If you’re looking for a vibrant, colorful, and uniquely Japanese experience, look no further than Harajuku! This trendy neighborhood in the heart of Tokyo is known for its eclectic fashion, delicious street food, and endless entertainment options. Here are some of the best things to do in Harajuku to make the most of your visit.
Things to do in Harajuku
- Explore Takeshita Street: This is the ultimate destination for fashion-forward travelers. Takeshita Street is lined with shops selling everything from vintage clothing and accessories to trendy streetwear and cosplay costumes. You’ll also find plenty of sweet shops and crepe stands to fuel your shopping excursion.
- Visit the Meiji Shrine: For a change of pace, head over to the peaceful Meiji Shrine. This Shinto shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, and it’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The surrounding forest is home to more than 100,000 trees, and it’s a popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in spring.
- Try the street food: Harajuku is also a foodie paradise, with an endless variety of street food to sample. Don’t miss out on the famous Harajuku crepes, which come in a wide variety of flavors, from classic chocolate and banana to more unusual options like curry and cheese.
- Visit the Kawaii Monster Cafe: If you’re looking for something truly unique and quirky, head to the Kawaii Monster Cafe. This themed cafe is inspired by the colorful and kawaii (cute) Harajuku fashion scene, and it features a wide variety of delicious food and drinks, as well as live performances and interactive exhibits.
- Take a stroll through Yoyogi Park: Just a short walk from Harajuku, Yoyogi Park is the perfect place to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Tokyo. You can people watch, enjoy the greenery and watch street performers.
- Check out the Harajuku Gyoza Lou: Gyoza lovers will definitely want to check out this popular gyoza restaurant. Harajuku Gyoza Lou serves up delicious pan-fried dumplings made with fresh ingredients and a secret family recipe. The cozy and casual atmosphere makes it the perfect spot for a casual lunch or dinner.
- Visit the Laforet Museum: This museum of contemporary art is located inside the Laforet Harajuku shopping center, and it’s a great place to see works by emerging Japanese artists. The museum features rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.
- Take a stroll down Cat Street: This charming street is lined with trendy boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great place to wander and take in the sights and sounds of Harajuku. Keep an eye out for the many street art and graffiti along the way.
- Visit the Harajuku Cat Street Gallery: This small but mighty gallery is a must-visit for art lovers. The Harajuku Cat Street Gallery features a rotating selection of contemporary art, including works by up-and-coming Japanese artists.
Best cafes in Harajuku
Harajuku is known for its vibrant fashion and street food scene, but did you know it’s also home to some of the best cafes in Tokyo? Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot to relax with a cup of coffee or a trendy hangout to enjoy a sweet treat, here are three cafes in Harajuku that you won’t want to miss.
- Streamer Coffee: For a truly unique coffee experience, head over to Streamer Coffee. This specialty coffee shop is located in the heart of Harajuku and it is known for its unique brewing methods and high-quality beans. The café serves a variety of different brewing methods including pour over, French press, and siphon. They also serve a selection of delicious pastries and sandwiches to pair with the coffee. The interior design is simple and minimalistic with a focus on the coffee brewing process. The baristas are passionate about their craft and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the coffee or brewing methods (tip: go slow when speaking English!). If you’re a coffee lover, this is a must-visit café in Harajuku.
- The Great Burger: If you’re looking for a more savory option, The Great Burger is a must-visit. This casual cafe serves up delicious burgers made with high-quality ingredients, including juicy beef patties, fresh vegetables, and homemade sauces. The menu also features a variety of sides, including hand-cut fries and onion rings.
- Totti Candy Factory: This whimsical cafe is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Totti Candy Factory is known for its colorful and delicious cotton candy creations, which come in a wide variety of flavors and shapes. The cafe also serves up a selection of cakes, ice cream, and other sweet treats. The interior design is equally eye-catching, with a large cotton candy machine as the centerpiece.
Best restaurants in Harajuku
Harajuku is a foodie paradise, with an endless variety of delicious restaurants to choose from. Whether you’re looking for traditional Japanese dishes or international cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this trendy neighborhood. Here are three restaurants in Harajuku that foodies won’t want to miss:
- Harajuku Gyoza Lou: As the name suggests, Harajuku Gyoza Lou is a gyoza (Japanese dumpling) specialist. It got a mention already. This cozy and casual restaurant serves up delicious pan-fried dumplings made with fresh ingredients and a secret family recipe. The menu also features a variety of other traditional Japanese dishes, such as udon noodles, curry, and tempura.
- Afuri: Afuri is one of the most popular ramen restaurants in Harajuku, and for good reason. The restaurant serves up a delicious selection of ramen dishes, made with high-quality ingredients and a unique blend of flavors. The menu features a variety of broth options, including chicken and seafood, as well as a range of toppings, such as chashu pork, egg, and green onions. Afuri is particularly known for its yuzu (citrus) flavored broth.
- Gyukatsu Motomura Harajuku: Gyukatsu Motomura Harajuku is a popular restaurant known for its unique and delicious Gyukatsu. Gyukatsu is a type of deep-fried beef cutlet that is typically made from high-quality wagyu beef. The restaurant is located in Harajuku, and it’s a perfect place for meat lovers. One of the specialties of Gyukatsu Motomura Harajuku is the method of preparation of the beef cutlet which is made from the premium wagyu beef, the meat is first dipped in a special egg mixture before being coated in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried to perfection. The result is a crispy and juicy cutlet that melts in your mouth. The restaurant also serves a variety of side dishes, including salads, steamed vegetables, and rice. The menu also features a selection of appetizers, soups, and desserts. You can also order a variety of dipping sauces to complement your Gyukatsu.
Overall, Harajuku is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese culture, fashion, and food. So put on your most colorful clothing, grab your camera, and head out to explore this vibrant neighborhood!
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