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Marion Crepes

Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori would not be the same without a full bevy of stores and cafes that accentuate the street fashion this street has become famous for. In between the lolita shops like Milk, Body Line, and Metamorphose as well as edgier shops such as Monki and Panama Boy, you will be able to find the adorable little cafes where the fashionable youth gather. Here you can indulge in the sweet desserts and delicacies that Takeshita-dori is known for almost as much for as their fashion.

Marion Crepes

The most famous crepe shop in Harajuku is Marion Crepes. Marion Crepes started their crepe revolution in 1976 as one of the only food carts in Harajuku. When they moved to their current location a few years later, they quickly became just as much a part of the Harajuku culture as the lolita girls standing behind the counter making the orders.

Just like their history, Marion Crepe’s menu is unbelievably long. Whether you crave sweet or savory, you will walk away with something unique and delicious. You could get a simple strawberry jam and whipped cream crepe that will be wrapped in a tight little triangle. Or if you want to go all out, you can order a crepe with a full slice of cheesecake wrapped up with a scoop of ice cream and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. But what makes Marion Crepes unique is their variety of savory crepes. You can grab yourself a pizza crepe with marinara sauce, a cream cheese crepe,or even get the crepe equivalent of a sandwich complete with lettuce, tomato, and a variety of fillings to fatten it up.
If you ever crave something sweet whilst in Tokyo, check out Marion Crepes! You won’t be disappointed!

Marion Crepes Information

Nearest Station: 4-minute walk from Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line)


Hours of Operation: Everyday 10:30AM-8:00PM
Estimated Price: Under ¥2000
“Why Go?”: If you want to chow down on deliciously varied crepes during your shopping journey through Harajuku.
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

June 21, 2016 0 comment
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Harajuku street fashion is a culmination of all things weird, trendy, and uniquely Japanese. And the best place to go in Tokyo to get that Harajuku Girl look is Takeshita Street. Not only is this pedestrian street a hub for the culture of youth street fashion, it’s also great fun! During your trip to Tokyo, be sure to check out these spots!

(If you’re worried about the differences in sizing, check out our great article on size conversions here!)

Harajuku Street Fashion: 6% DOKIDOKI

6%dokidoki

You can’t miss the pink and pastel exterior of 6% DokiDoki. With ribbons and glitter practically spill right out onto the street, 6% DOKIDOKI is the perfect place to start assembling your Harajuku Girl outfit.

Check out our article on 6% DOKIDOKI here!

 

ACDC Rag

ACDC Rag Harajuku Street Fashion

A fashion mainstay on a street where shops are quick to go out of style. ACDC Rag sells a variety of youth-oriented styles, from Gothic Lolita to punk to hipster. Collaborations with other designers and constant additions to their apparel keeps this brand fresh and exciting.

Check out our ACDC Rag article here!

 

Bubbles

Bubbles Harajuku Street Fashion

Bubbles makes you feel like you’re walking into dollhouse. Everything inside is just so girly! This is the perfect place to go to revamp your wardrobe with pastel sweaters, fuzzy bunny phone cases, and velvet chokers. Make sure to strike a fashionable pose in front of the rose wall!

You can check out this very cute Harajuku Street fashion on the Bubbles Website and Online Store (Google Translate) or check them out on Twitter (via Google Translate) and Instagram.

 

Calbee Plus

Calbee Plus Harajuku Street Fashion

Check out the Calbee Plus shop on Takeshita Street! The menu includes potato chips exclusive to this store, such as freshly-fried potato chips topped with maple syrup, cream cheese, or chocolate. And they have soft ice cream for those hot summer days! Packaged snacks make for delicious souvenirs for friends and family!

Check out our Calbee Plus article here!

Etude House

Etude House Harajuku Street Fashion

Etude House is the perfect place to visit for your makeup needs. This Korean cosmetics brand has a large line of cosmetics for every age and skin type.  Before buying, feel free to test out the products and ask for personalized help from a makeup specialist. You can also go to their in-store studio for a makeup lesson and a custom makeover!

You can see what Etude House has to offer on their Website (via Google Translate). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese only), on Twitter (via Google Translate) , or their Instagram.

