Want to know more about Harajuku in Tokyo? Harajuku one of the most famous and popular districts in Tokyo, with millions of visitors each year. It’s famous for its shopping, cute cafes, fun activites, and the Harajuku style fashion, which is popular among many locals.
In this guide you can read about the top things to do in Harajuku, best cafes, places for shopping, and much more.
Things to do in Harajuku
Harajuku is an area in Tokyo that has a lot to offer its visitors. Here you can look at beautiful attractions, go shopping, visit cute cafes, take fun purikura photos and much more.
Visit the Meji Shrine
Meji Shrine is one of the most famous temples in Tokyo. It’s surrounded by lush nature with trees donated from different regions in Japan.
When you’re at the Meji Shrine, make sure to buy an ”ema”. It’s a small wooden plaque where you can write down your prayers and wishes. You hang it up in a tree and your wishes/prayers will be offered to the Shinto gods.
The ema costs 500 yen, but the shrine itself doesn’t cost anything to visit.
Stroll along Takeshita Street
One of the most popular things to do in Harajuku is to stroll around and have a look in the shops at Takeshita Street. It’s so much going on on this street, so make sure to take your time.
Here you have everything from shops that sell “kawaii” clothing to places where you can take the famous purikura photos. At this street you can also shop lots of cute sweets, such as rainbow cotton candy.
Take some purikura photos
Purikura is one of the things that you have to try when you’re in this part of Tokyo. It’s so much fun and will be a great souvenir for you to bring back home.
It’s basically photo boots where you go in and take goofy photos. After taking the photos you can edit them in a funny “kawaii” way.
Eat some kawaii sweets
Harajuku is the place to go for kawaii sweets (kawaii means cute in Japanese). There are everything from rainbow cotton candy to unicorn ice creams. Down below you have a little list of places that are worth checking out if you want to eat some kawaii sweets:
- Eddy’s Ice Cream
- Santa Monica Crepes
- Totti Candy Factory
- The Zoo Ice Cream Shop
- Roll Ice Cream Factory
- Long! Longer!! Longest!!!
- Cookie Time
- Le Shiner
- LOLA’S Cupcakes
Attend the Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi
If you’re visiting Tokyo during summer, you might be lucky to be around when Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi festival is held.
It’s a 2 day festival where Japanese dance teams compete in the traditional yosakoi dance.
Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi is a fun summer event, and not something you want to miss!
Relax in Yoyogi Park
After exploring the busy parts of Harajuku, it can be nice to go to a calm place and relax for a while.
Yoyogi Park is the largest public park in Tokyo, and a great place to relax or have a picnic. It’s also a popular place to see the cherry blossom, if you’re in Tokyo during spring.
See the Moshi Moshi Box
The Moshi Moshi Box is not only a tourist information center, but also a place where you can get free wifi and charge your phone.
It’s famous for it’s cute clock art on the outside, which is a popular spot among tourists to take photos.
On the second floor of the tourist information there’s a salon where you can try on traditional kimonos.
If you’re looking for a cute and calm cafe, then this is the place. PomPomPurin is a golden retriever dog with a brown beret, and is one of the most famous and popular Japanese characters.
At the PomPomPurin Cafe you can eat some PomPomPurin themed food, sweets, and drinks in a cute kawaii environment.
After having something to eat and drink you can go shopping in their small souvenir shop. They sell a variety of things with a PomPomPurin theme. Stuffed animals, stationery, and keychains are just to name a few.
Kawaii Monster Cafe
This is no doubt one of my favorite cafes in Harajuku. This place is crazy, colorful, and so much fun, so I can highly recommend you to visit.
Imagine an environment of unicorns, a giant birthday cake, monsters running around, and kawaii girls performing. In addition to all this, you also get rainbow colored food, drinks, and desserts.
I had the rainbow pasta, rainbow fries, and a crazy big and colorful dessert. Everything tasted good and it was a fun and unique experience.
Animal Cafes – not recommended
In Harajuku, there are several animal cafes that are popular to visit among both locals and tourists. There are everything from cat cafes and owl cafes to snake and hedgehog cafes.
I know it might be a bit tempting to get to interact with these cute animals, but please don’t go there.
Many of these animals are in chains, and have to interact with lots and lots of people everyday. That’s not a life for an animal. It’s actually very sad.
