Thursday, February 23, 2012

Osaka Flea Market - Shitenhoji

You wouldn't think Osaka is an ideal walking city, but pick the right area and it is amazing the sort of beauty you'll find amidst the concrete expressways and train lines. We walked from Namba station to Shinsekai, which was like the Osaka version of Blackpool - complete with tower and old school neon arcades. On the way we went shopping in a supermarket decorated with pastel neon animals - it was like being in a land of magic, but with milk, sushi, cheese and fruit and veg. Oh Japan, you are still full of suprises.

We kept walking up the concrete hill, taking in the detail of the everyday. The most amazing shrine with candles and incense and gold tipped roof. The shop selling witches hats, the garage with bunting and the concrete truck with a massive gorilla! Then we hit Shitenhoji temple. A big open space complete with temples, food stalls and a flea market in the middle of the working part of the city. 

We ate fresh okonomiyaki and drank a sweet rice soup - warming our hands and our tummies. The grey gravel and temple stones were contrasted by bright green and red flags, and all was quiet except for the crunching of shoes on gravel and the metal gong echoing from the temple.

Then the markets! Stalls of vintage clothes, jewelry and ceramics. Kimono fabric and buttons. A beautiful enamel tray, but impractical to carry...well that was my reasoning, until I bought a single, because nothing says easy traveling than vinyl records. If you ever find yourself in Osaka on the 21st (and sometimes the 22nd) of the month, take the time to hand out at Shitenhoji.

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