Harajuku Alta

Harajuku Alta Harajuku Street Fashion

Harajuku Alta is a multi-level mall containing a large selection of stores that will have you screaming “kawaii!” Favorites include Choco Choco by SWIMMER and the Harajuku Lagrace Mart, where you can find great accessories and shoes. Check out Harajuku Alta’s Website (via Google Translate) to see what’s happening now.

Hysteric Glamour

Like printed tees and denim vests? Hysteric Glamour is the place to go! With a laid-back California aesthetic and a rock ‘n’ roll mindset, this place can help you with a layered grunge look that mixes in that little bit of Japanese something.

Check out our article on Hysteric Glamour here!

Kawaii Monster Cafe

Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku Tokyo JapanIt’s not a clothing store, but no trip to Harajuku is complete without a stop at the Kawaii Monster Cafe. When people think of the crazy fashions, pastel-neon colors, and outrageous nuttiness of that aspect of Japanese culture, this is the place they’re thinking of! The bizarre decor, hyperactive floor shows, and high-speed pop beat is the perfect background for your Facebook and Instagram photos.

Check out our Kawaii Monster Cafe article here!

Lazy Hazy Planet

Lazy Hazy Planet Harajuku Street Fashion

Lazy Hazy Planet runs the gamut of Harajuku Street fashion. Glitter to goth, Levi’s to leather, L.H.P. has seen and done it all. And when you go inside, you realize they have it all! Lazy Hazy Planet is a perfect mix-and-match place to experiment with new looks.

Check out our article on L.H.P. here!

LINE Friends Store

LINE Friends Store Harajuku Street Fashion

Fashion isn’t limited to your clothing! If you use the LINE application, the LINE Friends Store at the end of Takeshita Street is a must-go. You can get your picture taken with Brown, pick up exclusive wear and accessories, and even get the exclusive virtual stickers to show your LINE friends that you were fashionably there.

Check out our LINE Friends Harajuku article here!

Milk

Lolita fashion - Milk Storefront in Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Lolita fashion is still alive and well in the Harajuku street fashion scene. For 45 years, Milk has been catering to the Lolita community with a constant stream of frilly and Victorian fashions. Whether you are new to the Lolita idea or a longtime fan, visiting this fashion landmark is always special.

Check out our article on Milk here!

Paris Kid’s

Paris Kids Harajuku Street Fashion

Need some cheap, trendy, and fashionable accessories? Paris Kid’s is the only place to go. the walls are lined with thousands of earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets that will put the finishing touches on your new look. Frequented by young girls and women alike, what keeps people coming back are the prices. None of the accessories or jewelry at this store cost more than 500 yen!

Check out our Paris Kid’s article here and get the discount!

Q-pot CAFE.

Q-Pot Cafe Harajuku Tokyo Japan

The Q-pot CAFE makes fabulous accessories to round our your wardrobe. And not only that, you can have a taste of the “accessory sweets” they have at the cafe! And the SE”Q”RET room? Well, you’ll just have to go and find out for yourself! Check out our Q-pot CAFE. article here!

Totti Candy Factory

Totti Candy Factory Harajuku Street fashion

You know you’re near the Totti Candy Factory when you start smelling sugar and sweets. Inside this pink polka-dotted shop, you’ll find decorated cake pops and a wall lined with all kinds of candy for your scooping pleasure. Their signature item is made-to-order cotton candy that is make right in front of you! Delicious fun for every age.

Check out the Totti Candy Factory’s Website (Google Translate) or follow them on social media at Twitter (via Google Translate) or on Instagram.

Tutuanna

Tutuanna-FI-585x390

It’s so pink and girly and sweet that you’ll have to brush your teeth afterwards. Tutuanna is the place to go for leg wear and socks. Because as we all know, no Harajuku Girl look is complete without pink cat hosiery!

Check out our article on Tutuanna here

WC

WC Harajuku Street Fashion

Bring out your girly and sweet side by visiting WC! This shop is filled with clothes and accessories to match the pastel and neon decor to get you dressing like a true Harajuku Girl. Update your wardrobe with the bunny-eared sweatshirts, cheetah-print backpacks, and velvet jackets that you can only find here!

