At the forefront of trendy teen fashion, Harajuku really stands out. Located right in the heart of Tokyo, this is where teenagers come to hang out. Although Harajuku refers to an entire neighbourhood, when people talk about it, they are mostly referring to Takeshita Street and its surrounding alleys. Takeshita Street is a great place to find food and fashion shops, some of which have become extremely famous over the years.
When I visited, despite the rain, the place was absolutely filled to the brim. This is definitely one of the most touristy places in Tokyo. Even so, there are lots of interesting eateries and shops you can explore, so let’s take a little tour along Takeshita street.
Craving for burgers and pizza? you’re in luck! Right at the entrance of Takeshita Street you see Wolfgang Puck Express, a food chain featuring Michelin star chef Wolfgang Puck’s popular dishes in a fast food style. If you’d rather have Japanese fast food, this is also where you will find Yoshinoya, Japan’s largest gyudon (beef bowl) chain. It’s known for being tasty and cheap.
Around the entrance you also see stores Le Ponte and Eggnam, which are both Purikura stores. After forcing your friends to take cute (or funny) photos, you head over to the vintage inspired brand WEGO, which is extremely popular as prices are very affordable. If you’re looking for vintage styled trendy streetwear, this is the place to go.
Forget burgers, what if you want some waffles and Ice cream to start your day? The Noa cafe practically staring at you, tempting you with its delicious breakfast sets.
But you’re here to find true Harajuku girl accessories, so you stop by Paris Kids. Despite it’s name, Paris kids is really for anyone looking for pretty jewellery or cute accessories. Want bows, ear rings or hair clips? This is the place to be! If you’ve forgotten to bring extra pairs of socks, you can hop over to Kutsushitaya. Finally, a place where you can still find legwarmers!
However, something distracts you- a giant, 3 storey Daiso with a large ‘100 yen’ banner. This franchise is well loved among locals and tourists alike, with incredibly cheap souvenirs, snacks, home items and cute stationary, all mostly at 100 yen. You then spot a crepe shop, Sweet Box, which will be the first of many. Crepes have become a symbol of Harajuku, so you should definitely try one! But there are a quite few options to choose from, so let’s continue to survey the area first.
Coming up is the very popular brand W♡C where you will find all sorts of accessories and keychains in pastel colours, which the decora girls of Harajuku love. Facing W♡C are a few clothing shops like The Silhouette and Good Day, selling trendy streetwear. These are great if your tastes are more subtle.
But you’re in Harajuku, you want the cute stuff! And just your luck, there’s Marche, with rows of fluffy animal socks and soft toys that double as pencil cases. Perhaps you want some cute inner wear as well. Tutuanna, which describes itself as ‘kawaii’is just a couple of shops down, selling socks, leggings and underwear.
As you walk further down you notice a large building called Alta with a pink sign that is bound to excite anyone. It’s time to make a pit stop at the Disney store! It sells official Disney merchandise that range from Star Wars mugs to Sleeping Beauty compact powder.
Happy with your purchase, you exit Alta, continue forward and see a store designed like a pink house. And why not, it’s Etude House. This South Korean make up brand has been making waves all over Asia, so you take a look. But don’t forget to look at what’s above Etude House as well- Totti Candy Factory. This is where all those Instagram pictures of giant rainbow cotton candy are coming from!
As you walk along the busy street, you see a fierce battle between long term rivals and crepe legends, Angels Heart Creperie and Marion Crepes, which sit directly opposite each other. When talking about the best crepes in Harajuku, these names always pop up. You split with your friend and you two buy and share one from each shop- so that you can decide which is better for yourself.
If you’re thinking of experimenting with your style, there’s no place better than Harajuku to start! After finishing your delicious crepes, you scan the area and see Bodyline, a clothing store specialising in Lolita fashion and accessories. The pretty petticoats are definitely worth checking out! After browsing around, you snack on some limited-edition regional crisps from Calbee, all freshly made.
This is where you see Santa Monica Crepes, another famous creperie with 2 outlets (one at the very end) within Takeshita street. It is normal at this point to question how is it humanly possible that you consumed 3 crepes in a span of 30 minutes. Moving forward, you then notice very girly and pretty dresses at the entrance of Liz Lisa, a sweet Lolita fashion store. Floral prints and pastel colours galore!
You’re still thinking about experimenting with your style, so you walk directly over to Closet Child, which caters to a bunch of Lolita styles. Know if your favourite idol group is going to perform soon? At the neighbouring Gorakudoh you can buy tickets and find out about more concerts to be held soon.
Next, you take the staircase on the opposite side up and find yourself outside the Pompompurin cafe. Some of their menu items come with a free souvenir mug of the Sanrio character! After collecting your mug you walk across a few more apparel stores including Wonder rocket and ACDC RAG. The latter is known for pioneering Harajuku’s fashion scene.
But the shop that catches your attention is Pink latte, a favourite among the teens that roam Harajuku. There you find accessories, beauty products and clothes. You finally end your trip down Takeshita street with a meal at Lotteria, Japan’s very own chicken and burgers based fast food chain. What a day! You can spend anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours walking and eating your way through Takeshita street, and there are plenty of other places around Harajuku to explore! Take your time and explore this unique fashion and desserts Mecca, you’ll definitely leave satisfied one way or another.
[Adapted from my now missing odigo page]