During your time in Tokyo, making a stop over to the Harajuku neighborhood in Shibuya will introduce you to the home of Tokyo teen and vintage fashion, "kawaii" (cute) deserts, animal cafes, and much more. At popular hours and during the weekend, this street may be tough to navigate down as its full of tourists and locals alike. This is no reason to turn away though as this experience is one that the neighborhood of Harajuku is proud to display. This short article will go over some of the sites and stores you can see, as well as some suggested food stops to make you afternoon visit a memorable one. While you don't have to follow it to a tee, it will give you an idea of what the area is like and what you can see.
Given the short time you have in the neighborhood, this includes a walk down the bashful, colorful Takeshita Street, grabbing some animal inspired gelato at Eiswelt's Gelato, making your way through the fashion filled streets over to Harry's Hedgehog Cafe. After making a stop at Bio Ojiyan Cafe to grab some Japanese risotto you will make your way through more shopping over to Commune 2nd to grab a coffee or snack under the tent and enjoy some live music into the night.
Here is a map of what exploring Harajuku would be like given the above suggestions:
Takeshita Street and Eiswelt's Gelato
Starting at the entrance of the of the Takeshita Street you will begin your walk through the hustle and bustle of various shops and stores along the way. Things you will see are all kinds of different candy, pancake, and crepe stores, such as Marion Crepes who have a huge selection of different ones from strawberry cheese cake to tuna salad. You can make a pit stop to play with cats at the CatCafe Mocha if you'd like, or treat yourself to a unique dining experience at Kawaii Monster Cafe. Furthermore, the shopping is endless, ranging from dress up costumes to popular brands like H&M and Nike. You can even go to Daiso Harajuku where there are 3 floors of items for as little as 100 Yen!
If you make it down the 400 meter street and are still looking for a desert to try, Eiswelt's Gelato (based out of Los Angeles) is a fun place to grab some anime animal inspired ice cream. Whether it be a unicorn on top of a bear, a bunny on top of a pig, any combination of this homemade ice cream using original recipes is bound to leave your tastebuds wanting more.
More Fashion Stores, Harry's Zoo Cafe, and Lunch
After exploring Takeshita street, you'll walk across the intersection towards the Jingumae neighborhood within Harajuku that is home to a wide spectrum of the trendiest clothing shops in Tokyo, along with the most affordable. Brand names from Supreme, RRL, GR8, A+S (Architecture + Sneakers), and more can be found by wandering this area, as well as second hand shops where you can find some real clothing gems. If you're into vintage fashion, Solakzade offers sunglasses that date back all the way to the 1800's. If you'd like to add some excitement to your day, stop by Harry's Zoo Cafe, where you can have a drink and play with sea otters, hedgehogs, bunnies, and chinchillas.
If you're in the area or just finished playing with some animals in the cafe, we recommend checking out Bio Ojiyan Cafe to try some Japanese risotto and half off beer and wine brunch special.
After fueling up and ready to do some more exploring, you can continue to wander down the narrow streets of Harajuku or make your way over towards the main street where you will find high end fashion names like Gucci and Fendi at. All of these stores are modern and sleek so even just walking by them is enough entertainment. At the end of the street you will cross over the intersection and find yourself at your last stop of Commune 2nd. Here you will find an area filled with quaint stalls and old vans outfitted into bars and food vendors. Hang out in the tent set up with tables and bean bags while you relax and listen to a live music performance which usually starts when the sun goes down.
Check out the video below of a walk through Commune 2nd:
While the sheer size of Tokyo is hard to cover, the Shibuya neighborhood of Harajuku offers the perfect blend of Japanese fashion boutiques, delicious deserts, and a look into what the younger culture of the Japanese is like. Going earlier in the day is better given that the food and candy shops typically close early, around 7-8pm. With different animal cafe's in the area, you're bound to have a unique experience that will leave anyone who asks wanting to know more. While we only are giving suggestions of what we would hope would be a great day in Harajuku, you can also check out timeout.com to see what other activities and stores to check out during your time there. We hope that you enjoyed this short article and look forward to reading our next post on Japan!