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Located in the eastern part of Shibuya, Tokyo, Harajuku has continued to be the source of Japan’s cutting edge fashion since the 1970s. It is also leading the world boom in “KAWAII” culture.
Harajuku is made up of three very different areas: Takeshita St. is the center of KAWAII culture, Uraharajuku is the holy ground of street fashion and Omotesando is a collection of grown-up luxury and high-sense fashion stores. The effects of this synergy always stimulate those who gather here. Maybe that’s why there are so many apparel brands, creators and artists who grew up here and then made their way into the world. This town gives energy to those who come and those who stay. That’s the beauty of this town.
After getting off the train at Harajuku station, you’ll see a street overflowing with people. That is Takeshita St. This is where you’ll find a line of shops offering apparel, accessories, trinkets and make-up ranging from girly clothes, gothic/lolita, punk and cos-play (costumes) to meet every taste and even shops offering pop-idol goods and crepes. Reasonable prices aside, while none of the shops seem to have anything in common, they are all united in the KAWAII culture. Various people wearing different styles gather and walk together here. It is such a magnificent site, many travelers try to aim their camera down, overlooking this, not for the scenery, but for the spectacle.
If you make it through Takeshita St. you’ll come out on Meiji St. On the side streets there are shops with a different ambiance than those on Takeshita St. This is called Uraharajuku and is known as the mainstream of street fashion. The people walking on the street look like they just walked of the pages of magazines and photographers often choose this area to take pictures of those strolling the streets. If you want to see refined street fashion, make sure to put this on your list of stops.
To the west of Uraharajuku is a street lined with Japanese Zelkova trees. This is Omotesando where the luxury brands set up shop. Within 100m away, it’s the closest in proximity to Takeshita St. but the chaos you saw there fades into the shadows and the atmosphere of the street matures in an instant. The women walking the street look like runway models and have a refined atmosphere. This is the optimum area to enjoy a stroll and some relaxing shopping.
Harajuku is a 500m radius that houses the three different styles that make up Japan’s cutting edge fashion. Travelers who want to enjoy Japan’s fashion will find what they’re looking for here. It’s only a 5 minute train ride from Shinjuku and Shibuya so there’s no excuse to miss it.
■Address：1-18-20 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
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