Harajuku, often described as a heart of Japanese youth culture, attracts many visitors from Japan and abroad for the ‘Kawaii Culture’. However, Harajuku has many more reasons for being one of the best tourist spot in Tokyo; colorful sweets, various unique fashion stores and Purikura (photo booth) at Takeshita Street, small boutiques and cafes at Cat Street, luxury shopping at Omotesando and historical sites at Meiji Shrine etc., here is the complete guide to Harajuku.
You may have seen the picture of the street below, always packed with people and small shops. It’s Takeshita Street (竹下通り), which is widely recognized as the main shopping street in Harajuku area. It is easily accessible from JR Harajuku station, and stretches about 350 meters with a wide range of shops, cafes and restaurants mainly targeting teenagers and young adults. If you have never visited there before, it is a good idea to spend some time walking around the lively street until you get used to the overwhelming crowds!
Takeshita Street always offers something for everyone. Try popular sweets such as crepes or rainbow cotton candy. You can find serval crepe shops in Takeshita Street, and often find a long line in front of the popular crepe store! After having some sweets and check out these small shops on the street, try Purikura, a photo booth which is very unique to Japan since it will make you look like completely a different person with some cute effects and filters!
If you prefer to enjoy shopping in a calm atmosphere, Cat Street is the perfect destination for you! It refers to a peaceful street stretching about 1 km from Harajuku down to Shibuya area. It boasts a number of luxurious shops and boutiques dealing with high fashion brands. You can also encounter impressive second-hand clothing shops offering great deals. Take a break at cozy cafes, or try multiethnic cuisine at wonderful restaurants. You will be surprised how different a street can be if you compare with Takeshita Street and Cat Street!
Popular Shopping Complexes in Harajuku
On a rainy day, visit Laforet Harajuku to enjoy shopping comfortably inside. Less than 5 minutes walk from JR Harajuku station, it is a giant shopping complex which features a wide collection of products and merchandises. About 140 shops welcome visitors with trendy clothing and accessories, it’s fun to walk around stores to stores which sell some unique clothes only available in Tokyo! You can get some light meals and snacks on the second floor, such as Mexican food, noodles, bubble tea and so on.
Omotesando Hills is known as a giant complex situated in Omotesando area. It takes only 10 minutes from Takeshita street to reach this symbolic shopping spot which consists of about 100 shops as well as private residence floors and parking lots. The modern exterior and a large collection of luxurious shops attracts people looking for a more sophisticated shopping experience.
Kiddy Land is a unique shop specialized in character goods and pop-culture products. They attract numerous international visitors looking for world-famous character toys such as Hello Kitty and Peanuts. You can find some adorable gifts for your kids or friends who love Japanese pop-culture as well. A large collection of products includes cute mugs, pajamas, socks, and more that you can use on a daily basis. They also deal with limited products that can be purchased only at this store.
Harajuku is home to Meiji Shrine (明治神宮), a sacred shrine known as the most visited one during the first three days of new year in Japan. It was originally built in 1920 in order to enshrine Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken (What is Meiji Period?). As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tokyo, it welcomes numerous visitors from around the world all year round. As you walk through the mystic approach leading to the main shrine, you will probably forget that you are in the heart of a world-class metropolitan city. It also covers a vast area, including peaceful forests and a beautiful garden called Meiji Shrine Imperial Garden. Explore the scenic garden in June, when beautiful iris flowers are in full bloom!
Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) is another relaxing spot situated right next to it. This 5th largest park in Tokyo allows you to enjoy a refreshing stroll in nature, and in spring, it is very popular spots for cherry blossom viewing. You will find many people spending their time freely, for example, running, doing Yoga, playing some instruments at the park.
If you want to continue your journey of historical spots in Harajuku area, head to Togo Shrine. It is dedicated to Togo Heihachiro, who is known as the admiral of the fleet in the Imperial Japanese Navy in the early 20th century. He also served as the Commander-in-chief of the combined fleet during the Russo-Japanese war from 1904 through 1905.
You can reach the sacred shrine from Takeshita street, the busiest street in Harajuku area we introduced above. They enshrine him as a deity of victory, and offer a range of services such as a special personal prayer for people who wish for victory or success in study as well as romantic relationships. You can also get unique Omamori, a lucky charm featuring a picture of Hello Kitty on it!
Japan Wonder Travel Tours
Japan Wonder Travel offers the best guided tours all over Japan.
We operate various kinds of exciting tours ranging from food and drink tours to private walking tours. We can also arrange your trip upon your request.
- Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
You can walk around Harajuku area including Takeshita Street and Meiji Shrine on this tour with a knowledgeable guide! You will learn background stories and histories about this area, and try out the best things to do and eat during the tour.
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