Harajuku district in Tokyo
The Harajuku district is an unusual neighborhood that is a must-see for the tourist. It is located at the subway station of the same name. On weekends, the flow of people increases and the neighborhood becomes even busier because of the young people dressed up in extravagant costumes (comic book characters, hats with feathers, vampires) and walking around the streets.
Japanese fashion balances on the edge of extremity and surrealism. Older people can spend their time looking at the city’s sights.
During World War II, it was here that the American military settled. They brought the Western spirit to the Eastern civilization. For young people, something new was extremely interesting. It was a kind of innovation in the established traditions of Japan.
In the middle of the 20th century, fashion houses, agencies, and photo studios began to open here.
Today the Harajuku district is located between Shinjuku and Shibuya. There are many green parks in this area, such as Jingu Gayen and Eegi. Even though there are only two streets in the area (Omotesando and Takeshita), it is still a fashion and style center due to its countless stylish clothing and shoe stores.
In Omotesando you can buy brand name clothing from Prada, D&G, Chanel and others. The restaurants located on this street are more for an adult and wealthy audience than for young people. The target audience of Omotesando is city dwellers from 30 to 50 years old.
The center of youth culture is Takeshita Dori Street. It sells multi-brand clothing as well as many “second hand” items. It also actively sells food for hungry tourists and local fashionistas. Stores are usually open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For those who want to see the sights and prefer a cultural vacation, you can go to the Tokyo Meiji Jingu Temple it is located in a quiet green area. Here you can admire ukiyo-e prints. The impressive collection of Asian art and the Japanese garden are definitely worth a look.
Below we take a look at the main attractions that are worth a tourist’s visit.
Yehogi National Sports Hall. It was designed by the famous architect Kenzo Tange for the 1964 Olympic Games. It is a short walk from the subway station. There are also plans to hold Olympic competitions here in 2020.
Gyre Shopping Center. Remarkable for its architecture and interior. The building is designed in the form of a spiral.
Dior Omotesando brand clothing store. Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa designed the house visually dressed in a skirt, which symbolizes femininity and elegance of Dior.
Omotesando Hills. Despite the name, it is a shopping center. What makes it unusual is that it is more than half underground. Architect Tadao Ando thus decided to create a structure that does not spoil the view of the surrounding landscape with its height. There are not only stores, but also beauty salons, cafes and restaurants.
Prada Aoyama. A large fashion store that looks really luxurious because of the gold shiny finish of the building.
Nezu Museum. It contains masterpieces of Japanese art. The author of this project is Kengo Kuma. There is an open space of 17,000 square meters with a gorgeous view of the beautiful garden.
Department store Laforet Harajuku. This department store is well known to local fashionistas. Here on the 6th floor is an art museum of fashion history.
Boulevard Omotesando. Here is a very dense concentration of expensive boutiques and designer stores.
Louis Vuitton. The stylish building was designed by Jean Eocchi. It is said that to pass by the building and not stare at it is simply impossible.
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku. One of the new shopping centers, opened in 2012. On the top floor is a green terrace.
Daiso Harajuku. A large center with 100 yen worth of merchandise. A wide variety of choices here: food, stationery, household goods, etc.
Oriental Bazaar. Big souvenir shop. There are always lots of tourists who want to buy souvenirs or souvenirs for their families. The building is made in Japanese tradition.
Kiddy Land. One of the most popular stores of children’s toys with 5 floors.
Meiji. Shinto temple dedicated to the Emperor and his wife.
Togo. Shinto temple dedicated to Admiral Togo. There used to be an antiques market here, but it was discontinued in 2009.
How to get to Harajuku . There’s a JR train on the Yamanote Line between Shinjuku and Shibuya stations.
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Harajuku (原宿, Japan) is an unusual but very trendy district in Tokyo and you’ll find it near Harajuku Station (the Yamanote Circle Line connecting the Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza and Ikebukuro areas). Harajuku is especially interesting on Sundays as young people dress up in a variety of fashions and dress up as cosplayers to show themselves off to the city. Their traditional gathering place is the Jingu pedestrian bridge.
Harajuku owes its fashionable style to the events at the end of World War II. It was here that American soldiers and their families settled after defeating imperial Japan. As a result, Japanese youth had an opportunity to get closer to Western culture, fashion and customs of Americans, thereby creating their own fashionable world. Harajuku became a symbol of an unexpected introduction to Western civilization.
The consequences of this process were not long in coming – in 1958 the construction of fashion workshops for fashion designers, model agencies and photo studios began here. The Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 1964 gave Harajuku a new impetus in development. After the Games, the area’s fashionable youth received a new name, harajuku-zoki.
Today’s Harajuku neighborhood is a green neighborhood between the Shinjuku and Shibuya districts, dictating authoritative street fashion. On one side there’s Jingu Gaien Park and Yoyogi Park, and on the other side the elegant Aoyama district. There are only two streets in the area: Omotesando and Takeshita. Here you can buy the kind of stylish clothing and accessories that Japanese young people often wear.
Harajuku is also compared to the Champs-Élysées in Paris because it has all the same fashion stores – Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. Another famous shopping center of the neighborhood among tourists is Omotesando Hills, below you will find photos of this architectural landmark of the area.
1. Yoyogi National Stadium, architect Kenzo Tange
It can be seen within walking distance of Harajuku Station. It was designed by Kenzo Tange for the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 1964. The hall still serves sports and cultural events and is preparing to welcome the Olympic competition in 2020.
2. the GYRE Shopping Center
Designed by Dutch architects, the building has some resemblance to a spiral, each floor is somewhat “twisted” in relation to the previous one. However, consider the photo of this amazing decoration of the Tokyo waterfront yourself.
3. the Dior Omotesando fashion store
The project was designed by architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese architectural bureau SANAA. The building looks as if it is dressed in a draped skirt reminding us that the world of Dior is multifaceted, classical, modern, elegant and feminine.
4: Omotesando Hills
An unusual shopping mall, most of which is hidden underground. Designed by the architect Tadao Ando, whose main idea was to blend the enormous building into the surrounding landscape, creating a harmonious combination of natural and human creation.
5. Prada Aoyama.
The store of fashionable clothes, sparkling with shine and gilding, was constructed according to the project of the Swiss architectural bureau Herzog de Meuron. The diamond-shaped glazing works as a reflector of the sky and sunlight during the day and as a beautiful display window in the evening and at night.
6. Nezu Museum
The Nezu Museum was established to house and exhibit an interesting collection of Japanese art by the great collector of fine arts, Kaichiro Nezu, and was reopened in 2009. It was designed by the architect Kengo Kuma. Not only the facade, but also a 17,000 square meter Japanese garden, which can be admired from the windows of the art gallery, is beautifully integrated into the outdoor space.
1. Laforet Harajuku Department Store
An iconic department store, a beacon of youth fashion. On the 6th floor you will find an art museum dedicated to the changes in fashion.
2. boulevard Omotesando.
A little east of Harajuku, Aoyama District has a beautiful Omotesando Boulevard filled with fashion boutiques and designer stores. Omotesando begins at the Meiji Jingu Shrine Gate, continues to Harajuku JR Station, passes Meiji-dori Avenue, and then heads toward Aoyama-dori Avenue.
3. the Louis Vuitton store on Omotesando
The store was designed by Jun Aoki, and the interior design was done by Takashi Murakami who travels between Tokyo and New York. The glamorous look of the building at night literally stops the lines of cars driving along the nearby street.
How to get to Harajuku
The easiest way to get there is to take the JR Yamanote Line electric train and get off at the same Harajuku Station.