Check out this Harajuku Street fashion at their Website or check their social media at Twitter (via Google Translate) or Instagram.

Wego

Wego Harajuku Street Fashion

With locations all over Tokyo and Japan, Wego is a testament of how often Harajuku Street fashion shifts from trend to trend. If you want fashion and accessories that will turn you into a street fashionista for a reasonable price, head to Wego!

Check out our article on Wego here!

Wonder Rocket

Wonder Rocket Harajuku Street Fashion

With two locations on Takeshita Street, Wonder Rocket sells Mori-style clothing and accessories ranging from sweet dresses and tops to fuzzy heels and bags. Although they are already reasonably priced, it pays to be on the lookout for Wonder Rocket’s 50% off sales!

Check out what’s going on at Wonder Rocket at their Website (via Google Translate) or on their Facebook (Japanese only), Twitter (via Google Translate), or Instagram.

World Wide Love

World Wide Love Harajuku Tokyo JapanWhere’s the love? It’s at World Wide Love! The brand of the spray-painted smiley face covers your street style fashion needs while never straying too far from whimsy. Check out their great collaborations!

Check out our article on World Wide Love here!

June 20, 2016 0 comment
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Ebisu Garden Place Observation Deck, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is worth way more than 36 hours of your time. Tokyo is such a massive sprawling beast of a metropolis that you could never see the many facets of the city in such a short time. That said, 36 hours of Tokyo is better than no hours of Tokyo, and if you only have a bit of time to spare, we’ll do our best to show you Tokyo at its best.

For lodging, I suggest AirBnB as a way to rent a space because it is less hotel and more apartment. Another idea is the capsule hotel, which is not for the claustrophobic. Yet another adventurous idea is getting an overnight comic book or Internet café room. All of these have options in the Shibuya area, so I suggest starting there. Bring your energy because you’ll need it to run all over Tokyo.

Day 1 – Embrace the Touristy Side of Tokyo

9:00 a.m. Shibuya

For many of the AirBnB visitors, staying near Shibuya area means you will need to ride into Shibuya from nearby stations like Sangenjaya Station, Shimokitazawa Station, or Ebisu Station. Trains are known for being absolutely insane during morning and evening rush hour when workers are heading in and out of work.  Find a safe corner to watch the insanity unfold with a coffee and a bagel.

While in Shibuya it is practically a requirement to check out the famous scramble crosswalk and Hachiko Square. Tokyu plaza is right next to it with some cute shops to wander as well. Once you have had your fill and the station begins to be less of a madhouse, head into the station proper. It is totally worth the trouble to pay the 500 yen for a PASMO or Suica train card because you can repeatedly charge it and skip the trouble of micromanaging your fare. With your IC card pass, take the JR Yamanote line (look for green JR signs) and head to Harajuku, one stop away.

10:00 a.m. Harajuku/Meijinjingunmae

Harajuku is well known for Takeshita Street, the hub connecting Harajuku Station to the Omotesando area. Takeshita Street is full of youthful energy and shops with goods ranging from crazy costumes to female fashion styles like girlish skirts and blouses all the way to goth and punk attire.

As you leave Harajuku and enter Omotesando, the area gets more sophisticated glam. Omotesando has one of my favorite souvenir shops in all of Tokyo called Oriental Bazaar which is well worth a look for gifts. You can either backtrack to Harajuku to ride two stops on the Yamanote line to Shinjuku Station, or you can head into Meiji-jingumae Station to ride the Fukutoshin line up to Shinjuku-sanchome Station. By then, you probably will be getting hungry and can grab lunch.

12:00pm Bask in the touristy glow of Shinjuku

Shinjuku station is the busiest station in the world so can be quite difficult to navigate, but is a great place to people-watch as you try and find your way around to the correct exit. Shinjuku’s East End is my preferred neighborhood in Shinjuku because unlike West Shinjuku, where the government buildings are, East Shinjuku is more a retail area where you can hang out. Catch lunch in one of the many department stores or street level shops. As a personal suggestion, Korean food in Lumine EST is pretty tasty and easy to access on the upper floors of the department store.  Save room though because I definitely have a suggestion for dessert. One of the latest Tokyo crazes for sweets is located right at Shinjuku East End. It is the Croissant Taiyaki. Cronuts (croissant donuts) have nothing on this, I promise you. If you don’t like traditional red bean paste filling, try the custard or a seasonal flavor. If you like sweets, your stomach will thank me.

