Harajuku And Omote Sando, Tokyo
Since we were in Harajuku for Hanami at Yoyogi, we stopped at the Togo Shrine, which is a kind of bookend to the Nogi Shrine. Admiral Togo annihilated the Russian fleet in 1904-1905. Not surprisingly, his shrine is entered by crossing water -- in this case a huge koi pond, shadowed by more of the ubiquitous cherry trees. It was the first place where I'd seen a charm for boating safety!
A bookshop and a small museum are located on the grounds of the shrine.
Takeshita Dori (“dori” means street) is a narrow street in the district of Tokyo known as Harajuku. This district is known as a focal point for some of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, and Takeshita Dori is the epitome of Harajuku. Its narrow pedestrians-only (thankfully!) length is lined with uber-trendy clothes shops interspersed with the kind of refreshment stops likely to appeal to its mainly teenage market. This is a great place to come, and in particular on a Sunday, if you want to see Tokyo’s youth at play.
The most eccentric and colourful fashions will be those of the so-called “cosplay” aficionados, cosplay being short for costume play, in which fans of animė, manga etc dress in the costumes of favourite characters. While this started as a practice for fan conventions and similar gatherings, today it has extended into life on the streets and the range of costumes widened. There are even (though we didn’t see any) cosplay restaurants where the waitresses are dressed as video game or anime characters, or maid restaurants where they dress as maids. As well as these costumes you’re likely to see Goth, punk and many other styles – often several combined in the one outfit! And the shop windows of course display fashions in the same vein. I wasn’t surprised to read later that Lady Gaga apparently shops in at least one of these!
Our group had split up at this point, with not everyone wanting to brave the crowds here, but Chris and I squeezed ourselves into the crush of people walking along Takeshita Dori and wove our way between them. The shops here are mainly independent ones, clearly targeted at the young people who flock here to shop for cute accessories and the latest fashions, but there are one or two chains among them, including 7-Eleven and McDonalds for refreshment breaks. We wanted something more Japanese than the latter so, despite feeling a little out of place in this crowd, decided on lunch at the Caffe Solare which had both Western and Japanese light meals (I had a great toasted sandwich with avocado and cheese – so not so Japanese after all maybe!) We managed to get a table by an upstairs window which gave us a great vantage point from which to watch the passing crowds.
After lunch we walked a little further down the street and grabbed some more photos. But unless you’re a youthful shopper you will probably not want to spend a long time here, though it’s certainly worth a look, especially if you’re in the area to visit nearby Yoyogi Park and the Meiji shrine .
The Omotesando Boulevard is lined up with boutiques from the famous brands. If you are a shopperholic for branded goods, you must pay a pilgrimage to this street. Famous brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Christian Dior, Loewe, Channel, Celine, United Colors of Benetton can be found along this busy street, The Omotesando Hills has some nice café and restaurant where you could chill out. Do no miss the Prada Building which is a highly photographed architecture.
If you are on a budget, have no fear as the 4 storey 100 yen Daiso is just around the corner located at Takeshita Dori and is just opposite the Harajuku Station.
Takeshita Dori is a street where you can find stall on both side of the lane selling teenagers clothing and accessories. The highlight for me will be the 100 yen shop which has four storey selling things from household and gardening equipment, cosmetics, food stuff, stationery, kitchen and dinning utensils.
You will have to check out the stalls when you are here. You will also be able to see some teenagers dressed in their costplay costumes
Harjuku is accessible by Harajuku (Chiyoda Line) Station, JR Shibuya Station and Omotesando Station (Chiyoda Line).
Japan's street scenes are very, very lively with their own brand of pop culture. Catch a train to Harajuku on a Sunday and see their pop culture come to life, you won't regret it, I promise you.
You'll see many young folks dressed to kill. You don't have to worry about your safety though, these teenagers are just there to have a good time and they'll even pose for you if you ask them.
For more details, check out my harajuku page
For a glimpse into Japanese teenage lifestyle and culture, take the JR train to Harajuku station. Upon alighting, cross the main street and look out for the entrance to Takeshita Dori, a narrow pedestrian street where you will find cheap and chic fashions, accessories such as sun-glasses, charm bracelets, earrings, trendy silver toe rings and knick-knacks.
You really cannot miss it - just look out for the crowds of 15-19 year olds streaming out onto the street from the station.
