Top 10 Things To Do in Harajuku

By Angie momo - Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Hello everyone!! 
I am finally doing this back-dated post (My apologies) about my recommendations for Harajuku, mainly on Takeshita Street, which I have visited quite a few times during my 12 days trip in Tokyo, Japan. Takeshita Street is a shopping street, which is located just across Harajuku Station and it is lined with various unique fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

I believe that Japanese fashion especially Harajuku fashion has influenced and shaped me into who I am right now. Reminiscing about all those times, I did not regret anything because despite feeling less confident, I feel that I did shine beautifully back then. Even though I have slowly drifted away from the sub-culture fashion, my heart is still within as I still love them, my pastel tones and anything kawaii. ❤ 

If you have been a loyal follower, you would have known that I have participated quite actively since the beginning of Harajuku Fashion Walk Singapore in 2014 till my last walk in October 2015. You can check out all these links if you are interested in my mini stories of the previous Harajuku Walks that I have attended:          

Nevertheless, I was super thrilled to finally step onto the streets of Harajuku, where I can be inspired once again by creative individuals sporting fashion styles that are uniquely theirs. I shall stop the talking of myself here and begin my mini adventure in Harajuku, Tokyo. Please kindly note that this post will be lengthy with a flood of pictures while it acts as your sneak peek of Harajuku or Takeshita Street before visiting the actual place.

About Harajuku
Harajuku (原宿) is known widely as the heart of Japan's youth cultures and fashion styles. According to japan-guide, it refers to the area around Tokyo's Harajuku Station, which is between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. While this post's focal point will be on Takeshita Street, please rest assured that Harajuku definitely has more unexplored areas that my partner and I were unable to cover due to time constraint. 

1. "Purikura" time! (Neoprints)
With an increase in social media platforms, it is often difficult to find a purikura machine here in Singapore in recent years. The one that I had last visited with my partner months back at *Scape, Orchard was not really functioning as well due to its faculty camera. Thus, visiting Takeshita Street to take purikura was a must-do thing in my list. 

Why I love taking Purikura: Other than taking these photo stickers for memory keeping, it was also all about the process of having fun posing and designing them there after with my friends. Taking purikura was considered a mini out-of-school activity I did with my close friends during primary school days when I was probably 11-12 years old. Back in the past, purikura was printed in a form of card and taking once costs approximately S$5 unlike present times, where it costs S$11-$12 per session.

However, in Japan, taking once only costs 400 yen, approximately around S$4.80 with our conversion rates back in late May. That just explains all the more reason why we should take at Harajuku. In addition, the machine selections in Japan were insanely incredible with super cute designs, endorsed by popular Japanese models, admired amongst Japanese teenagers.

What's more, you can simply select your favourite pictures, key in your e-mail and the photos will be sent directly to you in soft copy! How convenient! Tip: Since the machine has left & right user during the design session, why not choose different photos so that you can keep more digital copies!

2. Shopping Recommendations
The line of boutiques that stretches till the end of Takeshita Street has way too many choices that you cannot exactly finish shopping (in detailed) them in a day. I did not exactly take much pictures of the shops themselves because I was rather more focused on shopping than snapping. Nevertheless, here are some of the boutiques that I love to patronise in Takeshita Street and around Harajuku during my stay in Tokyo.

Daily: 10.30am to 8.30pm
Address: 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 1 Chome-1 9-5

It is a fresh fashion brand that is based on the trend from Harajuku, targeted towards females. USED MIX was proposed in their concept, in other words, used items and new items are mixed together. It is also under the same company as WEGO, a popular street fashion brand.

They have a variety of used clothes, ranging from your usual tees, bottoms to peignoir, where you can try pairing with your newly purchased clothes to create a different look. WC also have special collaboration with LA artist, Esther Kim from time to time.

Weekdays: 12pm to 8pm
Weekends & Public Holidays: 11am to 8pm
Address: 4-32-12-1F Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Looking for 70's and 80's inspired fashion? You can turn to Bubbles for help! Their clothes incorporate unique, cool and carefree styles together with latest trends to cater to customers' preferences. The colours in their clothing choices can range from really sophisticated colours like red, black to doll-like pastel ones such as mint, baby pink and so on.

Weekdays: 11am to 8pm
Festival days: 11am to 7.30pm
Address: 3-24-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

Being a fan of fairy kei (style), Nile Perch was the brand that I always turn to for coordinate inspirations. The pastel, soft and baby colours on their clothing just makes me feel so fluffy and like a little girl all over again. Nile Perch's clothing is all made in Japan with their personal designs and prints, where you can see little teddy bears, rabbits and other baby like toys. 

For more understanding of the concept for Nile Perch, you can hop over to Tokyo Fashion, where they did a detailed interview of the brand.

