Harajuku and Omotesando Travel Guide 原宿・表参道

Discussion
  • Join us on this Harajuku and Omotesando Travel Guide as we tour the headquarter of Japan’s youth culture in Harajuku and flagship stores of global fashion brands in Omotesando.

    Takeshita Street - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    We often get asked by friends and readers on Japan travel tips and itineraries so we try our best to share our Japan experiences on the blog.  However, one city we didn’t have much travel content on was Tokyo.  Why?  Since Nami’s family only lives 7 miles (15 km) from Tokyo and 15 miles (23 km) to Shibuya, it never seemed like a “Japan travel destination” for us.

    As we get repeated request for Tokyo travel guide, we spent 6 days this past summer in Tokyo exploring different wards, activities to do, places to visit and eat.  This is just the beginning of our Tokyo travel guide and we’ll continue adding to these posts as we explore new adventure and experiences.  We hope you will enjoy traveling throughout Tokyo with our family.

    The reality is that it’s impossible to finish exploring Tokyo in 6 days, or even possibly a month.  There are simply way too many options for dining, sightseeing, and entertainment!  This is our first effort to share Tokyo with you and we hope you’ll enjoy our journey.  There is something for everyone in Tokyo so pick and choose what your heart desires when you visit.

    For the Tokyo travel guide series, we’ll share the following posts:

    1. Shinjuku 新宿
    2. Meiji Jingu 明治神宮
    3. Harajuku and Omotesando 原宿・表参道
    4. Shibuya 渋谷
    5. Roppongi 六本木ヒルズ
    6. Tokyo Tower (update) 東京タワー
    7. Ginza 銀座
    8. Imperial East Garden 皇居東御苑
    9. Akihabara 秋葉原
    10. Ueno 上野
    11. Kappabshi かっぱ橋道具街
    12. Tokyo Dome City 東京ドームシティー
    13. Asakusa (update) 浅草
    14. Tokyo Sky Tree (update) 東京スカイツリー
    15. Odaiba お台場

    You might notice there are many areas/wards/stations we missed in Tokyo from the above list, like Tokyo Station.  It’s because we simply ran out of time to cover and will add it in a future trip.  If you have any specific requests, please comment below and we’ll try to add it to our future itineraries.

    Harajuku and Omotesando Travel Guide

    After our visit to Meiji Jingu Temple, our family headed over to Harajuku.  Harajuku is just a few minute walk from the Meiji Jingu Bridge.  

    Google Maps Meiji Jingu to Harajuku
    Click map to enlarge.

    As we crossed the bridge and checked out the stores, we noticed something a bit different.  A cat cafe!  We passed by a cute cat cafe, one of the 50+ cat cafes in Tokyo. The trend started around 2008 and the cafes house all sorts of cats. You can have a drink, work, read, and play with the cats in the cat cafe.

    CROSSAVENUE Building - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    sign for Cat Cafe MOCHA - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    sign for Cat Cafe MOCHA - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Make a left and keep walking, soon you’ll see Harajuku Station.  Opened in 1906, Harajuku station still looks pretty much the same ever since it was first built.  Its unique traditional look stands out among today’s Tokyo subway and train stations.  Despite its small size, it’s the 6th busiest station in Tokyo, with 70k+ riders a day.

    Harajuku Station - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Right across the Harajuku Station is the famed Takeshita Dori, the main street in Harajuku.  Takashita Dori or Takeshita street houses hundreds of shops and restaurants that are on the leading edge of Japanese youth culture. Besides fashion, clothing, and accessories shops, there are wildly popular sweet shops that sell crepe, cotton candy, rainbow sweets, and various Japanese treats.

    Takeshita Street - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    D'OR cosmetics shop - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    D’OR cosmetics shop.
    jewelry and accessories store - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Accessories store.
    sweet box crepe - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    When in Harajuku, eat crepe!

    staff making crepe at sweet box crepe - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    strawberry crepe from sweet box crepe - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    The crepes were super yummy.

    One of the most celebrated sweet shops is Rainbow Sweets Harajuku.  They are known for, you’ve guessed it, rainbow color sweets.  You can’t miss the folks holding their giant rainbow cotton candies in front of the store.

    Rainbow sweets Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Just One Cookbook children at Rainbow sweets Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    sweets and candy options at Rainbow sweets Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    cotton candy from Rainbow sweets Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    staff making giant cotton candy at Rainbow sweets Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    We stopped by a different cotton candy shop and our daughter got a unicorn cotton candy that flashed different color lights.

    giant unicorn cotton candy - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Besides accessories, cosmetics, there are many clothing and apparel shops.

