A few months ago there was a news story about a painting bought at a flea market in France for around 200,000 yen that turned out to be by Vincent van Gogh and worth upward of 300 million yen.

That was an extreme case, but the suspense of browsing with the chance of something similar happening certainly spices up the joy of bargain-hunting at flea markets the world over.

Nowadays, flea markets are sprouting up throughout Japan, and are attracting both people looking for something out of the ordinary, and others drawn to them as bargain-price shopping centers. But do beware, because many of these markets are closed when it rains -- so be sure to check before you go.