A fun, fashionable and fastastical list awesome KAWAII things to do in and around Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan.
Harajuku is a MUST see destination in Tokyo for any fashion fanatic interested in alternative and downright crazy subculture trends, shopping and street style. I spent one week hanging out Harajuku and surrounding Shibuya and Jingumea with Tokyo Way tours in order to uncovered the best shops and most secretive spots that will give Haute Culture readers the most authentic experience when visiting Japan’s fashion capitol.
1. Take a walk down Takeshita street
The beating pulsing flamboyant kawaii heart of Harajuku. Takeshita street has escalated from a small time subculture hangout to a glittering mega brand shopping sensation. Each weekend the 500 meter pedestrian ally is pounded by tens of thousands pink clad teenagers looking to stock up on more cheap and cheer full pink accessories, pink candy floss and pink flavored crepes. I reckon it’s the most pink place in Tokyo. This is the by far the best shopping spot for fun fashion, toys, glitter, costumes, hair accessories, candy, fake eyelashes and sunglasses.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!!
2. Eat rainbow colored crepes and candy floss
Takeshita street kids are famous for nomming down crepes, candy floss and even chocolate covered potatoes chips at a extortionate rate. After all, no serious shopaholic can concentrate without a multitude of rainbow colored sugar snacks.
3. Have your Purikura photos taken
“What the heck is this?” I hear you ask. Well this is all the rage with kids in Harajuku who come in their hoards to have their Purikura photos printed. It’s basically a photo booth with a green screen that manipulates your face to look as “kawaii” as possible. Japans obsession with younger and whiter skin, bigger brighter eyes, and skinnier noses are then combined with a variety of anime style facial expressions and hand gestures. Pick your backdrop and use the touch screen with digital pen to decorate your photos with cute statements and cartoon stamps.
4. Dine at the Kawaii Monster Cafe
Nothing can prepare you for the fantasy, insanity and attention to detail at this bewilderingly brilliant cafe. It’s like being in a cross fire between Tim Burtons Alice in Wonderand, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Care Bears. The spaghetti is even rainbow colored. The Kawaii Monster Cafe delivers EVERYTHING you need for a crazy experience visiting Tokyo.
5. Have a Lolita makeover at Maison de Julietta
According to Maison de Julietta Lolita fashion is inspired by the former Queen of France Marie Antoinette, the Rococo Era and Victorian England. I’ve wanted to do this FOREVER! and it didn’t disappoint. To all the true fashion loving geeks out there, getting made over in Japans kawaii Sweet Lolita subculture was bucket list experience I will never forget. Watch the Video and read the original article from a earlier post here!
6. Stroll in stylish Shibuya
Take a left and cross over the street at the end of Harajuku’s Takeshita street and you have arrived at the seriously sophisticated and stylish Shibuya shopping district. You don’t have to be a millionaire to walk around in awe of some of the world best concept architecture for luxury brands like Prada, Chanel and Yohji Yamamoto. THE BEST SECRET SHOP EVER IS BEDROCK. Hidden under the facade of a cafe called Forbidden Fruit on Omesando Street (see photos below) walk through to the back of the cafe and down the secret spiral staircase to find the poshest punk rock boutique in Asia.
7. Jingumae Backstreets
Jingumae is the stylish yet still alternative big sister of Harajuku. Located at the bottom of Takeshita Street behind the Harajuku tourist information center, Jingumae’s back streets are a mix of residential homes, art galleries, concept cafes, barber shops and brilliant boutiques. Exploring this area was the highlight of my trip to Harajuku as everywhere you walk around you feel that you are discovering secret subculture stores. Don’t forget to look down alleys, up at balconies and even underground in basements. Here are some of my favorite as most notable stores from Jingumae.
♥ 6% Doki Doki – Step into the original crazy and kawaii world of Harajuku pop trance Decora subculture fashion. The store is like a life size rubix cube converged with a disco ball. The staff are dress to match the decor and look equally as impressive.
♥ Dog – I’m not gonna lie, DOG blew my mind. Apparently this legendary brand is Lady Gaga’s favorite shop in Japan and its not hard to see why. From the street outside Dog can easily be ignored and mistaken as a drug den. When you walk do the graffiti laden stairs and into to basement prepare to be wowed by some of the most eccentric, elaborate and expensive hand customized, reworked and vintage punk costumes and clothes you will ever see.
♥ Robe Japonica – This slick and stylish menswear boutique looks more like a contemporary art gallery than a shop. Selling a stunning selection kimonos and perspex geta (mens traditional thong sandals) in the latest Japanese print and pattern trends.
♥ Vintage shopping – There are tons of phenomenal vintage shops in Tokyo, but there very little/no digging for a bargin to be had here. Every shop showcases the best handpicked vintage pieces from the US and Europe. But don’t be fooled into thinking its going to be cheap, as the 2nd hand choreographed collections are priced at a premium in most places.
♥ Kimono Flea markets and stalls are scattered throughout most shopping districts selling a wide range of beautifully designed second hand kimonos, obi’s and haori (kimono jackets) from different materials at very reasonable prices. I bought my haori seen below for just $10.
Have you been to Harajuku? Are you a Lolita lady yourself? Do you have anymore insights to Japanese fashion subcultures, shopping or things to do? Please share your experiences, ideas and suggestions in the comments box below, we would love to hear from you.
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