Other Japanese brands that might interest you:
Wego - Tokyo, Harajuku Store
Address: 4 Chome-31-10 Jingumae
Daily: 10am to 9pm

Wego Harajuku Main Store
Address: 6-5-3 Jingumae
Daily: 10am to 9pm

WEGO means “We will go", "Staff and customers, go forward". Also, the brand expresses elements like "fashionable", "individuality" & "self-likeness". You can actually find WEGO almost everywhere because wherever we walk to, there is always a WEGO shop close by.

Daily: 12am to 8pm
Address: 6-2-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001

It proposes a sweet and sexy fashion item based on the concept "cute clothes that adults wear". They also have a cafe where you are recommended to make a reservation in advance.

Daily : 11am to 9pm
Address: 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

Laforet is located in the hearts of Harajuku and a fashion mall that Japanese teenagers love to patronise as it holds all the fashionable Japanese brands that are one of its kinds. The brand concept for each store is also unparalleled, creating a great variety of clothes with distinctive designs for everyone to choose from. You will definitely not leave the mall empty handed! 

Brands that you should look out for at Laforet:
  • Ank Rouge (4F) - Romantic and sweet casual.
  • Aymmy in the batty girls (4F) - Street pop style mixed with American culture.
  • E Hyphen World Gallery Bonbon (5F) - Design and details with a "Nouvelle Girly" theme.
  • Jouetie (4F) - Street style with a mixture of colours & vintage silhouette to express individuality. 
  • one after another NICE CLAUP (5F) - Take a step towards somewhere mysterious & elegant.
  • RoseMarie seoir (2F) - Sweet, candy & doll-like designs.
 Note: Do remember to request for a tax refund in the shop if you purchase more than 5 000 yen.

3. Sweet tooth
Other than being famed for its sub-culture fashion and styles, Harajuku is also a hideout of a great variety of delicious food, especially sweets. Below is a list of shops that I would recommend you to try out to comfort your sweet tooth. So right now is the time to cast your diet aside to try all these sweets and not miss them out! 

Dominique Ansel Bakery
Daily: 10am to 7pm
Address: 5 Chome-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001

The abundance of sweets choices at Dominique is to die for - ranging from sweet little macarons, freshly baked pastries to their specialities, Cookie Shot & Frozen S'more.

My boyfriend and I's favourite sweet treat at Dominique is definitely the Frozen S'more (below). Who doesn't love some torched marshmallow? Its outer caramelised crust that crushes along with the  melting of the marshmallow within our mouths truly unleash our inner sweet tooth to the fullest potential, making us crave for more. We are undoubtedly having one for each person the next time we visit here again!

We are definitely open to trying Dominique's other pastries since there are too many choices to select from. It was a Sunday that day and the waiting time to place our orders took approximately less than 20 minutes. I can't wait to visit them again!

Totti Candy Factory
Weekdays: 9am to 8pm
Saturday: 10am to 8pm; Sunday: Closed
Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 1 Chome−16−5

The candy floss is more than just being instagram or picture worthy, as it also tastes delicious along with its fluffy texture, where you would not feel sick from eating it consistently. Due to Japan's dry weather, it also did not melt at all unless when it is in contact with your saliva. I would recommend two person to share one candy floss so that you can leave room for more enjoyable sweet treats up ahead!

com crepe
Daily: 10am to 8pm
Address: One Takeshita Place 1 - A 1 - 8 - 25 Jingumae, Shibuya - ku, Tokyo 150 - 0001 Tokyo

According to their website, Com crepe made the first crepe brulee in Japan and they called it 'Crepe B Rulee'. Their crepe brulee is exactly like having a crème brûlée being wrapped with a crepe. The hard caramel at the top was torched perfectly and the moment you bit into the crepe, you are presented with the rich custard right within. The sweetness level was also at a satisfactory level and this is definitely recommended for people who wish to opt for simple custard crepes instead of those with whipped cream and fruits.

Croquant Chou Zakuzaku
Daily: 10am to 8pm
Address: 1-7-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU 1F

Croquant chou simply deprives from the words 'croquant' (a crisp sweet cake or pastry) and 'choux' (cream puff in Japan) while 'Zaku Zaku' means crunchy. In short, we are actually eating a crunchy and crispy cream puff. How cute!

With its crispy almond coated croquant matched with Hokkaido custard cream filling, the puff is undeniably the exact equivalent of its definition. It somehow reminds me of a local brand, Beard Papa's crispy cream puff, which has a similar texture for its outer crust! 

Despite the crowd at Takeshita Street, the queue at Croquant chou Zaku Zaku was fairly short, probably due to it being a weekday. We managed to grab our freshly baked Zaku Zaku almost instantly after two other customers in line. How lucky! Be sure to grab one if you are a fan of fresh crispy cream puff!! I am already craving for it right now as I am writing. 