    Broadway hip hop and sports wear - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Jimsinn clothing store - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Richards clothing store - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    out of the world shoe store - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    If you are into snacks, besides the sweets, there is also the Calbee Store.  If you like a specific Calbee snack you’ll probably find it in there.

    potatoes in front of Calbee+ - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Calbee+ - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    snacks inside Calbee+ - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    What else is cool?  We went to Long Longer Longest, where you can order cotton candy, churros, ice cream, rainbow ice, and potato chip stack in 3 different sizes (long, longer, and longest). 

    Just One Cookbook child next to long longer longest store sign - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Ice cream being made at long longer longest - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Longest soft cream being made.

    The unique retail shops aren’t limited to just things you can wear or eat, there are various stores carry collectibles and products you don’t see in everyday stores, such as food shaped bandage, Dragonball water, World Cup coke bottles, etc.  Coke memorabillas is a big thing in Harajuku.

    World cup Coca-cola bottles - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Never see these cool coke bottles in the US.

    food design bandages - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Zaku Zaku sweets shop - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Treats in Zaku Zaku sweets shop window.

    squishy toys - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Dragonball water - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    gyoza cake miso takoyaki and mentaiko flavor toothpastes - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Gyoza and miso flavored toothpaste.

    Marvel and other comics merchandise - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Harajuku street sign - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    There are many sides streets to discover and explore in Harajuku.  One of the most popular new sweet shops on a side street is Anywhere Door.

    Anywhere door sweet shop - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Anywhere door sweet shop - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    After walking around in the hot summer heat, we found a Chinese restaurant right at the end of Takeshita Dori – Ryunoko Sichuan Restaurant.  They are known for their mapo tofu and dan dan noodles.  The mapo tofu was quite good but the spicy dan dan noodle was just okay in our opinion.

    ryunoko Sichuan Restaurant - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    kitchen at ryunoko Sichuan Restaurant - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    wall decoration at ryunoko Sichuan Restaurant - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    noodles at ryunoko Sichuan Restaurant - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    If you are looking for other food choices, the popular ramen chain Ichiran also has a branch in the area or try some gyoza at Harajuku Gyoza-ro.

    Ichiran Ramen - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Harajuku Gyoza-ro - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Harajuku Gyoza-ro.

    Luke's Lobster Omotesando Store - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    After refilling and powering up, it’s time to check out more stores around Harajuku and then head over to Omotesando just a few blocks away.

    Besides the boutique shops on Takeshita Dori, there are malls and departments stores nearby.

    Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku.
    Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Super cool reflective entrance at Tokyu Plaza.
    Q plaza - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Q Plaza – houses retail shops and restaurants.
    Laforet Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Laforet Harajuku.

    cool glass building in Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Desigual Store Harajuku - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Besides the main strip, don’t forget to check out Cat Street.  It’s where the ultracool and hipster shop and hangout.

    Flipper's Stand - Harajuku Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Flipper’s – the popular Japanese pancake shop.

    Cat Street Shibuya - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Even though they’re right next to each other, Harajuku and the uber high-end shopping at Omotesando can’t be more different from each other.  If you are a Louis Vuitton, Dior, and designer brand fan, you’ll find many of their flagship stores in Omotesando. 

    Omotesando Hills - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Outside of the designer stores, there are malls and department stores such as G-Star Omotesando, AMORE Vintage Omotesando, and Chicago Omotesando.  In other words, you can shop until you drop.

    Hugo Boss Omotesando - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    street view from pedestrian bridge at Omotesando - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Apple store Omotesando - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Jean-Paul Hevin Chocolatier at Omotesando Hills - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    We escaped from the summer heat for a moment by visiting Omotesando Hills mall.  What could be better than air-conditioned mall in the summer?  Exquisite chocolate treats in an air-conditioned mall!  We stopped by Jean-Paul-Hevin Chocolatier to rest for a while. We ordered chocolate drinks, chocolate mousse, and some chocolate cake!  It was so good.

    Chocolate drinks and desserts at Jean-Paul Hevin Chocolatier at Omotesando Hills - Omotesando Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    After resting our legs for a bit, it’s time to, you’ve guessed it, do more shopping in Shibuya!  For more Japan travel guide click here, and to read Tokyo travel guide click here.

    Check out other Tokyo travel guide series:

    1. Shinjuku 新宿
    2. Meiji Jingu 明治神宮
    3. Harajuku and Omotesando 原宿・表参道
    4. Shibuya 渋谷
    5. Roppongi 六本木ヒルズ
    6. Tokyo Tower (update) 東京タワー
    7. Ginza 銀座
    8. Imperial East Garden 皇居東御苑
    9. Akihabara 秋葉原
    10. Ueno 上野
    11. Kappabshi かっぱ橋道具街
    12. Tokyo Dome City 東京ドームシティー
    13. Asakusa (update) 浅草
    14. Tokyo Sky Tree (update) 東京スカイツリー
    15. Odaiba お台場

    You Might Also Like...

  • Just One Cookbook: Essential Japanese Recipes

    Love Our Recipes?

    Leave A Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    What type of comment do you have?

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.