top 10 harajuku is me giving you a personal tour of this unique tokyoite area.
harajuku is geographically speaking part of shibuya. and aoyama is located in northern minato. but i believe that they deserve a post together with omotesando, as the fashion triangle of tokyo.
10. hair and nail salons. the area is known to have the highest number of such salons per square kilometer in the the world. i tried the local tony & guy. a friend made the reservation for me and asked for an english speaking stylist. he waited for me with magazines in english and said goodbye with a hug and a fistful of samples. that haircut is still my benchmark!
tokyo is the only place where i’m secretly considering dying my hair lavender or getting a crazy 3d manicure…
9. futuristic architecture. omotesando is lined with examples of awesome architecture. and so are the cool structures that seep into aoyama. my all time favourite is prada aoyama by herzog and de meuron. but i also like the dior building by sanaa and tod’s building by toyo ito.
8. aoyama is a quiet area full of high end retail spaces. i like the acne and the comme des garcons stores.
you can easily spend a day wondering around just as well as you can max any credit card. i would advise caution but, if i were to splurge, this is one of the few places where i’d do it!
7. a secret aoyama hang out is the unbelievable taro okamoto memorial museum. it’s not all that easy to find but when you do, you have a museum, garden and café wrapped in one. i love it!
it’s where you’ll find design festa, a gallery with a very interesting business model.
5. cat street is the alley which goes all the way to shibuya. it’s great for more shopping – local designers and vintage.
4. takeshita street is an institution. it’s lined with many crazy little shops that act as bellwether for new trends. small independent brands are testing the customer reaction to their new products.
do not miss the 100-yen 3-floor daiso store! it’s perfect for weird snacks or souvenirs to take home.
another local craze is crepes, with their thousand toppings. taste them at least once!
3. omotesando. there, you will find omotesando hills. it was developed by mori building and designed by local starchitect tadao ando and it has 130 shops and 38 apartments.
oddly enough, the area also has a cathedral: st. grace.
tokyu plaza omotesando harajuku – its mirrored entrance is unforgettable.
laforet is a collection of over 100 shops of the craziest styles. do not miss the sale season – the discounts go as low as 70-80%.
2. yoyogi park is a 54 hectare park that’s flooded during the weekends by picnics, dates, dancers and people walking their pets. there, i played with a ferret in a tiny harness and with a red snake. no kidding!
in the past, the jingubashi bridge served as a crazy outfit showcase, but in recent years, that happens less and less.
when i’m in town, i make a point of spending my weekends in harajuku. and when i do, i try to catch the performance of the local rockabillies. they are cool, cocky and they thrive on attention.
1. outlandish street style. expect anything from gothic lolitas to technicolour decoras and full-on fashionistas. this is where people wear those comme des garcons clothes the rest of the world sees as unwearable. the people mix diy with local independent labels, horse shoes and high-end must-haves. you will see dandies wearing celine bags and you will see shinouri girls. to maximize your chances, go during the weekend and spend the day wondering around. your effort will be definitely rewarded!
time out has 50 more things to do in harajuku. check them out!
photo credits: little aesthete