No matter how many times you visit Tokyo, Japan, Harajuku is always one of the best places to explore. Why? Harajuku is the most trendy place in all Tokyo, maybe even Japan! From the most classic to the most trendy, here is a list of things to do in Harajuku!
Harajuku is located in central Tokyo and is always crowded with tourists and young people.
In order to get to Harajuku, you can ride on the JR Yamanote line to the JR Harajuku Station or take Chiyoda line or Fukutoshin line to the Meijijingumae Station.
If you are want to visit the super-famous Takeshita street first, JR Harajuku Station will a better choice. Once you get out of the station, the entrance of Takeshita street is right in front of you! If you want to go shopping first, Meijijingumae Station will take you to the area where all the shops are concentrated.
See it all with a Harajuku kawaii fashion & pop-culture tour
There are so many things to do in Harajuku that you might not know where to start! And it's also easy to fall for the tourist traps and miss out on the best things. A good way to discover Harajuku is by having a local guide show you around. Magical Trip offers some well-balanced exciting tours during which you'll be taken to the must-see iconic places and also the ones that are locals' favourite off the beaten tourist path.
I can understand that you want to start your Harajuku adventure right away, the moment you get off the train, but hold on. How about taking a picture in front of the historical Harajuku Station, the oldest wooden Station in Tokyo. This is one of the historical places in Tokyo, so it would be a great place to take a picture.
This is one of the most famous and the most crowded places in Tokyo.
Takeshita street is defined by its "Harajuku culture". So many food stalls, creperies, and cute things are to be found there! The gate at the entrance of Takeshita street has a big screen on top and display people walking through the gate. Many people take pictures of themselves displayed on that screen.
It can even be said that you can't leave Takeshita street without grabbing a crepe at a crepe stand! Usually, people are making long lines to enjoy this classic Harajuku food. You can get everything from the ordinary sweet crepe to a brulee style crepe! Try many crepes and find your favorite one.
Enjoy a Takeshita style crepe, packed with fresh fruits, cream, and even pieces of cake in some cases!
GOMAYA KUKI is another ice cream shop to stop at Harajuku. This is definitely a good one to try because this ice cream is super rich and creamy. The additional sesame on top of the ice cream makes the delicious flavor of sesame.
Harajuku is one of the best spots to eat some great fluffy pancakes. Many people make astounding long lines and wait for hours just to eat them! Are they worth waiting in lines? Absolutely YES! The pancakes in Harajuku are incredibly thick and super fluffy! You must try them at least once!
Get in touch with the "kawaii" culture!
This cafe is in a category of its own. Three words to sum up this place: colorful, crazy, fashion… Harajuku is the place of all things “kawaii”, and there is a cafe where you can have a crazy and fun Harajuku experience, called Kawaii Monster Cafe!
They have so many different options to choose from on their menu that your bound to find something that you like. They also offer non-alcohol drinks. This place turns into a nightclub at night, so you might want to check that out too.
From household goods to toys, everything here in DAISO is sold at 100 yen (plus tax)! Kitchen goods, glasses, toys, snacks, and even drinks are only 100 yen. If you are looking for some Japanese souvenirs, DAISO is the place to visit.
Take a break at an animal cafe
After exploring Takeshita street, go take a coffee break with some cute animals!
Around Harajuku, there are many animal cafes with cats, owls, and even hedgehogs. They are all super cute and the animals will definitely make you feel relaxed.
Simply wandering around Harajuku or heading to nearby Meijijingu shrine is an essential activity in itself. Kimono Tokyo Harajuku offers rental kimono from ¥3,800 (this is super cheap! Definitely worth a try!). You get to choose your favourite design from various kinds of kimonos. They also have ninja costumes for the ones who want to sneak around Harajuku!
Harajuku is not just a place where you can enjoy pop culture. At a 5-minute walk from Harajuku Station, at Ota memorial museum of art, you can see some traditional Japanese Ukiyoe works, mainly from the Edo period. The exhibition changes periodically, so you can make repeated visits to the museum.
On the opposite side of the noisy crowded Takeshita street is where the steady quiet Meiji-Jingu Shrine is located. It is also one of the most popular relaxing tourist sites around central Tokyo.
At shrines, Japanese people pray for happiness. You can also try some fortune lotteries to see how lucky you will be!
In the Spring season, you can visit Yoyogi park to enjoy some "hanami" (cherry blossom viewing). The beautiful cherry blossoms and the tradition around it are one of the most important seasonal events you can only experience in Japan.
In Autumn, leaves will turn red and that makes for another beautiful sight. I highly recommend walking around Yoyogi park with some coffee and Harajuku sweets in hand while enjoying the autumn colours.
Harajuku, especially the Urahara area which is between Harajuku and Omotesando is known as a street fashion area. Many street brand shops are concentrated in this small district. You can find some rare vintage stuff or new designer clothes. A shop called Kick Lab is probably one of the hottest places for all sneakerheads! Go check'em out!
Try some great ramens!
Afuri is a popular Ramen shop located 3 minutes’ walk from JR Harajuku Station, where waiting in a line is inevitable. Their signature dish is the Yuzu Shio Ramen and the Yuzu Shoyu Ramen. The first is made with chicken and dashi broth, yuzu (a Japanese citrus), and the latter has shoyu (soy sauce) as well.
They also have seasonal ramen and seasonal vegan ramen. So even your vegetarian friends can find something to their liking. The vegan ramen is made with tons of vegetables, vegetable soup and mixed greens. So even the vegan or vegetarian ramen has a nice umami.
Right by Meijjingu-Mae station, this hole in the wall serves simple, yet delicious gyoza. This place is unpretentious and authentic; there are two types of gyoza to choose from: steamed or fried. For a few more coins, get a beer, it's the perfect accompaniment! Some say they're the best dumplings not only in Tokyo, but in Japan!