4. Mamma mia Savoury Food!
Daily: 9.30am to 8.30pm
Address: 1 Chome-16-8 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan (Harajuku Takeshitadori Store)

We all know that Calbee, a major Japanese snack food maker, sells really delicious savoury chips. However, what sets the Calbee Plus store apart from the usual packed chips is definitely the unique toppings being added and served on their freshly fried potato chips! At the Harajuku Takeshita Street Store, they serve five different flavours for you to select from - hot & spicy, maple syrup & cream cheese, hokkaido butter, double cheese and sweet chocolate. They do also serve chips with soft serve as well!

The one that we chose was the "maple syrup & cream cheese" chips, which have milk and soy ingredients, because it stands out as the most interesting combination to us. The sweetness was at a satisfactory level and it compliments well with the chips.

Other than these freshly served chips, you can also find a wide assortment of ready packed chips with seasonal flavours being placed around the store for you to bring back home as souvenirs. If you are looking for a place to eat your warm chips, you can actually head up to the second level where they have tables for you to eat your chips while standing. 

Luke's Lobster Roll
Daily: 11am to 8pm
Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 6-7-1

Despite having a great variety of sweets and savoury earlier on, my boyfriend and I went on to hunt for the popular Luke's Lobster roll. Accessibility to different places these days was made easiler much thanks to Google maps and I must say that the queue was packed with lots of hungry, excited looking people. We ordered both our crab roll and lobster roll in regular size. A queue number was also given to us upon ordering and we were called in sequence within 5-10 minutes to collect our highly anticipated rolls. 

Drum rolls* And the lobster of the day was from Portland/Friendship. I am definitely uncertain if the lobster's country of origin has any effect on its freshness and texture but the lobster roll, which was served that day definitely scored a 10 out of 10 for me. If anyone has already tried their rolls filled with lobsters from different countries, do let me know if there is any difference. It would be really interesting to hear about it!

I would say that the whole queuing and waiting process took a good 20 minutes but the wait was definitely worthwhile. Please try out the lobster roll if you are in the area because you surely wouldn't want to miss them out! 

The Great Burger
Weekdays: 11.30am to 11pm
Weekdays: 9am to 11pm
Address:  6 Chome-12-5 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

I have always known that Seto Ayumi, a Japanese model and designer of Aymmy, has been a great fan of American culture and burgers. One of the things that I look forward to visiting Tokyo was to try out one of the burger stores that she would always recommend and patronise in past talk videos. Additionally, The Great Burger goes around with a Southern California diner concept. It also has immersed popularity among college students and young adults.

This time, we tried out The Great Burger, which was in the Harajuku area as well. The pictures may not be in the best condition as we dined in at night, where the sun has pretty much set, making it more difficult for us to capture great shots. Nevertheless, the ambience of the shop was fantastic with nice decorated furnishing and above all, great food. 

We paired our lovely Bacon Cheeseburger (added extra apple chunks) and fries with cherry coke, where the latter was not really to my liking. I chose some pancakes with sauteed mushrooms along with a bowl of clam chowder soup as I wanted a mix of something sweet and savoury at the same time. The soup was out of the world as it was rich and creamy with fresh clams as well as bacon to balance out the seafood taste. Furthermore. it did not make me feel sick after consecutive spoonfuls of it. Despite being somewhat crowded, our orders also managed to arrive almost quickly after we settled down. Double thumbs up! 

5. Other places that you should check out too!

Moshi Moshi Box
Daily: 10am to 6pm
Address: 3-23-5 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture

Have you ever seen any tourist information center that is so vibrant and kawaii? There you have it, Moshi Moshi Box - the Harajuku Tourist Information Center. This visitor center was newly opened in 2014 and the large world clock you see below was created & designed beautifully by Sebastian Masuda of 6%DOKIDOKI. (Tokyo Fashion) 

This would be a good place to request for some guidance or help on directions. In the case where you require assistance while travelling around Harajuku, there is another information center at the left corner before the start of Takeshita Street called H.I.S. Tourist Information Center Harajuku where they have really friendly service staff to help you as well.

We were also lucky to see the “Kyushu Neko Ojisan” (also known as The Cat Man from Kyushu) who walks his lovely cats at Harajuku. His aim of walking his cats in Tokyo was mainly to spread the awareness of individuals being able to have the ability to walk their cats just like how pet owners would walk their dogs.  

Harajuku has been exactly as how I have expected it to be after hearing it for years. Being able to be at the place itself is a whole new experience and all I could say is I am ready to head back whenever the opportunity arises. In any case of travelling, please always be reminded of the country's etiquettes and abide by their rules accordingly to have a pleasant trip! Do always remember to do your homework in researching the places you wish to visit beforehand as well!

I hope that the information has been useful to you & I hope that you would have a pleasant time in Harajuku, Tokyo just like I did. Please feel free to leave any comment or feedback in the comment box below.

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