Harajuku Japan – Almost everyone who’s every researched a trip to Japan knows about the small district in Shibuya, Tokyo, called Harajuku. Stretched out between Harajuku Station and Omotesando, this area in Japan is best know for its kawaii fashion, culture, and colorful atmosphere. Harajuku is also the perfect place to head out if you want to dress up in the popular street fashion, or just observe others who love doing so.
Not only is this area perfect for teens, but there are also quite a few attractions that adults can enjoy as well, such as shops, restaurants, and historical buildings and sights. There are also specialized toy stores in the area suitable for younger travelers who may not be as interested in teen fashion trends. Regardless of age, many who visit or frequent the Harajuku area also enjoy the nearby Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park, which are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the nature and beauty that Japan has to offer.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Harajuku is by taking the train to Harajuku station, which is one of the stops of the JR Yamanote Line. It’s one station north of Shibuya Station, and two Stations South of Shinjuku Station. As Harajuku is nearby Shibuya, many choose to venture into both areas during the day for shorter trips, and often even branch out to Roppongi, which is just a short distance away as well to the east.
Harajuku is also accessible by subway, as the Meijijingumae Station and Omotesando Station are close enough for a quick walk to the popular youth area. The subway lines that run towards the Harajuku area are the Chiyoda, Fukutoshin, Ginza, and Hanzomon Subway Lines. Thankfully, the costs for using public transportation in Japan is relatively cheap, meaning that you won’t have to empty your wallet before you even get to the shops and eateries.
Harajuku Tokyo – Takeshita Dori
Often the easiest image of Harajuku to recognize is the famous Takeshita Dori, or Takeshita Street, that runs through Harajuku. It is the main hub for all shopping and eating, as well as the heart and soul of the fashionable area. The street is jam packed with small, independent shops that cater to unique and specialized clothes and accessories, meaning that even a simple trip down the street results in seeing thousands of different products.
Along with amazing clothes, accessories, makeup and skin care products, and costumes, Takeshita Dori also has delectable food for sale that is just as creative and fashionable. From rainbow cotton candy to cheesecake filled crepes, there’s no shortage of delicious treats and sweets to choose from. For those looking for something a bit more filling and a little less sugary, there are also savory crepes and satisfying meals to choose from nearby.
Harajuku Tokyo – The Kawaii Shops
Harajuku fashion, food, and culture is all about bold choices and out of the ordinary style that go above and beyond average looks. The overall theme of Harajuku fashion has paved the way to create ‘kawaii shops’, or shops filled with cute clothing, accessories, or other items that people simply must have because they look so insanely cute. These cute, adorable, and uniquely Japanese stores are perfect for picking up souvenirs or additions to kawaii wardrobes.
The kawaii shops in Harajuku are set apart from others found in Tokyo and around the world by the uniquely Japanese standards and presentations. The shops are all decorated with bright colors, neon lights, rainbows, or combinations of cute, pastel decorations. Shop attendants are dressed in colorful outfits, and always have the biggest smiles on their faces. Even the kawaii food shops have treats and meals that feature cute faces and big smiles. If you want to purchase food and drink that’s both happy and cute, Harajuku delivers.
Along with the plethora of goodies to buy and treats to eat, there is also an area to take pictures that transform you into a much cuter version of yourself: Purikura Land Noa. Sporting 25 of the latest Purikura booths, many travelers enjoy taking photos with friends and decorating the pictures on a digital display. The photos are printed as stickers, making them even better souvenirs. Even though the machines have Japanese instructions, many can be switched to English, though the straightforward process of the booths makes them easy enough to understand in any language.
Some of the more notable shops to visit are: Mooosh Squishy, R27, WEGO, Totti Candy Factory, Body Line, WC, Boutique Takenoko, Kiddy Land, Alice on Wednesday, and Funktique.
Looking to snag a couple of photos of your exciting time spent in kawaii Harajuku? Then you might be interested in having professional photos taken so you can keep the memories with you forever. For those looking to take photos in a kawaii kimono with bright, colorful background, book this tour.
By the way, if you are interested to know surprising info about Japan, make sure you read this blog post: Fun Facts About Japan.
And if you are really into Kawaii culture, you can also subscribe to the very cute Kawaii Box. You will receive a bunch of Kawaii products every month directly to your home, wherever you live. 🙂
Harajuku Tokyo – The Kawaii Monster Cafe
One of the most notable kawaii shops in all of Harajuku is the Kawaii Monster Cafe, which is the largest cafe restaurant in Tokyo. Not only is the cafe as cute as can be, but there are also more unique and interesting aspects added in to combine kawaii with ‘kowai’, or scary in Japanese. Don’t be too scared to try out this cafe – the monsters are all cute and adorable, giving you the weird and strange side of Japan in a beautiful way.
