One of the most well-known antique fairs in Tokyo is the Heiwajima Antique Show (Ota-ku), a massive three-day antique fair which is held in the Tokyo Ryutau Center. Operating since 1978, the Heiwajima Antique Fair takes place only five times a year and is the oldest and most famous antique fair in Japan.
Over 280 dealers from all over the country flock to Heiwajima, to showcase a huge selection of Japanese, Asian and western antiques during the three-day fair. Visitors can find everything imaginable including furniture, lacquerware, ceramics and baskets, dolls of all kinds including kokeshi, netsuke, hakata and cloth, kimonos, obis and fabric for tablecloths and other sewing projects, jewelry, tea ceremony sets, teapots, spinning wheels, old postcards and pictures, coins, stamps, and other collectibles.
Since the Heiwajima Antique Show is an indoor market, the merchants tend to charge more than at weekly and monthly shrine antiques fair, in order for them to recoup their cost of rental space. Bargaining with the dealers is expected and encouraged. In fact, since the show only takes place a few times a year, all the good stuff tends to sell pretty quickly on the first day. It is therefore advised to show up on the first day of the event.
One advantage offered by the Heiwajima Antique Show, compared to other monthly and weekly flea markets in Tokyo, is that the dealers will deliver large purchases or make arrangements to have them delivered for a fee.
All in all, the Heiwajima Antique Show is an absolute must-do for any seasoned antique dealer specialized in Japanese and Asian antiques.
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