Translated by Jasmine Nishino
The Forest Market of Handcrafts at Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto
Written by SakamotoAyako
Once every few months, an event called "The Forest Market of Handcrafts" is held at Shimogamo Shrine, a world heritage site located in Kyoto.
Shimogamo Shrine, located in the Sakyō ward of Kyotohas been designated one of UNESCO's world heritage sites. It is also known as a place of relaxation for those who live in Kyoto.
Within the Shimogamo Shrine, there is an area called Tadasu Forest. Once every few months, an event called "Forest Market of Handcrafts" is held.
Specialty Items at the Market of Handcrafts
At the Forest Market of Handcrafts, the participants bring and sell items they handcrafted themselves.
There are only a few professional artisans and most people are mothers or students living in the Kansai area who enjoy making things as a hobby.
However, despite it being a hobby, the quality of these items cannot be underestimated! Every time this event is held, the customers come for the products sold here because of their beautiful designs and great quality.
Moreover, the items sold at every store are hand-made and each one of them is unique.
In two days, over four hundred stalls open at the Forest Market of Handcrafts. Let's see what kind of shops are in operation
Small Items Created with the Whole Heart
The Forest Market of Handcrafts has a great variety of stalls displaying small items.
For example, this is a vendor that sells small goods for interior decoration.
The lady at this stall is planting the cacti with her daughter, an elementary school student. She smiled happily as she explained how nice it would be to have their customers decorate their room with these plants. Her daughter was also helping out that day.
This is a vendor that sells handmade bags.
Created with the hope that people will use these bags for a long time, they are made of sturdy fabric and are lined in the inside to keep their shape.
Admiring the merchandise is one way of enjoying this fair, but it is also fun to converse with the shop owners. At times, they would even listen to your life problems. This is one reason of the popularity of some of the stalls.
On this day, we chatted with one vendor about casual things like how her son is a picky eater and how she's troubled by it.
As you can see, another reason many people love the Forest Market of Handcrafts, is the great opportunity it offers to connect with people.
Lastly, we will introduce a vendor that sells small leather items.
The shop owner uses rare cow leather purchased from another prefecture to make all his products. He wants to offer his customers products made of quality material.
Did you know there is a specific term only in Japanese that describes small items and accessories used in daily life? That word is "komono".
You can live without knowing this word, but it sure is useful when you're looking for something specific. The Japanese have always been experts at making small daily items.
You can feel all the consideration put into the design, into the quality and techniques used to make the small items sold at the Forest Market of Handcrafts.
Conquer All the Menus! Savor the Forest Gourmet!
When you finish shopping, you will smell the delicious aroma of the omelet over rice, of the pizza and other specialties. In the Forest Market of Handcrafts, there is a wide variety of foods being sold as well.
At this truck, you can enjoy decorating your pancakes with your favorite sauces and toppings.
This is a lemonade with a large piece of lemon in it. It is a drink I have quite often, but on this day it felt more refreshing than usual. Perhaps it was because I was drinking it under the lush greens of the Tadasu Forest. This forest is part of the World Heritage, so eating and drinking here is a precious occasion.
Not all food vendors are trucks. Some of the shops are established in tents.
This is a shop that sells cookies, ginger syrup and jam. They handle simple, yet nostalgic products here.
Apparently, it is quite common for the shop owner to teach customers recipes using the products from the shop. The shop owner happily explained how many people buy the items in order to be able to eat the finished dish.
With so many attractive shops, you can often see customers spending time in front of the vendors trying to decide what to buy.
A Market That Can Be Enjoyed by Looking, Buying and Eating
You can enjoy the atmosphere of this world heritage forest, find small items of your choice or look for tasty treats to eat. There are actually several ways to enjoy this market.
During this experience, I as able to understand the concept of handcrafts, the many ways to have fun and why there are many continuous fans of this fair. The warmth of handmade crafts is something you cannot get from high-end brands.
The Forest Market of Handcrafts is held irregularly. For more information on following editions, check out their website for details.
Forest Market of Handcrafts (Mori no tezukuri ichi 森の手づくり市)
Address: Kyoto, Sakyō ward, Izumikawa, Shimogamo 59
Closest station: Demachi Yanagi Station on the Keihan line
Access: 12 minute walk from the Demachi Yanagi station
Official site: Forest Market of Handcrafts (Japanese)