- 3 min read

Ready, Set, Kimono!

Visit the second-hand kimono market in Uwa

As the name partly illustrates, the Nana no Ichi 七の市 kimono market, hosted at Tonkararī, takes place on the seventh of every month. Friends had told me about it a few times, so I was quite excited when we could finally make a date to go there together on a Saturday.

We were not the only ones waiting around in great anticipation before the official opening time of 10 a.m. Ladies, young and old, were browsing the stalls that sell higher-end kimono, while giant plastic bags were being handed out to the shoppers. We were all set, next to the big bargain table covered in a blue sheet. Then a voice spoke over the murmured conversation of the crowd. Attention everyone! Your attention for some announcements, please!

I wasn't sure what was about to hit us, because the announcements included the polite request that everyone makes sure to go home wearing their own shoes. But then it was time: the blue sheet was removed and we could all buzz around the table, admiring the beautiful colors and feeling the textures of the bargain kimono. Fortunately, true to Japanese style, it was all quite civilized.

After exploring the wares on the table, we made our way inside the building — the shoe announcement making more sense all of a sudden. Here more gorgeous kimono and accessories waited to become someone's treasure. Upstairs the adventure continued with even more kimono hanging on rails so tightly packed together that moving between them was like swimming in a sea of fabric.

We sat in a tatami corner, trying on and evaluating our picks. Finally, we headed back downstairs to have the most joyful parting of self and money that ever there was.

So if you want to find some terrific, inexpensive kimono — to wear, or to repurpose, or to add to your textile collection — or if you just want to see the colors and textures and enjoy the treasure-hunting atmosphere, make your way to the Nana no Ichi market in Uwa, always on the seventh.

If you can't make the market, drop by Tonkararī anyway. Their gallery, tea house and antique kimono shop is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00–18:00 (or until 17:00 in winter).

Uwa lies on Route 56, between Ōzu and Uwajima. It's easiest to drive there. The nearest train station, Kamiuwa, is serviced by local trains and located about four kilometers from the market.

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Anonymous 10 years ago
This place looks amazing. The modern thrift shop feel mixed with the traditional clothing - it seems like a fun and great way to get involved with the culture in an easy way. I would love to buy one of those kimonos. I like that you can see the interaction and high activity between the costumers and the clothing. Everything is so colorful! I'll have to put this onto my to-go list.

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