by Zoe Mackey
It’s raining in Harajuku. The train doors open with the usual Yamanote line melody, and couples, groups of friends, and the stray businessman stir past one another in a kind of neat chaos towards the Harajuku Station entrance. Harajuku does not stop for the rain.
Along the sloped streets, I try as politely as I can to avoid hitting other pedestrians with my umbrella, but this is near impossible. I turn right onto Meiji Street, a lengthy strip of Japan-exclusive stores alongside Western brands, continuing past the family-style restaurant chain Jonathan’s at the corner of the crosswalk.
Just across the street from the Under Armour store, I find “niko and…”, a clothing and goods store with a very down to earth spirit. Walking through the open entrance, I am greeted with the familiar irrashaimase. Peculiar covers of well-known American songs play from the store’s speakers. A sign reading “New Arrivals” in English hangs over a large rustic table, and I am immediately eager to see what kind of statement “niko and…” will be making for the spring/summer.
The store is full of curiosities. From exfoliating hand soap to kitchen essentials, coffee makers to Bombay sweet and sour soup, “niko and…” is perfect for those who want to start a new hobby or find stylish oddities for their collection. A records section sells a multitude of genres, from jazz fusion to electro dance, as well as record players and headphones. Knickknacks, pottery, and silverware line the walls. I was particularly interested in the Einstein money bank for all my loose yen.
The women’s clothing section boasts the casual, comfortable, yet stylish menswear look of loose trousers, flat sneakers, and oversized sweaters. This trend is greatly inspired by simple sensibility and a slimming tomboy flair. It is calm, cool, and collected, yet bold with long coats and a monochromatic color scheme. Anyone hesitant about trying the tomboy look can also find more feminine pieces, such as pleated skirts and collared blouses. No doubt the clothes are on the pricier side, but many of the store’s pieces are neutral colored with subtle silhouettes, and can be worn with a great variety of other styles and brands.
Men’s clothing and accessories are just up the stairs, and are similarly comfortable, cool, and charming. Also on the second floor is a café for those who skipped lunch to shop, while downstairs is a coffee shop.
Leaving through the same open door entrance, the rain outside seems to have let up, now a slow mist. I’m glowing over the garment dyed button down I bought. I meander through a few other stores on my way back to the station where the train home was, to no surprise, awfully crowded. But it’s just a fact of my life in Tokyo I will have to get used to, along with frequent shopping trips to Harajuku.
For more shopping ideas in Harajuku, visit our article Harajuku Street Fashion: Takeshita-dori’s Top 5 Clothing Stores.
“niko and…” Store Information
Hours of Operation: Everyday 11:00AM-10:00PM
“Why Go?”: If you want to shop in a unique, varied store that is packed with curiosities.
Zoe Mackey is a native New Yorker and college student currently studying in Tokyo. Her greatest inspirations are street fashion, lazy Sundays, and science fiction. You’ll more than likely find her taking amateur photos and looking for the best food in Tokyo. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.