But what you’ll really thank us for is directing you to the Robot Restaurant, which is one of the craziest dinner shows you will ever experience. Even better, our good friends at Voyagin can get you a discount on your reservation!

After getting your Taiyaki, say goodbye to Shinjuku. From here I would suggest taking the Sobu line to Akihabara Station. This train line cuts across the Yamanote loop. 

2:30 p.m. Nerd out like a boss in Akihabara

Akihabara is called Electric Town, and rightfully so since it is a playground for tech-minded people. It is also a highly unique area of Tokyo that has a different feel from other parts of the city. Arcades line the main streets and girls dressed in frilly uniforms call out to passersby to visit their maid cafes. Play a few arcade games, grab some new headphones, or discover what maid/butler cafes are all about.

Akihabara Stores, Akihabara, Tokyo

Optional: If you take one look at Akihabara area and pale at the idea of spending time here, take the Shinjuku line to nearby Jimbocho Station. A book lover’s paradise, the area contains unique bookshops that will delight a different sort of traveler from Akihabara’s tech and anime fans.

An even better option is putting on a costume, renting a Go Kart, and riding around Akihabara to live out your favorite video game fantasy! C’mon, you know you want to. Let our friends at Voyagin help you book your rental!

Spend a bit of time taking in the sights and emptying your wallet before hopping back onto the Yamanote line again to Tokyo Station.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo and Meguro Station combo

Tokyo Station is a thing to behold. It is a massive complex of train lines all meeting near the city centre, where you can go to any other part of Japan via the Shinkansen bullet-trains. Even if you do not step outside of the station, it will truly amaze you to see all the stores and eateries in the sprawling underground hub. If you do decide to head out of the station, make sure to take a look at the newly renovated Tokyo Station—what’s old is new again because the station is modeled to look as it did a hundred years ago.

If you have had your fill of Tokyo Station and have time to spare, go back on the Yamanote line to head to the next destination, Meguro Station. The inside of Meguro Station is connected to shopping centers Arte1 and Arte2. Arte2 has a fun and well-known conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Eating raw fish and rice is an adventure for the new inductee if there ever was one. If raw fish isn’t your thing, Arte 2 also has a fusion restaurant called Yuuan that has heated food.

After your belly is full of raw fish or cooked eats, get back on Yamanote to go one train stop to Ebisu Station.

8:00 p.m. Get your drink on in Ebisu

Yebisu Garden Place Tower can be ridden to the upper floors to sneak a peek of the city skyline without the long lines or payment like Skytree and Tokyo Tower.

Ebisu

There are also restaurants upstairs if you decided to skip Meguro Station. The Ebisu area has plenty of bars for an after-dinner drink, and I heartily suggest Bar Martha, Red Dragon, or Buri. Bar Martha is one part jazz bar, one part Japanese whisky fan, and one part mixology. The dim, relaxing atmosphere will be a nice place to kick back after running all over the city, and the tasty snack jars will keep you from needing a midnight snack. Red Dragon is a Japanese take on a pub, with plenty of beer types to keep you going if you prefer a more excitable location. If you are looking for something a little more club and a little less straight up bar, check out Buri. It has a full bar, but it is well known for its semi-frozen one-cup sake. It is also a place where a lot of hookups happen, if that is your sort of thing.

Once you are done with your evening bar hop, call it a night and head back to your accommodations. Be warned, Tokyo does not have all night trains and buses so depending on time you might have to get a cab.

Day 2—The Triangle Experience

8:00 a.m. Breakfast in Shibuya

A bright and early morning awaits your fast-paced tour of Tokyo, especially if you’re jet lagged. Fight fire with fire by heading to your nearest Matsuya for breakfast. They have breakfast plates, but I would suggest the beef bowl with egg on top. It comes with miso soup and will help nurse any lingering hangovers you might be struggling with. Double dare you to try it with a side of natto!

