Harajuku Sightseeing Guide
Harajuku - Teenage Cultures,
Fashionable Streets & Beautiful Parks
Descriptions of Harajuku
The district around Harajuku Station is known as one of the coolest districts in Japan with its pop cultures, fashionable streets and beautiful parks.
Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dori) represents the teenage cultures and fashion trends of Japan.
Strolling along the street, you will find casual boutiques, unique boutiques, shops, restaurants, cafes and crepe stands.
In many shops, the merchandise is not very expensive for teenage customers. Especially on weekends, you will be surprised to see people in costumes like dolls or rock musicians.
Omotesando is a broad avenue towards Meiji-Jingu Shrine (Meiji Shrine).
There are some souvenir shops that are popular among international tourists. For example, Oriental Bazaar sells interesting goods related to Japanese culture. Near Oriental Bazaar, there is a big toy store named Kiddy Land. A wide range of character items such as Totoro, Rilakkuma, etc, figure-dolls and any trending toys are assorted in its 5 floors.
Lined with trendy shops, cafes and luxury brand shops such as Luis Vuitton, Omotesando is often said to be Champs-Elysees in Japan.
Direct Guide to Harajuku
From Tokyo Station
Take JR Yamanote Line (via Shinagawa, Shibuya) to Harajuku.
(around 25 minutes, \190)
From Shinjuku Station
Take JR Yamanote Line (via Shibuya, Shinagawa) to Harajuku.
(around 5 minutes, \130)
Take JR Yamanote Line (via Shibuya, Shinjuku) to Harajuku.
(around 15 minutes, \160)
From Shibuya Station
Take JR Yamanote Line (via Shinjuku, Ikebukuro) to Harajuku.
(around 2 minutes, \130)
Travel Freely like a Local!
Other Ways to Harajuku
There are also Subway stations in Harajuku; Omotesando Station of Ginza, Hanzomon, and Chiyoda Line and Meiji-Jingu Station of Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Line). But I don’t recommend them if you have a good access to Harajuku Station because the main entrance faces it.
See The Easiest Subway Maps.
Get a Google Map of Harajuku
Things to Do & See in Harajuku
Go out of the station through Takeshita Exit and the coolest street in Japan is just in front of you.
Takeshita Street is not very wide, but uncountable interesting things are waiting for us everywhere in the 350 meters.
If you are enthusiastic enough to learn in advance, you can get an official PDF map. (in Japanese)
Shops like this sell trendy hair accessories, pins, bracelets, necklaces, iPhone accessories, etc. at reasonable prices. Not just for souvenirs, it is a good idea to buy one and put it on upon the spot. There are men’s shops, too. Some offer discounts for international customers.
Tip: Daiso the 100 Yen Shop
Different from ordinary 100 yen shops, Daiso in Takeshita Street (next to this accessory shop) offers a lot of good Japanese souvenirs. Many cost only 100 yen or very low price!
You will find trendy clothes of many tastes in Takeshita Street.
They are not very expensive (around 1000 yen - ,) so it is a paradice for those who want both of quality and quantity.
When to Visit Takeshita Street
Many shop open at 11 a.m.
It is on weekends when cos-players gather and events are held.
To experience Harajuku culture at the most, visiting there around 11 a.m. on weekends is the best and comfortable.
Harajuku area gets very crowded in the afternoon on weekends (even locals feel so.) If you don't like tiring places, I recommend avoiding that time.
There are unique boutiques around here. (I can't show you because most of them have no-photo policy. Some cos-players started to cooperate with designers, etc, to manage copy rights of costumes to enjoy cos-playing more.)
Crepes are very popular and they are iconic foods in Harajuku. You can choose from dozens of toppings. 1 for 400 - 600yen.
Not only popular toppings for all the seasons like the photo above, there are often some seasonal menus. For example, this is a winter limited topping with strawberries, cream, cheese cake and rice dumplings (500 yen).
To order, just tell the number of the display you like!
Some impostors are witnessed around here.
Some accuse single walkers falsely of hurting them and others invite guys to their shop/office to make you buy accessories.
Takeshita Street strictly forbids luring people from the street into shops to maintain Harajuku safe.
Generally, Harajuku is NOT a dangerous district.
Just in case you get into trouble with them, don't be afraid, keep going and ignore them. And they will not chase you.
(Police Emergency Number is 110 or Harajuku Police Station Number is 03-3408-0110.)
Laforet Harajuku is a popular shopping center for fashion.
The building is full of cool shops for young people.
To explore Harajuku culture, the underground floors, which have boutiques selling costumes, are must-sees. If you are a cosplay fan, Lolita clothes are all here.
Opening Hours 11:00 - 21:00, 365 days
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
Laforet Harajuku is at the corner where Omotesando Avenue and Meiji Street are crossing. Across from the street, there is Tokyu Plaza, a new shopping center that opened in 2012.
Travel Tip: The Starbucks store in the rooftop garden is a Concept Store called "Starbucks in the sky."
