Harajuku is the neighbourhood that gave us Lolita girls, decora, the pancake boom and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. This Shibuya neighbourhood has been the epicentre of Tokyo teen fashion (and vintage stores) for decades, and it’s still nurturing unorthodox, garish styles even as big-name international retailers like H&M, Zara and American Eagle Outfitters muscle in on the area.
Harajuku Station is adjacent to the mega sightseeing spot of Meiji Shrine and a stone’s throw away from Yoyogi Park. And just a block over you’ll find Omotesando, one of the poshest shopping streets in Japan. If you’re interested in architecture, then try this little walking tour we’ve put together.
Harajuku is defined by Takeshita Dori, a narrow alley that is filled with sweet scents, pink, bubblegum, and whatever’s cute, cheap, and now for the under-16 set. There are plenty of vintage and used clothing places like Kinji and Mirror and the general fashion is aimed at the young and eclectic, so prices are a bit more reasonable than neighboring Omotesando.
Cat Street (that cuts across Omotesando running parallel to Meiji Dori) is a short stroll away and well worth a peek while you’re in the area. It’s lined with quirky shops and features one of the most popular takoyaki places around. Also, fancy donuts and good coffee. There’s also the weird and wacky Kawaii Monster Cafe, which we recommend experiencing as part of a guided tour that also takes in nearby Meiji Jingu Shrine.
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