As this is one of the most popular cafes in Tokyo, reservations are a must. There are different shows and events held throughout the year, so it’s best to check them out ahead of time to see if any of them interest you. Along with being a cute cafe during the day, there are also nighttime events which feature adult themes and beverages.
The cafe is spacious and has different areas decorated in different styles, so guests are free to walk around and take photos of any area. The food is as delicious as it is cute, though most of the menu is monster themed and can look a bit strange at first. The servers are dressed up as adorable monsters who are happy to help guests in any way they can, and also preform on stage at various times during the day.
For even more information about this awesomely cute cafe, along with some great pictures I took while enjoying my experience there, you can read more here: Kawaii Monster Cafe Tokyo.
Harajuku Tokyo – The Yummy Crepes
Hungry for something that can be eaten on the go? Thankfully, crepes are a staple food sold throughout Harajuku, and come in all sorts of varieties. Some can be savory, while others can be sweat. Regardless, each and every crepe is delicious and fun to eat. Many shops even feature a viewing window where hungry guests can watch as the crepe creations are made individually for each and every order.
Along with serving some of the most delicious sugary snacks in Harajuku, some shops have several different options available for gluten-free crepes and buckwheat crepes, which can be preferred over the standard egg batter used in traditional crepes. Not only is there a variety in crepe style and toppings, but each crepe shop has its own unique style and decorations. Some are adorned with neon lights and bright colors, while others are more simple and straightforward.
One thing many travelers are happy to hear about is that sampling one or more of these delicious crepes won’t break the bank, though it may cause a stomach ache if you eat too many. Prices vary from store to store, but the average price for a regular crepe is around 500 yen. The cost might also go up for specialty crepes, or additional toppings or ingredients. If you’re really interested in trying out more than one flavor, be sure to sample both the sweet and savory types of crepes to get the full experience of these Japanese confections – you won’t regret it.
Here’s a list of just some of the available ingredients that you can choose to have in your delicious, handmade crepes: cream, custard, banana, strawberry, blueberry, peach, apple, kiwi, chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, matcha ice cream, strawberry ice cream, cookies and cream ice cream, brownies, cheesecake, chocolate cake, tiramisu, strawberry cheesecake, gelato, chestnuts, almonds, chocolate, kuromitsu, strawberry jam, Nutella, caramel, tuna, ham, chicken, bacon, eggs, sausages, cheese, spinach, lettuce, and of course, whipped cream.
The Animal Cafe
Cats, rabbits, owls, dogs, hedgehogs, snakes, birds, and goats, oh my! There’s no shortage of animal cafes found in Tokyo, though the best are located in and around Harajuku. Ever since the craze of dining with animals began, Japan has been at the forefront of the animal cafe enterprise. Starting modestly with just cat or dog cafes, the trendy idea soon grew to include exotic animals that guests would likely never see or touch otherwise.
Animal cafes were originally created in order to provide a safe place to engage with furry friends for those who couldn’t keep dogs or cats in their residence; whether or not that was due to limited space or restrictions set forth by their landlord. As the cafes quickly grew in popularity, the demand for a greater variety of animals gave birth to new animal cafes opening up shop with more exotic creatures for guests to interact with.
Countries around the world have also started riding the wave of animal cafes, though Japan is still the forerunner on style and service. The animal cafes in Harajuku are brightly decorated, and some even have private rooms for guests to interact with one animal at a time while enjoying their drinks and sweets. Many of the more exotic animal cafes keep the animals away from the main dining area, though they can still be viewed and touched by guests.
There are always more options available for meeting and engaging with other animals in Harajuku. If you’re not a fan of cats and dogs, or prefer hanging around with creatures that not everyone considers to be ‘cuddly’, try out the hedgehog cafe. See if you can get these small, prickly critters to open up to you and show you how cute they can be here: Hedgehog Cafe Harajuku.
If you’re wise, you’ll probably want to check out the amazing owl cafes, too. Who? You, that’s who. Read all about the owl cafe here. Of course, if cute, furry animals and feathery owls just aren’t your cup of tea, you can always try sipping on your drink in the company of scaly reptiles at the snake cafe found here.
With so much to do and so much to see in the exciting, kawaii area of Harajuku, it’s a wonder how anyone can get their fill of the place in a single day. Those who feel up to showcasing their own unique take on Japan’s kawaii culture are free to dress up and walk around the area without feeling awkward or out of place. Even in the areas around Harajuku many visitors will find that both locals and tourists are happy to dress to impress in their favorite fashion and style.
No matter what your fancy while traveling in Japan is, you can always be sure to find great clothing, accessories, food, drink, cafes, stores, restaurants, and uniquely Japanese styles and culture in Harajuku, Japan.