9:00 a.m. Corner 1: Hipster delights in Nakameguro

Today is a bit slower pace. Take the Tokyu Toyoko line to Nakameguro Station and head out of the city center into a slightly more mellow area using what trains call the triangle ticket. Nakameguro Station’s surrounding area was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown as a hipster neighborhood. The Meguro River cuts across the station, making it an ideal place for cute cafés and small shops to line the tiny street and there are plenty of places to snack, buy gifts, and take photos.

10:30 a.m. European influence in corner 2: Jiyugaoka

Once you have had your fill of Nakameguro’s charm, take the Toyoko line further out of the city center by four stops to Jiyugaoka Station where you can mill about a very particularly styled shopping area and eat lunch. This area is known for being inspired by French culture and has plenty of places to try. I would suggest the taco rice for lunch at the Okinawan eatery Taiyou Shokudou. After you have wandered around to your satisfaction, get on the Tokyo Oimachi line over to Todoroki Station.

1:00 p.m. Escape the city without stepping out of Tokyo at Todoroki Valley

Todoroki Station is a way to escape the city without ever leaving it. Truly the definition of suburb, this adorable neighborhood is not a shopping hub like previous locations. Instead, head into Todoroki Valley to experience another, greener side of Japan. Todoroki Valley is amazing. Others have gone so far as to call it a godsend. After all the experience of the city, the trees and quiet sounds of water flowing downstream is a relief. Walking along the river from the station leads to a set of stairs that go up to the temple Fudoson where you can pay your respects, enjoy the view of the waterfall, or relax at the seated cliffside view. Backtrack to the station and re-board the Omiya line for Futakotamagawa Station.

3:00 p.m. Futakotamagawa: Last corner of the triangle

Futakotamagawa Station is based along the Tamagawa River. The side you are on is the Tokyo Metropolitan area and the other side is Kanagawa prefecture. It is worthwhile to walk a bit out of the area first (approximately 20 minutes) or to cab it to the Okamoto Park Old Farmhouse Garden. The park contains an old thatch roof farmhouse where you can see Japanese architecture and culture from the late Edo period (1860s), and it feels like you are stepping out of time. It is open until 4:30 p.m. and closed on Mondays, so mind your timing to ensure you get to see the house and surrounding area. One of the impressive parts of the area is how seamlessly it blends old and new Tokyo together as new shopping malls exist alongside older establishments. Any last minute shopping you need done can be taken care of at the mall surrounding the station or once you get to your airport. 

Ebisu Garden Place Tower, Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan

For more ideas on how to spend a short stay in Tokyo, visit 36 Hours in Tokyo: Kids in Tow.

June 13, 2016 0 comment
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Takeshita Street Featured Image, Harajuku Tokyo

Harajuku is, without a doubt, one of the most recognizable areas of Tokyo. To visit the area’s trendy streets, full of colorful fashion and endless shopping, is a crucial activity for a trip through Tokyo. Situated right next to the notorious Shibuya, Harajuku is an epicenter of fashion, youth, and counterculture.

But as dazzling as this neighborhood is, it can seem daunting to wade through its madness. While it may be easy to follow the current of a large crowd, Harajuku has certain unique and must-see spots that serve as perfect introductions to the area’s charm and reputation. Three streets in particular, Takeshita Dori, Meiji Street, and Cat Street, are the basis for a guide to Tokyo’s hip and lively Harajuku.

Takeshita Street

With an entrance located across the street and to the left from Harajuku Station, Takeshita Street is a Harajuku landmark, full of the counterculture, quirky Japanese souvenirs and accessories, and trending fashion that defines Harajuku. Often crowded and colorful, Takeshita Dori contains numerous small clothing boutiques and trinket stores. Takeshita Street can seem overwhelming and dizzying, but has so much to offer that it’s hard not to emerge with full shopping bags of unique and totally necessary items.

