Harajuku is an incredibly famous and popular district near central Tokyo, close to other shopping areas such as Shibuya and Shinjuku. Harajuku is home to some stylish, unique and reasonably priced stores, restaurants and jewellery shops. It was even inspiration for Gwen Stafani's song "Harajuku Girls".
Takeshita Street remains one of the busiest places to visit for tourists. If you're visiting Japan in the high season and you're not keen on crowds, try to avoid visiting Harajuku on peak days such as Saturday afternoons. Early in the morning on a weekday might be better.
Photo : David Alonso on FlickrHere are several things available to do on Takeshita Street during your visit to Harajuku, Tokyo.
How to Get There
There are two ways to get to Harajuku by train. You can either take the Yamanote Line, which is the main line circling through the bigger stations of Tokyo, or by going to Meijijingu-mae station on the Chiyoda Subway Line. Meijijingu-mae station is adjacent to Harajuku Station, so it doesn't matter which route you take.
Most tourists visit districts like Shibuya and Harajuku to go shopping, and visit one of the most stylish cities in the world to shop until they drop. There are plenty of great clothes stores on Takeshita Street that are definitely worth a visit.
Keep an eye out for people holding signs with special offers - some shops have shirts on offer for 100 yen (around $1 US dollar). Plenty of stores offer cheap shoes, skirts, dresses and shirts, so it's always worth a look. Shops such as Forever 21 and H&M also have some great offers.
If you're looking for certain styles, Takeshita Street (and the surrounding areas) offer countless different unique styles. You can get band shirts, 'princess' style, goth style, and even costumes. That's what makes this street so unique and popular. You can buy everything from boots to earmuffs, and band t-shirts to badges in lots of styles you might not get at home - and at decent prices, too.
Photo : niachan on Flickr
Accessories and Styles
As well as rings, earrings and other various types of jewellery, countless different kinds of accessories are available to buy in Harajuku. There is a shop that consists entirely of different kinds of wigs, for casual wear, cosplay or parties. There are shops that sell special lolita dresses. You can also buy temporary tattoos, many different kinds of make up and hair accessories.
Photo : TokyoViews on FlickrIf you're looking for a particular style, there are plenty of themed shops that cater to various tastes. There are the normal shops that sell every day styles - then there are the shops that sell Goth jewellery and clothes, or even 'Princess' style dresses, which are pretty and frilly. Harajuku aims to have something for everyone.
Photo : Tokyo Fashion on Flickr
Crepes and Bubble Tea
If you get peckish, there are plenty of places to try delicious Japanese snacks. A popular choice includes crepes, with sweet fillings available like banana, chocolate, strawberry, nuts and cream. They're quite big, so it might be an idea to share it between two people. They're usually around 500-1000 yen ($5-$10 dollars).
Another great thing to try is bubble tea - a refreshing drink served hot or cold in various flavours such as green tea or vanilla, with "bubbles" of tapioca in them - sounds strange, but I'd recommend it to anyone.
You can also usually buy ice cream, takoyaki and various other Japanese snacks there.
Near the end of Takeshita Street is an all-you-can-eat restaurant at reasonable prices (in case shopping tired you out). It sells a lot of western food to cater to tourists. If you're in the mood for some Japanese food, there are cheaper restaurants available on Takeshita Street. Keep an eye out for stairs leading down to a very cheap udon restaurant (on the right of the street, if you enter from the station).
Photo : http://www.ellenaguan.com/Near the entrance you will also find an American restaurant that sells excellent burgers and sodas. It's a little on the expensive side, though - if you're on a tight budget, stick with Japanese food.
Purikura is a unique Japanese photo booth game where you take home small stickers featuring pictures of you and your friends. They're extremely popular amongst high school girls and groups. They're mostly associated with girls, but men can join in too.
You can find Purikura stands in arcades and shopping malls. Harajuku has several, usually down steps leading to a basement level.
To play, enter a stall and follow the instructions. You will be able to take several pictures of yourselves and choose the ones you like best. After that, you can edit and add stickers, words and colours to your photographs to customise them. You can send them to your phone if you wish, and print them out as stickers. They're an excellent way to remember your time in Harajuku.