[Harajuku, Tokyo] 20 Things To Do in Harajuku From the Classics to Hidden Gems
Tokyo’s Harajuku is one of the major trend-setting areas for youth culture in Japan. There you can find fashion, shopping, art, drinks, sweets, and much more! In this article, you will find all the information you need to make the most your visit to this exciting neighborhood!
- 1. Shop at Takeshita Street
- 2. Visit KIDDY LAND to Find a Lot of Cute Characters
- 3. Visit Meiji Jingu Shrine and Enjoy its Nature
- 4. Take a Break at Yoyogi Park
- 5. Discover What the Fashion in Tokyo is All About at Laforet Harajuku
- 6. Buy Gifts and Souvenirs Unique to Japan at Oriental Bazaar
- 7. Discover Cutting-Edge Fashion Stores at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
- 8. Try One of Harajuku’s Signature Dishes at Marion Crepes Harajuku Takeshita Street Branch
- 9. Eat Freshly Made Snacks at Calbee Plus Takeshita Street Branch
- 10. Buy Cute Gifts and Souvenirs at Daiso Harajuku Branch
- 11. Get in Touch With Japan’s Kawaii Culture at KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU
- 12. Search For Hidden Treasures at KINJI Harajuku Branch
- 13. Buy Limited-Edition Goods at LINE FRIENDS FLAFSHIP STORE
- 14. Stroll Around Cat Street
- 15. Search For Rare Items at RAGTAG Harajuku Branch
- 16. Purchase Some Cute Home Accessories at AWESOME STORE Harajuku-Omotesando Branch
- 17. Visit the Nezu Museum
- 18. Eat Delicious Ramen at AFURI Harajuku Branch
- 19. Visit Togo Jinja
- 20. Enjoy a Cold Beer at Baird Taproom
1. Shop at Takeshita Street
If you want to know what Harajuku is all about from the get-go, then your first stop should be Takeshita Street! Worldwide famous stars, such as Lady Gaga, have visited this famous street on many different occasions. Extending for about 400m, Takeshita Street is located right across the street from Harajuku JR Station and is packed full of shops that are frequented by Japanese fashionistas who keep up with the latest trends. You have a whole host of stores selling second-hand clothes, accessories, knickknacks, cosmetics, and much more, not to mention the Lolita and Gothic fashion shops that are a trademark of Harajuku. Takeshita Street is also home to many popular eateries offering different kinds of sweets and desserts. Once here, you should stop by one of the many purikura photo booths and take some pictures to remind you of your visit!
2. Visit KIDDY LAND to Find a Lot of Cute Characters
KIDDY LAND is a popular shop that sells a wide variety of character goods, toys, and knickknacks. The store is packed full, from the basement floor up to the 4th floor. Here you will find all your favorite pop culture characters and some more, including Mario, Totoro, Snoopy, Disney, the adorable Rilakkuma, and merchandise from Sanrio and its iconic Hello Kitty! Not only does the store offer toys for children but also a diverse range of goods for adult fans as well, such as plastic models and Star Wars merchandise.
3. Visit Meiji Jingu Shrine and Enjoy its Nature
Situated in the middle of the Japanese capital, Meiji Jingu is a Shinto shrine constructed in honor of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. During the first days of January, when the Japanese traditionally visit temples and shrines to make their first prayers of the New Year, this famous site attracts the largest number of worshipers among all its counterparts in Japan. Meiji Jingu Shrine is an oasis in the heart of Tokyo, covering an area of around 700 sq.km. and surrounded by lush greenery. Said to bestow different kinds of blessings on those who come to worship, many people visit the shrine to pray for household safety, good luck in love, prosperity in business, and success in tests and exams. Taking a walk through the shrine’s grounds amid nature should be enough to make you feel brand new after a long day of sightseeing.
4. Take a Break at Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is located right next to Meiji Jingu Shrine. A street crossing the park divides it into two major areas: Section A which consists of a forest park; and Section B, where you find sports facilities, an outdoor stage and other attractions. Three water fountains of different sizes help to create a refreshing contrast with Yoyogi's rich nature. The park is known for the wide variety flora that showcase their beauty throughout the year: cherries and roses in spring; hydrangeas and lilies in summer; red and yellow leaves during fall; and narcissuses and ume (Japanese plum) flowers during winter. Take the opportunity to relax sitting on the spacious lawn located in the Chuo Hiroba (Central Plaza).
5. Discover What the Fashion in Tokyo is All About at Laforet Harajuku
Laforet is a landmark of Harajuku. Here you find a great number of shops where you can see what is going on in the world of cutting-edge fashion. The building has a total of 13 floors filled with stores offering a wide range of different styles! Some have everything you need to understand what is trending, while others provide unique clothing items for those who want to express their individuality through fashion. As one of the trend-setting places for what is called “Tokyo Culture,” Laforet has it all, from pop-up shops to new brands by young and exciting designers. Try visiting at least once even if it is just for window shopping!
