As we wrote in our previous article Cheap Entertainment In Japan! , one of the free things to do in Tokyo, Japan is to checkout Harajuku. Harajuku is the area around Harajuku station, which encompasses many shops, restaurants, and sight-seeing areas. Most people know it for having some of the newest/craziest fashions, and being a center for the “kawaii-style.”
Well, here is a list of the top 10 things you should do when visiting Harajuku!
1. Take a Picture in Front of the Takeshita Dori Sign
As you enter the famous Takeshita Dori, you will notice the Takeshita Dori sign with its many colorful balloons. This makes an awesome setting for a quick picture to make all of your friends a bit jealous that you are in Japan. But what most people don’t realize is that the balloon design above the Takeshita Dori gate actually changes several times throughout the year. That is part of the fun of visiting this area, as they try to change with the seasons.
2. Checkout the Trendy and Cool Fashion
This one is pretty obvious, as most people head to Harajuku to shop for clothes. But even if you aren’t buying, it is fun to walk around and look at all of the trendy fashion in Japan.
3. Pickup A Delicious Crepe
This is a must-do in Harajuku, as crepes are sort of the unofficial treat in this area. In fact, there are several crepe stores scattered around Takeshita Dori, so no matter where you are there is a crepe store a few feet away. I’ve got a little bit of a sweet tooth, so my favorite is the banana-cream crepe with chocolate and whipped creme. So good!
Of course there are many other flavors, so just choose the one that you love most!
4. Chew On Some Cotton Candy
Another popular thing to do to satisfy your sweet tooth is to head towards the Totti Candy Factory and grab some of their famous rainbow-colored cotton candy. They can actually make the cotton candy into the shape of a heart, but I say you splurge for the full blown tower of cotton power.
5. Marvel at the Craziness Inside Stores
Yes, that is a picture of a pink unicorn surrounded by disco balls, purple stars, and shiny beads. In Harajuku this is not even that crazy, haha. And that’s the point! You can walk into most stores in Harajuku and see some of the wildest displays you’ve ever seen, and I love it. It is like walking into a kawaii wonderland.
6. Feel Like Willy Wonka In Candy A Go Go
Speaking of wonderlands, why not checkout a candy wonderland in Harajuku. You can do that by heading to Candy A Go Go, which is a store dedicated to candy! Of course. Each time I go into this store, I really feel like I’m walking into Willy Wonka’s factory, since you are surrounded by so many different varieties of sugary goodness. So grab a bag of treats to go!
7. Admire the Street Art
I’m a fan of all types of art, and I think some of the most authentic art you can find is street art. Most people are so busy looking at all of the stores and snacks in Harajuku, that they miss some of the wonderful artworks that give Harajuku its cool, gritty vibe. And the great thing is that the art will change over time, so you might get to see new works each time you go there.
8. Cool Down With Some Kawaii Gelato
As you can see, there are plenty of sweet snacks in Harajuku, but none of them are as cute as these gelato cones from Eiswelt Gelato Harajuku. You have a choice between bears, piggies, ducks, and birds wearing hats, so choose your cute companion. And they taste good too!
9. Do Some People Watching
As you walk around Harajuku, you will see many people wearing some very interesting, sometimes wild, fashion. It is definitely one of the unique things about this area. It is ok to grab some coffee and watch as the crowds walk by, but don’t treat the people like animals at the zoo. If you want a picture, please ask first. Trust me, the people will appreciate it!
10. Remember Your Trip With Purikura Pics
Before you head out from Harajuku, stop by Purikura Land so you can get some purikura pics of you and your friends/family. For those uninitiated in the world of purikura, they are photo booth machines that let you take pictures with your friends, and you can add cute/crazy little designs on them too. Think of them like small carnival photo booths in America, just way cuter and much more fun. The best part is that once you’ve finished posing for your pictures, you get a small strip of photos that you can physically take with you. Most 100 yen shops in Japan sell little purikura books, which allow you to save all of your purikura in one collection. So take a picture as a memory of all the fun you had in Harajuku!
Getting to Harajuku is very easy. Just travel on the Yamanote line to Harajuku station and then cross the street to get to Takeshita Dori.
If you travel to Tokyo and have a chance to see Harajuku, I hope you have fun, and don’t forget to send us pictures!