It is surrounded by greenery and serves original foods, so it is a beautiful place to have a coffee break. You can use free Wi-Fi, too.
See how it is like - Must-Know Travel Tips in Harajuku/Omotesando, Japan - Artistic & Delicious Starbucks
This is Oriental Bazaar, a popular souvenir shop for international tourists. You cannot miss it because of its oriental-designed look next to the modern building of Christian Dior. Not only tourists, many international people living in Japan get presents to send to their family.
Opening Hours 10:00A.M.-7:00P.M.
Closed Every Thursday
Kiddy Land Harajuku
Kiddy Land is a big toy store selling plenty of items of popular characters.
You will find most popular characters such as Hello Kitty, Totoro and other Ghibli characters, One Piece, Mario, Rilakkuma, Tamagotchi, and so on. The items selected by Kiddy Land are always trendy. In the temporary sections, hot characters at the moment welcome us. The figure doll displays in the 3rd floor is famous among the fans.
These days, they also sell attractive things for travelers such as samurai sword umbrellas.
Opening Hours 11:00 - 21:00 on weekdays, 10:30 - 21:00 on weekends and public holidays
Fashion & Trends
If you are looking for something fashionable in the most fashionable avenue in Japan, this hat shop will be a great place.
CA4LA (pronounce "ka-shi-la") is selling many cool hats in every season. Their hats are all made-in-Japan, so you will remember your trip to Harajuku every time you wear yours.
Opening Hours: 11:00 - 20:00
Omotesando Hills is one of the most fashionable shopping centers in Japan. If you want to have a tea break, there are great cafes and restaurants here.
Although this building is quite large, the slope inside is surprisingly friendly to customers walking a lot.
Open at 11:00
- 21:00 (20:00 on Sunday) for Shops
- 23:30 (22:30 on Sunday) for restaurants
- 22:30 (22:30 on Sunday) for cafes
(Depends on events etc.)
Monday is Women's Day, many offer some service.
Apple Stores are cool in any cities in the world, but Omotesando Store is especially large and artistic. If you want supports for your iPhone, remember this store along Omotesando Avenue.
Apple Store Omotesando
Opening Hours: 10:00 - 21:00 every day
See Google Maps
Meiji Shrine & Yoyogi Park
Harajuku is not a place only for trends. Meiji Jingu Shrine back from the station has a large woods where many kinds of birds inhabit. The iris garden in June is especially famous.
Yoyogi Park just next to Meiji Shrine is large and beautiful, so there are always people picnicking or doing outdoor activities. Some events are held almost every weekend (For example, see Brazil Festival) and the biggest is Super Yosakoi Dance Festival in August.
Yoyogi Park is one of the best cherry blossom spots in Tokyo, too. In late March to early April, many people go sakura viewing under cherry trees blooming fully.
If you hope to see MORE of Harajuku, please visit Blog Tokyo Direct Diary.
Have a nice trip!
Harajuku Event Calender
|1 - 7, August||Tanabata (Japanese Star Festival)||Takeshita Street||Held in August based on the lunar calendar. Make a wish and send it to stars.|
|On the last weekend in August||Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi Festival||Omotesando Avenue, Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu Shrine and some streets||More than 100 teams perform Yosakoi, an energetic Japanese dance. See photos and explanations here.|
|December until 25||Happy Winter||Takeshita Street||Takeshita Street's winter event with draws to get Christmas presents.|
There are some events in Yoyogi Park almost every weekend.
Accommodation in Harajuku
Harajuku is not a place to stay; There are not hotels in Harajuku.
If you want to stay in a convenient place to go to Harajuku, I recommend Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa. JR Yamanote Line will take you in 15 minutes at the most.
Shibuya - The Neighboring Station
Shibuya is a trend-leading district as well as Harajuku. There are some great hotels in Shibuya. Some big brilliant shopping centres were built in recent years. There are museums, musical instruments shops, artists’ material shops, etc, too.
Shinjuku - The 2nd Station
Shinjuku is one of the busiest districts in Japan. Some of the most luxurious hotels are here and accommodation at the lowest prices in Tokyo is also in Shijuku.
Shinagawa - the 6th station
If you have a plan to take a plane or Shinkansen Line (Japanese super express) to Kyoto or other cities, Shinagawa is a very convenient place to stay. Shinkansens including the fastest trains stop at Shinagawa Station and there is Keikyu Line led to Haneda Airport. You have good access to anywhere in Tokyo with JR Yamanote Line, and convenient to visit Tsukiji Market with Keikyu Line as well.
Blog Post: Shinagawa in Tokyo: 5 Reasons to Stay There - Shinagawa Prince Hotel Attractions
Book a Hotel as Near Harajuku as Possible
If you definitely want a hotel as near Harajuku as possible, the maps will help you search a good one.
Search Hotels in Harajuku
Yamanote Lineis a loop-line running in the mid Tokyo, so you will easily find the way from other Yamanote Line stations such as Tokyo, Ueno, etc, to Harajuku.