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December Setagaya Boroichi Market 2017
Friday, Dec 15 - Saturday, Dec 16
This market in the suburbs of Setagaya has its origins over 400 years ago when people began exchanging thrift and fabric scraps (boro). Today, the market—held twice per a year on the 15th and 16th of December and January—sees about 700 vendors gather on and around Boroichi-dori to peddle anything from retro games and antiques to ornaments and rice cakes.
Setagaya Boroichi was originally a designated raku-ichi—a free market system introduced in the late 16th century which allowed vendors to trade goods tax free in order to provide a boost to the economy—and was held six times per month. The market was an important meeting point for merchants and traders between Edo (now Tokyo) and Odawara to the south-west until Tokugawa Ieyasu based his shogunate in Tokyo and they gradually migrated to the center of the de facto capital. Nevertheless, the market continued to be held—albeit it only once a year in December. The move to the Gregorian calendar with the Meiji Restoration in 1868 saw the market open in January, as well.