Tokyo's lively street fashion centre is perfect for shopping, snacking and taking in the vibe.
The main thoroughfare in Harajuku is Takeshita Street, which is lined with clothing, footwear, makeup and accessory boutiques as well as small shops selling souvenirs, 100 yen goods and sweet treats.
There are also numerous snack kiosks. One specialty snack in Harajuku is the crepe, which is typically topped with fresh cream and fruit or chocolate.
Harajuku has a youthful atmosphere as most of its clientele are in their teens or early twenties, but it also attracts the young at heart searching for up-and-coming trends. After all, it is the home of the kawaii cute Japanese popular culture that has taken the world by storm, as well as numerous other fashion innovations, including Lolita fashion, which focuses on Victorian clothing.
As a place that drives consumer booms not only in Japan, but also globally, Harajuku is a pulsating and energising place that changes continuously.
Major international fashion retail stores that target the younger market, such as H&M, Zara and Forever21, all keep a close watch on the hot trends exciting the fashion-conscious teens who flood to this fashion mecca. Shoemakers are also among the brands known to test the market in Harajuku to see what styles will prove most attractive.
With such renown for top trends, Harajuku is a great place to find items that are unique not only to Tokyo, but also to Japan.
Clothing with bright patterns, logos and character themes are particularly popular. Snoopy and Hello Kitty are two of the current must-have motifs, available on everything from T-shirts and jeans to hats and socks.
After all that shopping and exploring, treat yourself to Harajuku's speciality: creamy crepes topped with fruit or chocolate. There is a vast array of flavours – certainly more than in Baskin Robbins – and you can find crepe shops on virtually every corner.
Nearby Takeshita Street is LaForet Harajuku, a shopping mall that houses about 90 small shops and boutiques packed with the latest trendy fashions.
Across the street is Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, with its strangely disorientating wall-of-mirrors entrance. This place has a dazzling selection of high-end Japanese and international fashion brand names, all competing for your yen.
If you get peckish you can find a wide range of restaurants and cafes on many of the side streets off Meji Dori, the main street.
The easiest way to get to Harajuku is by the JR Yamanote Line. Get off at Harajuku Station. (Exit through Takeshita Gate, which puts you right in front of Takeshita Street).
Find out more
For more about the district, visit the Official Tokyo Travel Guide’s Harajuku page.