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Shimai Kōbō: The Grand Kyoto Flea Market Experience

A Tribute to a Buddhist Priest

Kobo-ichi, popularly known as Kobo-san, is not just an average market. This flea market held within the premised of Toji Temple is actually dedicated to the revered Buddhist priest Kōbō Daishi. A key figure in 9th-century Buddhism, Kōbō Daishi led the temple until his death on 21st March. In honor of his contributions and memory, a bustling market springs up on the temple grounds every 21st of the month.

However, there is a special significance associated with the December market. This event is called Shimai-Kobo, translating to ‘the final Kobo’. It’s not just an ordinary flea market but a significant winter event that represents the rich cultural tradition of Kyoto.


Shopping Extravaganza amid Cultural Reverence

The Shimai-Kobo market attracts substantial local and foreign visitors alike. The atmosphere is festive, with shops lined up in perfect rows presenting a remarkable sight. The crowd worships Kobo’s statue expressing their gratitude for good health before beginning their shopping spree for New Year’s feast preparations. It is considered as one of the most exciting Kyoto events in December.

From dawn to dusk, this flea market becomes a paradise for bargain hunters and antique collectors. With offerings ranging from second-hand goods, traditional kimonos, handicrafts to food stalls – it’s truly a place where you could find just about anything.

The Allure of Deals at Shimai Kōbō

Compared to any regular monthly flea market, Shimai Kobo held on 21st December holds more excitement for the attendees. It turns into a haven for deal seekers – featuring discounted items and valued antiques going at unbeatable prices if one knows where to look! Whether you are hunting for cheap kimonos or authentic Kyoto pottery, or even everyday household items like cleaning products – Shimai Kōbō has got you covered.

The Unmissable Winter Event

Amidst all this frantic activity, don’t forget to soak in the beauty of your surroundings during Shimai Kōbō. With its unique combination of bargain-hunting and cultural reverence, this event embodies “Kyoto” more than any other experience.

Shimai-Kobo’s value extends beyond simple shopping as people come here to express their deep gratitude for their good health throughout the year while preparing for starting a new one uniquely and traditionally.

If you’re up for another interesting event in Kyoto and experience Kyoto’s rich traditions and captivating history, check out the Yamashina Gishi Matsuri. Held on December 14th each year at the Bishamon-dō temple in Yamashina, this festival pays tribute to the legendary 47 Rōnin, embodying the samurai code of honor.

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