Yoyogi Park entrance, Harajuku, Tokyo

Amai Undogutsu 😉

Thanks to the ever delectable Gwen Stefani, most people know of Harajuku for its “girls” and its “lovers”, but there’s a reason why Gwen and millions of other people are infatuated by the area and that’s its over the top fashions. Think kandi raving goth punk p0rno star and you’re getting close. A lot of layering, off cuts, frays and safety pins mixed with classic maid or school girl outfits.

Takeshita Street, Harajuku, Tokyo

Straight out of Harajuku station you pretty much fall into the thick of it, ie. Takeshita street (don’t worry, itll get less funny after a day, but then itll get funny again). The closed off street extends a few blocks and is packed with a variety of stores, mostly clothing, with a couple run of the mill sneaker and sport/skate stores. We were there on a Tuesday during school holidays and the street was pretty well jammed moving at a “bottleneck at a music festival” rate. If you’re going to go on a weekend, be prepared to get the elbows out if you want to zigzag between shops.

A side note, watch out for the African looking guys trying to be your friend, they’re only there to drag you into shops or sell you dodgy merchandise/tickets (to who knows what!). They seem to be of European background but speak a few broken languages.

Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo

Speaking of the weekend, it is still the best time to check out Harajuku, mainly for Yoyogi park for its circus of Harajuku girls, performers and those crazy rockabilly Elvis impersonators. While you’re in the park, take the short walk to the Meiji Jingu Shrine, one of the most popular shrines in Tokyo, to stay a few prayers and maybe bless your feet for all the walking you’re about to do 😉

After Takeshita street, *snicker* venture out into the surrounding streets for more of the larger designer stores. A further block or two you’ll find many little lane ways of designer labels and boutique shoe and clothing shops. Brand stores like Adidas originals, Nike iD, Burton, Element along with some of Tokyo’s finest collector sneaker stores, Atmos, Undefeated, Chapter, Kicks Lab and of course for the everyday releases, the Japanese Footlocker, ABC Mart. While you’re in the area check out the many vintage clothing stores, Heatwave is one of the bigger names. There’s a huge variation in quality and selection so you might have to try a few different places if you’re looking for something in particular but like any “op-shopping” the best buys are the ones that you never expected to find.

For lunch I recommend the pocket kebabs. A little store with the long lunch line near Forever 21 (the American version of Supre’ but they sell guys clothes as well). There’s a few of these places through out Tokyo, basically two European guys with a well established little shop, have a photo of themselves in the window and make a killing. Very friendly and picked the Aussie accent straight off the bat. Crikey! The food is little thrown together because of the pace they work at but still fresh and very tasty.

Optimus Prime, Kiddyland, Harajuku

Finally you cant go to Harajuku and not hit up Kiddyland. I know, sounds a bit suss but I promise there’s no Manga p0rn! It’s pretty much the same as Yamashiroya in Ueno but with some floors solely dedicated to one character. So for all the Hello Kitty, Snoopy, Rilakkuma fans your prayers have been answered. For the lads, by pass the fluff and head straight to the top level for all your action figures, collectibles and vinyls needs. They definitely had one of the biggest selections of Kid Robot, Tokidoki and similar vinyls that I saw in Tokyo.

Heading back to the train station pop into the 100Yen store (Daiso) for any last minute travel basics or pretty much anything for that matter. Basically the 99p/Crazy Clarks Japanese equivalent but everything is 100Y (roughly $1US). Some of the items are very cheaply made while others are actually quite good. We picked up luggage straps, padlocks, stubby cooler, belt and a few other bits and pieces all for a buck each!

Tokyo part #1 – Ueno for a day
Tokyo part #2 – Getting round Tokyo, Ueno Sakura at night
Tokyo part #4 – Shibuya
Tokyo part #5 – Kichijoji and Shinjuku
Tokyo part #6 – Akihabara
Tokyo part #7 – Odaiba and Leaving Tokyo

Photo Gallery Here


  1. fuzi on 04.21.2010

    “I know, sounds a bit suss but I promise there’s no Manga p0rn!”

    is that the place next door?