Unique anti-capitalist daily life experimentation, inclusive and friendly community interaction, inspiring action around resource use and sharing
Outside Kunitachi station, on the south side of the bus rotary
Every second Sunday of the month (once a month)
0 yen shop is Tokyo’s only free street market where everything displayed is available for you to take away free, no money or swap necessary. Once a month a group of people living around Kunitachi bring the items they don’t want or need from their daily lives to the street outside the station, display them and offer them freely to any passerby who wants to take something. That can be anything from books, DVDs, CDs, materials, clothes, household items – anything at all.
The market began four years ago and has been active every month since then, the police do not trouble them simply because they are not selling anything – so there is no official reason to object to them setting up on the street. Locals and non-locals both take advantage of the market to find something useful for their daily life, and can feel a unique sense of taking part in something very different. The organisers of the market are mostly from the community of activists living around the Kunitachi area, who are involved in experiments and actions which challenge the preconceived ideas of how we should live our daily lives. This action is inspired by the worldwide Really Really Free Market movement.
This very public display of anti-capitalist inspired generosity can take local people by surprise, with the organisers hoping that it may inspire some thought around the money-based conventions of our society. The market subverts conventional norms about constant economic growth and resource depletion in modern society. Often passing people, shocked that the ‘vendors’ do not want anything in return, insist on offering a gift back. Aside from the anti-capitalist intentions, the market action also raises valid questions about waste and resource use in modern life.
In a way, the market functions as a physical manifestation of an online group or ad offering free goods, with a main difference being 0 yen market interacts with passersby and all kinds of people who happen upon it. It also creates interaction between the organisers and the community, sharing conversations and getting to know each other. I highly recommend you visit to be inspired by a small but successful example of people taking action on their principles in daily life.
You are also welcome to bring something(s) you don’t want and offer them at the market too. Anybody can join. So if you have some things you want to give away, but also want to pass the day socially and get to know the local community then you are welcome to turn up. The organisers can communicate well in English. The only requirement is that if the items aren’t taken by the end of the day then you should take them back home with you.
This interesting English-subtitled video offers more detail about the market;
(a Japanese and English transcript of the video can be found here)