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Harajuku Area Guide

by Paul Joulot

Harajuku is one of these sleepless districts in Tokyo. A lot of teenagers meets there. Indeed, Harajuku can offer to you a lot of fashion shops, luxurious fashion and some of the strangest clothes you will ever see. It also contains shrines and a marvelous park.

Harajuku Station

The JR stop as seen from Omotesando street.

 

That’s some nice station, the only one of its kind in Tokyo. A lot of Japanese painters go there to picture it with their brushes and easels. There are two exits, one heading to Omotesando street, the other to Takeshita Dori street. 100 meters away, on Omotesando street, you can access to the Chiyoda and Fukutoshin subway lines.

Entertainment

Yoyogi-Kōen Park

That’s the 4th biggest park of Tokyo, located just next to the Harajuku Station. Lovers, workers, old people often come here to chill out. Fun fact is that the first plane taking off in Japan was in this park. Also, this is an artificial park. Japanese Olympic Games used it as the Olympic village. After that, foreigners gave Japanese authorities some tree seeds to make the village a park. All the trees that you will encounter come from seeds and were not there before human intervention. If you come there a Saturday or a Sunday, you should be seeing some dancers, dressed as Rockabilly, listening to some cool Elvis Presley.

Kidy’s Land, huge toy store

We all want to buy a lot of things when in Tokyo. Kiddy’s land could help you with this case. This is a huge toy store, three stories building with a basement. You can find awesome gifts for those who stayed at home. People of all ages, kiddos and adults, can come here since the store is for little ones and grown ups. If you like modelism you should head there.

Kawaii monster Cafe (Website)

Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku Tokyo

That cafe must be coming out of the Kawaii schoolgirl alter-ego tortured mind of Tim Burton. This cafe has waitresses dressed up as Kawaii (cute) monsters. Big and fluffy monsters. The cafe displays so much colors that you will feel like you wear some weird rainbow glasses.

TEPIA, science and new technology museum (Website)

Japan is the country of robots and new tech. This is the museum of all these ideas. Come there and talk with Asimo the funny robot, or play with new tech toys. Since it’s a museum, you will also learn some things about technology history. But brace yourselves, all the museum is in japanese.

Purikura, funny Photo-booths.

That’s actually a photo booth, but not for your regular ID. Indeed, these photo booths are only fun and games. For a few hundred yens, you will be able to take silly and funny pictures of you, with all kind of backgrounds and stickers.  You could try to collect them all since they all have a different style. You can add stickers and drawings to your selfie. But if you are a boy, you shouldn’t go there, as it aims only young girls, except if you want to look like a Barbie.

Yoyogi Gymnasium

Yoyogi Gymnasium

If you are an Olympic Games aficionados, then you should go to this stadium. Indeed, it hosted basketball and swimming sports during the Japanese Olympic Games back in 1964.  Nowadays the stadium hosts ice-hockey and basketball games.

Paris Kid’s (Website)

Now that you bought all those brand new clothes in the different stores, you will suffer from a lack of accessories. Then go to Paris Kid’s. You will be able to find all kinds of very, very colorful objects such as hair extensions, earrings, trinkets etc…

Fashion

Omotesando Strt “Japanese Champs Elysées”

This street nickname is “The Japanese Champs-Élysées. Obviously, this means that this street has a lot of luxurious brands and items to offer, especially french brands (Dior, Channel…) It also contains 4/5 and 5/5 stars restaurants, but be careful, your wallet could suffer from this expedition. There is a nice little park with free Wi-Fi, but it is a smoking area, so don’t go there if you suffer from asthma. Fun fact: Omotesando means “Path to the Shrine”.

Takeshita Dori strt, Fashion avenue

Harajuku is often only reduced to this street. Indeed, that’s the main attraction. Here you can see a lot of people between 15 and 30, wearing very strange but so fashionable clothes. The street is also full of all kind of shops for teenagers. If you are broke, you could take a look at the huge 100¥ shop, full of items all at the price of… 107 ¥ because of the Tax. If you are hungry, take a hike to the Marion Crepes street food station. Basically just a crepe filled with cream and fruits (even cheesecake or… teriyaki chicken if you dare). Second handed clothes are also available to buy. If you are lost, you can head to the end of the street and take a free map of the street, displaying every shops and stores.

Cat strt, café, traditional stores and peace

We are often talking about women fashion, but what about men? Cat street is where you will see fashionable men. You should also go there to seek some peace and calm. Fancy restaurants and cafes is what you will also find.

Doki Doki 6% and LaForet

-Doki Doki 6% (Website || Facebook || Instagram)

-LaForet (Website  ||  Facebook || Instagram)

So now you that you acknowledged the fact that there is a lot of very unique styles in Harajuku, you may wonder where all those clothes are actually coming  from. Well, Doki Doki 6% and LaForet should be answers. LaForet offers clothes for and made by young people. You will only be able to buy original pieces there. Be careful, very expensive items.

GR8 (Website || Instagram)

If you like skateboarding, then modern street-wear should be something you are aware of. This store is pretty small, but it offers some state of the art fashion for all fashionistas out there. The shop entrance is lovely, dojo style.

Tokyu Plaza (Website)

Featuring a stunning modern entrance, this place offers you loads of Western Brands like Tommy Hilfinger, Starbucks… But what is the best about it is the wonderful rooftop at the 7th floor, offering you a great panorama of the whole district. There are also some refreshments, long seats and benches.

Shrines

Meiji-Jingū Shrine

This is one of the most famous temple in Japan, built in the honor of Meiji emperor. This is the biggest Shinto temple of the country. It is connected to the Harajuku’s Yoyogi Park. A lot of weddings are celebrated there. It also contains a dojo and a dance hall, if you want to be a martial art master.  You will also encounter some gorgeous Sake and Wine barrels, which people are offering. If you are seeking for history and art, come to the Memorial Picture Gallery which displays some paintings from the life of emperor Meiji. The temple is like very very huge. It will surely take more than two hours to explore it all, and 500¥ if you want to visit the zen garden.

Tōgō-jinja shrine

This Shinto shrine was built for admiral Togo Heihachiro’s posterity. Fun fact, he was actually fighting for Russia. It was constructed in 1940, 6 years after the admiral died. What is interesting about it, is that the admiral became a Kami (Shinto divinity, guardian of the shrine)

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