Takeshita

Crepe Stands – As it’s no question that shopping is a highly physical activity, you’ll find yourself feeling pretty hungry as your day in Harajuku progresses. Make sure to stop by one of the various creperies scattered throughout Takeshita Dori. These colorful crepe stands offer a wide variety of crepes, ranging from desserts to lunch crepes. The best thing about the crepes you’ll find on Takeshita Street (and surrounding its entrance on Meiji Street) is that they are made to go, so you’ll be able to find a quiet corner to enjoy your snack.

Candy A Go Go! – Another place on Takeshita Dori to indulge yourself in food rather than fashion, Candy A Go Go! is a large, colorful, and vibrant candy store that’s hard to miss. It’s usually crowded, a clear indication of just how popular the store’s candy is. Candy A Go Go! is an amusement park for candy. It’s filled with candy of different shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. It’s quite easy to leave with not just tons of candy, but some toothaches, as well. It’s a perfect place to pick up some candy that’s unique to Japan.

Small stores and boutiques – Lining Takeshita Dori are tons of boutiques and stores selling a range of clothing and accessories. These stores often carry the latest trends as well as pieces for a more counterculture style. Many unique and affordable items can be found all throughout Takeshita Dori’s small boutiques and stores, and are perfect for achieveing a quirky individual style. Also in many small stores and boutiques are cosplay pieces and accessories, as well as shirts, bags, and even pants sporting Disney and anime characters.

Meiji Street

Meiji Street is a long strip of stores, restaurants, department stores, and boutiques. There are many high-end stores as well as affordable options to choose from. Likewise, Meiji Street offers original Japanese brand clothing and accessories, as well as foreign and Western brands. Walking straight down from the station, you will reach a large intersection. Turning left or right situates you on Meiji Street. It is usually a crowded, bustling street, full of youthful trends and fashion statements.

WegoWego is a popular, fashionable, and lively chain of stores found in Tokyo. Many of the clothes, accessories, bags, and shoes are affordable yet well made. Wego is always up-to-date with the latest trends and styles. Pieces from Wego range from simple and basic to unique and bold. Wego also sells many graphic tees and sweatshirts with quirky designs, patterns, and phrases. You will definitely want to take something home with you from Wego, and one can be found on Meiji Street, right near the large Jonathan’s.

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando – This shopping complex is hard to miss. Heading straight from Harajuku Station and reaching the intersection, you will find Tokyu Plaza Omotesando right across the street, situated on the street corner. The complex features several floors of various shopping boutiques, selling items such as women’s clothes, jewelry, and even souvenirs and hobbyist collectibles. There are many different styles to choose from here, as well as a few cafes and coffee shops.

LaForet – LaForet is one of Harajuku’s most recognized shopping complexes. This large department store features a huge selection of shops and boutiques catering to different styles and trends. With a basement level, two half-basement levels, six upper levels, and several half upper levels, LaForet is a colossal shopping building full of vibrancy and youth. It is fairly easy to, sometimes unwittingly, spend many hours in LaForet perusing the vast multitude of shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Cat Street

Cat Street, Harajuku, Tokyo

Cat Street is Harajuku’s laid-back, quieter shopping street. It runs parallel to Meiji Street and feels more downtown than other areas of Harajuku. Shoppers are usually older, and stores and boutiques are usually more expensive. Cat Street provides a leisurely shopping experience, as it is generally less crowded than Takeshita Dori or Meiji Street, but it is no less vibrant and animated. Alongside chic stores and boutiques are many small cafes for a quick bite to eat. Access Cat Street through its entrance on Omotesando Avenue or through one of Meiji Street’s many side streets.

Beauty and Youth – A sophisticated women’s clothing store, catering to all ages. In addition to women’s clothing, Beauty and Youth also sells jewelry, shoes, and various other accessories. In the store there is also a home goods section, selling many miscellaneous home and interior decorative goods. The store carries the Beauty and Youth label, and other name brands, such as Levi’s, Adidas, and Lee. Beauty and Youth clothing is elegant, sporty, and chic, and while the clothing is expensive, the high quality will ensure they last you a lifetime.