However, if you want to visit a café with animals I would suggest you to visit one of the cat cafes, like Cat Cafe MOCHA Harajuku. There the cats have space to move and they can go away anytime they want + most of the time they like to be petted and play with the customers.
Shopping in Harajuku
Harajuku is a perfect place if you like to go shopping. Here you’ll find big department stores, vintage shops, trendy brands, and also kawaii fashion stores.
Shopping in Harajuku is so much fun!
Daiso is probably one of the most famous shops in Japan. It’s a 100 yen shop where you can buy lots of budget-friendly items.
They sell a variety of things – from snacks and stationary to souvenirs and household items. You can find all different kinds of things at Daiso!
Daiso on Takeshita Street is one of the most famous, since it’s the biggest shop in Tokyo.
Tokyu Plaza is one of the most popular shopping complexes in Harajuku, and is famous for its mirror entrance (which is also one of the most popular photo spots in the city).
Inside Tokyu Plaza you can find stores selling everything from clothing and accessories to beauty products.
One of my favorite shops at Tokyu Plaza is called ”the Shelter Tokyo”. It’s located right next to the famous entrance of the Tokyu Plaza.
In Harajuku there’s a shopping complex called Laforet. It’s a classic place for shopping that’s filled with trendy clothing.
During the New Year holidays, there’s a big sale going on in Tokyo. It’s a good time to get some of their cool pieces at discounted prices.
Takeshita Street is one of the most busy streets in Harajuku. This is the center of Kawaii, and here you’ll find several shops selling Harajuku style fashion.
In addition to this, there are also several beauty stores such as Innisfree (one of my fav skincare brands), cafés, and shops selling kawaii (cute) sweets.
If you’re like me and love secondhand / vintage shopping, then Harajuku is a great place for you. All around Harajuku you’ll find several shops selling cool clothing.
The shop called “Kinji Used Clothing” is one of my favorite shops in Toyko. Here you can shop some really nice clothing like jeans, sweaters, and even the cool bomber-style Sukajan jackets.
Another great shop is called Ragtag. There you can find vintage luxury clothing and accessories at really good prices.
Japan has so many popular characters that they have opened a big store where you can buy all different kinds of merchandise. Pikachu, Totoro, Pompompurin, and Gudetama are just to name a few of the characters that you can shop at Kiddy Land.
You can buy everything from figurines and clothing to stuffed animals and stationary. There are so many interesting things in this shop.
Even though you’re not a fan of any Japanese characters, I still recommend you to go and check out the store.
How to get there
It’s easy to go to Harajuku with both JR trains and metro lines.
If you take the Chiyoda Metro Line (green) or Fukutoshin Metro Line (brown) you can hop of at Meiji-jungumae, which is close to Takeshita Street in Harajuku.
You can also go to Harajuku Station with the JR trains, if you have a JR pass or buy a single ticket. It’s located at the top of Takeshita Street.
Recommended hotels near Harajuku
There are many good hotels in Tokyo, but here are three of the best ranked hotels if you want to stay near Harajuku:
More info about Harajuku
Harajuku is a district in Tokyo that is internationally known for being the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion.
In 1970, the fashion obsessed youth culture made its way to Harajuku, and ever since then, several fashion stores and department store have opened up in the area.
In the 1980s, Takeshita Street became famous for it’s street dance groups called takenoko-zoku. The groups consisted mainly of girls, but often with one boy leading, all dressed in colorful clothing.
Since the 1980s, until today, locals have been dressed in the Harajuku style fashion – from teenagers to adults.
Harajuku Street Fashion
The Harajuku street fashion was invented when the locals in the 1980s mixed traditional Japanese attire with western clothing
The teenagers wanted to give a message that they didn’t care about the mainstream fashion, and that they could wear anything they wanted to wear.
It’s was a movement against social rules to break the norm.
Harajuku style fashion can be crazy, colorful, exaggerated, cartoonish, and super cool. There are several style subcultures such as kawaii, wamono, loligoth, Cyber/Punk, and many many more.
The best time and place to see the locals dressed up is during the weekends in Harajuku. When they’re not at work or in school.
Top 3 photo spots
Santa Monica Crepes
Do you have any other questions about Harajuku? Leave a comment below!