6. Buy Gifts and Souvenirs Unique to Japan at Oriental Bazaar
If you are looking for a store where you can buy gifts and souvenirs that are typically Japanese, then Oriental Bazaar is the perfect place for you! Throughout its three floors, you find a wide variety of products unique to Japan. On the basement floor, for example, you find kimonos and many different types of T-shirts. The 1F offers Japanese tableware and household accessories, while the 2F has craft works and furniture. Another nice feature of Oriental Bazaar is the fact that they offer one-of-a-kind items, such as Japanese antiques, samurai armors, folding screens, and porcelain. The store provides international shipping service and every floor always has a staff member who speaks English. You can even pay in US dollars and euro.
7. Discover Cutting-Edge Fashion Stores at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku is a shopping center located in the intersection where Harajuku, the mecca of youth culture in Japan, meets Omotesando, one of the hottest spots for high-end fashion brands in Tokyo. Fashionistas tuned to the latest trends love this place. Apparel shops, household accessories stores, restaurants, and much more, here you find all you need when it comes to shopping options. For example, on the 4F you find HUMOR SHOP, a select shop that offers renowned Japanese brands, including Tsumori Chisato and ZUCCa. Also on the same floor is KIMONO by NADESHIKO, a shop where you are free to try different Japanese clothing items. On the 3F, you should check out ISETAN MiRROR and its wide-ranging selection of Japanese cosmetic brands, such as Shiseido, Shu Uemura and much more.
8. Try One of Harajuku’s Signature Dishes at Marion Crepes Harajuku Takeshita Street Branch
Marion Crepes was the first shop in Japan to start selling a Japanese version of the original French crepe recipe in 1976. Due to the staggering number of youngsters walking the streets of the neighborhood with a crepe in hand, Marion Crepe became an intrinsic part of Harajuku since the opening of its second store on Takeshita Street in 1977. Even to this day, people still line up in front of this shop that boasts sales of more than 1,000 crepes a day! The menu has some 70 to 80 different varieties, but the number 1 selling crepe is the Banana Chocolate Cream (470 JPY (incl. tax)). The store is always following trends and offering limited-time and seasonal flavors, not to mention the crepes with Japanese ingredients such as adzuki beans.
9. Eat Freshly Made Snacks at Calbee Plus Takeshita Street Branch
Calbee Plus is a store directly managed by Calbee, a famous snack manufacturer that probably everyone in Japan is familiar with. The store offers a wide variety of products perfect for gifts and souvenirs, such as limited-edition snacks that you can find only here, new releases not yet available in the market, and other different goodies and goods. Among some of the most popular items are the potato chips* and potato sticks** still hot from the fryer! You can devour your snacks at the eating space on the 2F or take them with you to go. Don’t miss this unique chance to try delicious freshly-made snacks!
*Harajuku Limited Potato Chips Hot & Spicy Flavor (reference price: 310 JPY) and other flavors
**Salad Flavor Poterico (reference price: 310 JPY) and other flavors
10. Buy Cute Gifts and Souvenirs at Daiso Harajuku Branch
With a wide-ranging selection of products considered by many to be one of the largest in the whole of Tokyo, Daiso Harajuku Branch is very popular among locals as well as tourists. It is a must-go store for people visiting Japan or in search of Japanese gifts and souvenirs. Basically, everything available in Daiso costs 108 JPY (incl. tax)*. Here you will find a vast amount of products, ranging from everyday house goods and useful gadgets to food and even cosmetics. They have a great selection of goods perfect for a gift of souvenir, including folding fans, chopsticks, and other cute products with Japanese themes such as Mount Fuji and sushi.
*The price of some items may vary.
11. Get in Touch With Japan’s Kawaii Culture at KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU
KAWAII MONSTER CAFE HARAJUKU is an entertainment restaurant produced by Sebastian Masuda, the famous art director behind the live performances of Japan’s sensation Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and an active player in promoting Harajuku’s kawaii, or “cute,” culture worldwide. Taking inspiration from Harajuku’s crazy-colorful-grown-out-of-proportion-monster appearance, KAWAII MONSTER CAFE runs as a cafe and restaurant during the day. At night, though, it changes into a show restaurant inspired by New York’s Broadway! With a very pop interior design and playful menu dishes, such as Colorful Poison Parfait Extreme (2,300 JPY (excl. tax)), the restaurant offers you plenty of opportunities to take amazing pictures.
12. Search For Hidden Treasures at KINJI Harajuku Branch
Harajuku has a high concentration of second-hand clothes shops. If you feel like visiting a couple or more, one suggestion would have to be the very popular KINJI Harajuku Branch, due to its wide variety of clothes. The store is huge and has a terrific lineup of clothing items for men and women, shoes, bags, accessories, and some more. Most of the clothes on offer trace back to the 90s but you can also find some older and rarer gems, not to mention Japanese garments, such as kimonos and yukatas. How about going on an adventure in search of hidden treasures?