W Closet – A small boutique that sells the trending styles but for more reasonable prices compared to other outlets on Cat Street. With its rustic interior, W Closet has a cool, down to earth atmosphere, much like Cat Street itself. The clothes are simple yet fashionable, complimenting a variety of individual styles and outfits. From jeans to stripe shirts, cropped sweaters to colorful sneakers, W Closet provides a more affordable yet no less trendy shopping experience on Cat Street.

too cool for school – This small makeup store can be found on both Cat Street and Meiji Street. A Korean cosmetics brand, too cool for school sells a variety of makeup and cosmetics in different shades and sizes. The boutique’s eyeliners, mascaras, blushes, and eye shadows are high quality and diverse, complimenting different skin tones and styles. In addition to makeup, too cool for school sells moisturizers, soaps, and facial masks, and the sales employees will let you try the cosmetics from their testing samples.

Harajuku has even more to offer than the shops, boutiques, and food venues listed in this guide. Exploring the multiple winding side streets, small stores, and restaurants is a great way to fully experience Tokyo’s center for trend setting.

Got some extra time to spend in the Harajuku and Omotesando area? We recommend visiting the bird cafe, indulging in some budget-friendly shopping in Omotesando and visiting the oh-so-cute Line Store.

December 27, 2015 0 comment
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Shopping Plaza on Takeshita-dori, Harajuku, Tokyo

Pop icons like Gwen Stefani and movies like Lost in Translation have elevated Harajuku and Omotesando to superstar status. Media portrayal of the area may lead you to expect nothing more than hoards or lolita girls with frilled parasols and layers of petticoats with carousel and cakes themes, or maybe even the darker side of “goth lolita.” But the culture and atmosphere of Harajuku and Omotesando is so varied and deep that a whole day really should be dedicated to it lest you miss something that you will never forget.

Before we get started, check out our video guide to Harajuku!

 

 To begin your journey, exit JR Yamanote Line’s Harajuku Station and start your day with an exploration of Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine tucked away in an enormous swath of trees. An interesting place for people watching, you can often catch sight of a Japanese-style wedding party as you head towards the shrine. Though the shrine itself is often crowded with visitors who have come to pray or buy good luck charms, you can find quiet pockets where you can enjoy views of Shinjuku’s skyscrapers if you take some extra time to explore the nooks and crannies of the shrine grounds.

Meiji Jingu Shrine harajuku and omotesando

Meiji Jingu shrine building, harajuku and omotesando

Hand washing at Meiji Jingu, harajuku and omotesando

Entrance to Meiji Jingu Shrine harajuku and omotesando

Omikuji, Meiji Jingu shrine, harajuku and omotesando

Meiji Jingu Shrine harajuku and omotesando

When you feel energized and ready to tackle the vibrant and often jam-packed streets of Harajuku, head back towards Harajuku Station, cross the street and turn left. When you walk through the arch of Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori (with an LED screen to welcome you in full regalia to boot) what will first hit you is not the fashion. Instead it is the sheer amount of pink, on the sides of the buildings and in the shops and on the people.

Shopping Plaza on Takeshita-dori, harajuku and omotesando

The highlights of Takeshita-dori are definitely in the super kawaii lolita and accessory shops that line the street. After stopping by Milk, one of the top lolita shops in Harajuku, head to Body Line, located on the second floor about halfway down the street. Body Line has a long and storied history and a strong and dedicated band of followers. Their clientele knows that Body Line is not a place for cheap deals and steals. Rather, Body Line is a place where you will get the best quality handmade garments around.

Another great spot to hit up on Takeshita-dori is the chain store Tutuanna. This hosiery store has everything from socks designed to be hidden under your high heels to special control top shapewear, plus some of the most unique stockings you will be able to find in Harajuku.

Tutuanna on Takeshita-dori, harajuku and omotesando

If you’re in the mood for a snack, Takeshita-dori is lined with famous crepe shops. We recommend Marion Crepes since it’s been filling happy bellies since 1976, but you really can’t go wrong wherever you stop. Though you can always opt for a savory crepe, doesn’t a warm, freshly baked crepe filled with a slice of cheesecake and ice cream sound so much better? After all, why go to Harajuku if you don’t want to experience the unicorn princess lifestyle? So dig into all of the parfaits, flavored popcorn, and chocolates you can find!