Want to purchase one of those cute short pleated school girl skirts, or a pair of army camoflauge pants, maybe even a gothic housemaid's costume in red and black leather - this is the place you would want to come to!
There are numerous side-streets and shops that are located at street level, at basement level and also on upper floors. Takeshita Dori is certainly popular with the 15-something crowd, and when I was there, there was a documentary or movie being shot (see pics).
Don't miss it!
This is a cool place for young teenagers and young at heart individuals to shop, dine and entertain.
You can see extreme teen cultures and fashion statements.
Wander around Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets. Wild and young again.
Just a note, when you take the JR train to Harajuku station, please walk to the end of the station where there is a stairway down. This will take you direct to the entrance of Takeashita Dori street so that you don't have to find your way back again. The other exit seem to go a further way off.
I would say the best way to describe this is that Harajuku is to Tokyo what the East Village is to NYC. Harajuku is where kids hang out to see and be seen, shop for pop culture stuff, music, clothes and show off their unique styles. I mean I see the raver kids in LA, but I saw a woman who looked more like a college football mascot than night life afficionada. Takeshita Dori is a pedestrian street lined with shops and packed with young people hanging out. I recommend that if you want to people watch, grab a coffee or coke at one of the shops and just watch the world go by. Japanese kids often lead such proscribed lives that fashion and hobbies are the only real way for them to express individuality...so they throw themselves into it with gusto. Enjoy the scene. If you walk to the end of Takeshita -dori and turn right, you'll hit
More upscale and slightly more grown up than Takeshita Dori, Meiji Dori is a tree lined boulevard with lots of swank, cool shops, cafes and restaurants. It's a really cool place to hang out, watch people, have a bite or a drink and maybe buy a hello kitty coin purse for your friend.
If you're in Harajuku to see what all the fuss is that Gwen Stefani is always on about then you are probably looking for Takeshita-Dori which is a pedestrian only street opposite Harajuku station.
It is here where you are likely to see some of those world-renowned Harajuku girls (and boys) apparently they all come out on a Sunday and unfortunately we weren't in Tokyo on a Sunday but we still saw a few eccentrically dressed people.
Takeshita-Dori is good for shopping if you're into the whole scene (this is where you will find all the cosplay, crazyness and kawaii). This is also where you will find the Harajuku crepe (yum yum separate tip about that later!)
That's right, in fact the folks here want to be oogled at and hence they have really dressed up to catch your attention. On Sundays, head down to Takeshita Street in Harajuku and look out for these famous uniquely (more weird and wonderful too) dressed young people. It's the place to see and to be seen!
On this street, you'll find funky, trendy shops that won't cost an arm and a leg like Ginza. It gets super crowded here so watch out you have been warned.
If you want to go to Harajuku for shopping, you should go on Sundays, cuz you'll see a lot of cosplayers there, dressed up in customs, with makeups and hairdos... although some of them might look horrifying.. but most of them are actually very friendly and they don't mind you taking pictues with them.. I guess they are happy to take picture, cuz more ppl wanna take pics with them, means that they have dressed in customs~~
Like the one in the pictue, he was very happy to post for us to take pic~ ^_^
.....Starting in the 1990's, as Japan's economic jauggernaut started losing its steam, groups of rebellious Japanese young girls started dressing up as anime characters, lolitas, goths and other outlandish characters and socializing near the entrance to Yoyogi Park in Harajuku on Sundays. They did this because it irritated the older, nose-to-the-grindstone generation. This continues to the present day and got so famous that Gwen Stefani actually dressed her back-up singers in this style. While most of these people are girls, I can't vouch that they all are! I was there on a refreshing spring day and found them clustered on the Jingu bridge that one would have to cross going from Harajuku Station to the Meiji Shrine or Yoyogi Park.
.....Among the fashion trends they started in Japan was "kawaii" chic, where kawaii is the Japanese word for cute. Excessive cuteness was seen as rebellion against the older generations, and kawaii chic has spawned such world-wide icons as Hello Kitty.
For a truly surreal experience go to Harajuku on a Sunday. The girls and some men are dressed up in the most outrageous clothes. You have to appreciate the effort they take to dress up. You should be able to ask them to pose for a photo.
Harajuku is the center of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. Costume play (cosplay) teenagers resembling anime characters are around the streets of Harajuku on sundays. The main street crowded with people shopping and cosplay characters is Takeshita Dori. On this street and its side streets you can find many trendy shops, fashion boutiques as well as some historic sights.