13. Buy Limited-Edition Goods at LINE FRIENDS FLAFSHIP STORE
LINE FRIENDS STORE has a total of 100 stores around the world, mainly in Asia, but also in the US. Harajuku is home to the franchise's flagship shop, a huge facility that attracts thousands of visitors from Japan and abroad. The store features a broad selection of merchandise inspired by LINE’s signature characters, such as Brown and Cony. Here you find stationery, tableware, stuffed toys, and many other cute products. LINE FRIENDS STORE also offers many goods made in collaboration with different artists and brands, and limited-edition treats that you can only purchase here. Inside the facility, you can have a great time not only shopping but also taking pictures with a huge stuffed Brown and other characters' statues.
14. Stroll Around Cat Street
Strolling aimlessly around Harajuku’s many different streets is fun enough, but there is one location in particular that has been growing in popularity due to its fashionable aura: Cat Street. Lined with clothes stores on both sides, Cat Street is 1 km long and connects the neighborhoods of Harajuku and Shibuya. Besides the unique streetwear brands and second-hand clothes shops, Cat Street also has high-end stores, such as a concept shop by PAUL & JOE and a bookstore produced by Marc Jacobs. This location is also home to a wide variety of eateries and stylish cafes.
15. Search For Rare Items at RAGTAG Harajuku Branch
RAGTAG Harajuku Branch is a second-hand clothes shop specializing in designer brands. The store has 3 floors. The 1st floor has a collection of casual wear brands, such as United Arrows, while the 2nd floor has cutting-edge fashion items by famous brands like Balenciaga, and the 3rd floor has luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Besides clothing items, RAGTAG also has a great lineup of bags, shoes and accessories. The store is popular among people from all generations, due to its easy access to high-end brands and prices that can be 50% to 80% cheaper than the original tag price.
16. Purchase Some Cute Home Accessories at AWESOME STORE Harajuku-Omotesando Branch
If you want to shop to your heart’s content, then AWESOME STORE is the place you are looking for. This shop has a great selection of stylish and functional home accessories at very reasonable prices, ranging from 200 to 400 JPY, with the cheapest costing only 20 JPY! Here you find a wide range of original products, such as decorative items, kitchen gadgets, stationery goods, and fashion accessories, all of them with a simple and natural designs that are tasteful and, at the same time, playful.
17. Visit the Nezu Museum
Located near Omotesando Station, Nezu Museum is a private facility with a collection of around 7,400 works of art from Japan and East Asia. This vast collection consisting of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, and much more, features some extremely valuable items designated as National Treasure and Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government. One of such is the Japanese folding screen "Irises," a National Treasure put on exhibition every year, from mid-April to mid-May. In 2009, Nezu Museum went through a remodeling process under the auspices of Mr. Kuma Kengo, the same architect responsible for designing the new National Stadium where the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be held. The museum is renowned for its beautiful garden as well.
Special exhibition: General 1,300 JPY, Students 1,000 JPY
Museum collection exhibition: General 1,100 JPY, Students 800 JPY
18. Eat Delicious Ramen at AFURI Harajuku Branch
At the popular AFURI, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen in a refined atmosphere that reminds of a stylish cafe. The restaurant’s piece de resistance is its soup, prepared with spring water brought from Mount Afuri, located in Kanagawa Prefecture, hence the name of the shop. Its delicate taste is achieved by slowly cooking fresh chicken bones, dried fish, kelp, and a variety of potherbs. Their signature dish is Yuzu Shio Ramen (1,080 JPY (incl. tax)), an aromatic and refreshing bowl of noodles prepared with yuzu (Japanese citrus). You can also opt for a dish prepared entirely without using animal-derived ingredients, their Seasonal Vegan Ramen (1,480 JPY (incl. tax)).
19. Visit Togo Jinja
Located right around the corner from the bustling Takeshita Street and its many tourists, you find Togo Jinja, a peaceful Shinto shrine where you can relax and unwind. The nature surrounding the shrine’s grounds and the beautiful pond and garden will help you forget about the hustle and bustle of the big city. Also known as a place of mystical energy – or a “power spot” as the Japanese call it – because the god of victory is enshrined here, Togo Jinja is visited by a great number of athletes, businessmen, and students looking for success in their endeavors. At the shrine’s office, you find omamori (small lucky charms) (800 JPY) for victory, ofuda (household talismans) (700 JPY), and cute omamori knitted with famous characters, such as Hello Kitty (500 JPY).
20. Enjoy a Cold Beer at Baird Taproom
Be sure to stop by Baird Taproom! At this pub, you can have yourself some Baird Beer, a pioneer in the boom of craft beers that took hold of Japan recently. Every single one of the 12 different styles of beer always on tap here features natural foam and is prepared by a process of double fermentation without filtering the yeast. Besides the vast lineup, the pub also has seasonal beers and monthly style series! As for the food, Baird Taproom serves yakitori, a quintessential item in Japanese-style pubs consisting of grilled chicken skewers that pair perfectly with beer. The expected budget ranges around 3,000 JPY or more.
Harajuku is an amazing place, don't you think? And it has great access too! You can reach part of Tokyo from Harajuku JR Station and Tokyo Metro’s Meiji-jingumae and Omote-sando stations. Don’t miss the chance to visit this incredible neighborhood during your trip to Japan!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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