Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chion Temple Handicraft Market 知恩寺手作り市

Held on the 15th of every month, the Chion temple Hand craft market (Chion-ji Tezukuri Ichi) is a veritable smorgasbord of handmade crafts, food, and art. Held at the Chion temple in Kyoto city, the market has around 350 booths, all of which sell handmade goods. Not that I needed anything, but wandering around and seeing the cool stuff creative people can make is always a good day.


This was my second time going and unlike the first time where rain and wind conspired to ruin the day, this time it was sunny and warm, with perfectly clear weather. Of course, this also meant that the crowds were out in force and just trying to get anywhere was a battle in and of itself. Still though, jostling with people and fighting your way through a crowd to investigate something that catches your eye is part of the charm of these markets.


The Chion market is special as unlike other flea markets everything is handmade, and you can see how much effort people have put into their work. I talked for a while with a fellow who made traditional indigo dyed clothes and he explained how important the stall could be to his business. With the blue dye seeped under his fingertips, it was obvious how hard and long he had worked to make all the goods he had for sale.


Of course you find some expected stuff like clothes, paintings and jewelry, but there’s also a bunch of off the wall stuff like a rubber band gatling gun, handmade leather shoes, and riding goggles. Regardless of what you’re looking though, it’s nice to be able to directly talk to the person who made it, and you feel good supporting them in stuff they love.


To get to the Chion Temple market, head to Demachiyanagi station and go out the southern most exit, then turn left onto Imadegawa road and keep walking straight until you see the entrance on your left. Or you can just follow the crowds of people. The market is held on the 15th of every month and usually runs from about 8 to 4 in the afternoon.


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