The Osu area of Nagoya City is always worth a look, particularly on the 18th and 28th of every month, as there’s the added attraction of picking up a bargain at the Antiques Fair! You never know what you might find!
Located less than a Kilometer from Nagoya’s bustling central Sakae district and easily accessible by taxi or subway, the Osu Kannon Temple is one of the cities landmarks.
Surrounded by rows of shopping arcades, selling everything from computers, cameras, stereo systems old and new, to clothing, toys and collectables, the popular temple was originally built near Hashima in Gifu, but was relocated to it’s present site in 1612, when the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu built Nagoya Castle.
The current building was reconstructed in 1970, but it’s bright red pillars and beams make it one of the more exciting and photogenic temples in the area. The temple itself houses some 15,000 classic Japanese and Chinese books, many designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties, including the oldest hand written edition of the Kojiki, the annuals of mythological Japan.
Many events are staged within the temple’s precincts, and a great number of people come to simply pray to the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon, enshrined within the grand temple, but for many the regularly held antiques fair is the major draw card.
Naturally there’s quite a bit of junk, so buyer beware, but if you know what you’re looking for, there can be some real treasures amongst the trash! Over the years I have picked up a late 1500’s set of tatami gussoku Samurai armour, various sword fittings, an antique cabinet or two, and a late 1940’s Sumo Bansuke, a large pentagonal notice board with the famous Sumo wrestler’s names hand painted on it, (including the legendary Rikidozan too!) The antiques fair also features pottery, furniture, handcrafts, old coins, memorabilia and a wide selection of old fabrics such as kimono and obi (sashes) too which make great bed covers or table setting ornaments.
If the 18th or 28th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll find a better selection of treasures on display, however you’ll also have larger crowds to contend with. Most of the dealers will accept a little haggling too, which adds to the fun. Entry is free, and you’re welcome to browse and poke through the odds and ends on display. Who knows, the gods may be smiling and you may walk away with a real treasure!