Crepe Stand, harajuku and omotesando

The last few steps of Takeshita-dori is where you can find the hipster and new age grunge fashions that are recently gaining popularity in the Tokyo fashion world. As you exit Takeshita-dori, you move into Omotesando, an eye-opening experience after emerging from the crowded and cramped Harajuku. The main highway-like roads are four lanes wide and people move from street to street in Shibuya-style masses. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M stand three or four stories tall and the sidewalks are gently shaded with rows of leafy trees. In a way, it almost feels like New York’s Soho nestled itself in the middle of a park. Despite both Harajuku and Omotesando having a commercial appearance, there is a treasure trove of little backstreets and exclusive boutiques to explore.

For a more laid-back and adult version of Takeshita-dori, try walking along Cat Street. To find it, take the street right next to the impressive five story shopping mall Gyre, and a hidden village-like walkway will open up to you. You’ll not only find several recognizable brand name shops like Adidas and Keene, but also Japan-exclusive stores.Ragtag, for example, hosts one of the widest selection of vintage and secondhand women’s and men’s clothing and home furnishings selection around. Although the prices at Ragtag are nowhere as cheap as you will find at Salvation Army or Goodwill, this place is a great store to walk away with some vintage Japanese and foreign designer labels.

Cat Street, Harajuku, harajuku and omotesando

Cat Street is good at hiding the best gems Omotesando has to offer, so keep your eyes peeled. What looks like a whitewashed garden gate is actually one of the best doughnut and bagel places in Omotesando, and be sure to walk up to the second level of the various buildings to find boutiques that may have only 25 or 30 items at most for sale. (For more unique ideas on where to shop, visit our Cat Street shopping guide.)

And Omotesando isn’t just about fashion. Whether you are 5 or 50, who can resist a quirky, wild and out there toy store? For both the innovative and the cute, take a stop by Kiddyland. With five floors to explore, the kid in you can run rampant, play with legos, look at Star Wars stuff, and hang out with Hello Kitty. Each floor is dedicated to a different genre and it’s like living Rudolph’s The Island of Misfit Toys, but so much happier! Dive headfirst into The Peanuts, anything Studio Ghibli, Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Gundam, Lego, and essentially every other kind of toy you can think of!

Omotesando Hills harajuku and omotesando

Omotesando Hills shopping complex

Aside from shopping, Omotesando is a great place to enjoy a snack. If you are still coming down from your sugar high after Takeshita-dori, grab a California-style avocado burger or Cesar salad from one of the many cafes and bars that line the street. Another alternative is Mos Cafe, which is like everyone’s favorite burger joint Mos Burger, but with a wider menu and delicious handcrafted salads and bento dishes.

If you have a hardcore sweet tooth, the handmade candy shop Candy Showtime turns gargantuan logs of spun sugar into little droplets of candy art right in front of your eyes. Also, get in on the latest food trend sweeping the Japanese nation: popcorn!! You will see lines two blocks deep of fans waiting to get a taste of KuKuRuZa Popcorn and it is highly suggested that you go and see what all the fuss is about!

Heiroku Sushi harajuku and omotesando

Whatever you choose to do in Harajuku and Omotesando, just keep one thing in mind: while it is a blast to see the major landmarks and famous establishments, this area of Tokyo has such a rich fashion and cultural history that it would be a shame to just stay on the beaten path. Make the experience your own and explore the never-ending back streets and tiny alleys where the true fashion and culinary delights are to be found. That way you will be able to carry away with you a piece of Harajuku and Omotesando that is truly yours. So get out to Harajuku and Omotesando and have fun!

If you’re looking for more shopping ideas in Omotesando, visit Omotesando on a Budget: 5 Must-Visit Shops and Cafes.

Note: To go directly into the heart of Omotesando, head to the Tokyo Metro’s Omotesando station instead. Either place is extremely easy to get to and if you are unfamiliar with the kanji for Omotesando and Harajuku, most signs will also have English incorporated so you will be good to go!

March 6, 2015 0 comment
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