of stalls and their locations change each month.
There are a lot of kinds of handmade goods, such as cookies shaped like cats, dogs and dolls that look as if they came from picture books and colored with natural coloring; baked cakes decorated with colorful polka dots; accessories which are made of wire and stone; post cards with written messages by the artist and illustrated with original characters; wool which is dyed naturally; and clothes printed with pictures of kabuki performers. Moreover, there is even a stall where you can get a massage!
Sometimes in the market, there is the stall that has accessories which are made by crochet. The stall owner says that the handmade market is not the usual flea market because people who are interested in handmade goods, and want to feel their charms and buy them, come. “I’m one of them,” she said, “so I can enjoy talking with visitors and other stall keepers. I feel happy when visitors have an interest in my work, and I help them choose which design or color is best suited for them. At Hyakumanben, people come from a lot of regions ― people who live near Hyakumanben, also visitors sightseeing in Kyoto from Kanto and Kyushu. I think it is the biggest handmade market in Kyoto, so it’s really worth seeing.”