Held once every month at Toji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the famous Toji Temple Market named Mieku (Kobo-ichi market). Toji Temple is located one station away from Kyoto Station on the Kintetsu-Kyoto Line, and is most famous for its five-story pagoda that is often featured on Kyoto Travel Guides. The 57m pagoda is actually the tallest in all of Japan. On the 21st of each month, hundreds and hundreds of vendors line up their vending stalls as early as 8:00 or 9:00 AM, and negotiate with buyers until roughly around 4:00 PM. This market is one of the rare markets in Japan where bargaining and negotiating is possible, so do not be afraid to ask and haggle for a lower price!
Now, what exactly is being sold at this obscure marketplace held at one of Kyoto's famous temples? Pretty much anything you could ever ask for! Items being sold range from ceramics and porcelain, to plants and flowers (including giant lotus plants!), to plant seeds, leather products, secondhand clothing, kimonos and yukatas, small household appliances, and of course, everyone's favorite: food! Food stalls with Japanese street food and finger good are no doubt the most popular attraction for young children and passing tourists who do not have sufficient space in their heavy suitcases. Fan favorites like Kakigori, takoyaki, taiyaki, and more are lined up in rows, waiting to satisfy a snacking craving!
As you stroll down the many, many rows of stalls, you may see many people inspecting products meticulously - they may be antique collectors! Antique collectors from all around the Kansai area come to Toji Temple once a month to thrift. Personally I would suggest visiting the market in the early hours, at around 9:00 or 10:00 AM to avoid crowds, or towards the end of the vending time, at around 3:00 to 4:00 PM. The later you go, the more likely vendors are to lower their prices, so be sure to keep that in mind if you are looking to purchase items.
There are also markets of a smaller scale held every first Sunday of the month at Toji (Garakuta-ichi antique market), so do not fret if your tour days in Kyoto do not fall on the week of the 21st - you have two chances a month to possibly experience a flea market and antique market in the historical city of Kyoto, so be sure to plan accordingly! Tasting Japanese street food, while also witnessing what local life is like - what more could you want from an authentic Japanese experience?