Tokyo/Harajuku

For the young and fashionable teenager, spending time in Harajuku (原宿) on the weekends is practically a necessity. Even older folks will want to visit the area, though, to see Meiji Jingu shrine and Yoyogi Park.

34 things to do

All Places Japan



Meiji Jingū

Built in commemoration of Emperor Meiji in 1920, is Tokyo's grandest shrine. Like all of Japan's major shrines, it's large in scale but simple in structure, entered via a winding path and through a giant ''torii'' gate. On summer weekends you have a very good chance of catching a Japanese wedding in progress here; the shrine is also packed on New Year's Eve when people come here to celebrate the new year. An excellent place for those who wish to experience an oasis of tranquility among the hustle and bustle of the rest of the area.

SEE   —  Map

Omotesando Hills

Designed by Tadao Ando and built by Mori Building of Roppongi Hills fame, this is a super-chic shopping mall that caters to those "independent, style-conscious urbanites" (to quote the site) who couldn't possibly wear anything except the latest fashions or eat chocolates not prepared by a famous Parisian ''patissier''. For the rest of us, it's still an interesting browse, and the restaurants on the top floor may be worth a splurge for a light lunch.



Arms Sandwiches

This small, Americana-inspired eatery is nestled right off the main footpath, and serves lots of Western food, including a wide burger selection (try the avocado burger!). Also serves fries, chili dogs, and other non-Japanese fare. American beer selection available. Be advised, the place fills up pretty fast, so swing by before a stroll in Yoyogi and put your name in it.

EAT   —  Map

Restaurant Kinoshita

Kinoshita makes eating French food in Japan justifiable. Some say that with its underpriced menu, dinner courses for ¥3800-¥7000, and weekday lunches for ¥1800, this restaurant is considered one of the best kept secrets in Tokyo. But in fact it is popular, and reservations are mandatory. Menu in French and Japanese.



Oriental Bazaar

A kitschy Tokyo institution for tourists and expats alike, with four floors of shopping stocking everything from kamikaze T-shirts to foreigner-sized kimonos. Still, this is definitely the easiest way to get your souvenir shopping done. The Bazaar is housed in an instantly recognizable building with a faux-Chinese temple roof.

BUY   —  5-9-13 Jingumae

Yoyogi Park

A popular get-away from Tokyoits. In springtime, Yoyogi Park is full of cherry blossoms and people partying under the trees. Due to the massive littering, park administration has designed trash collection points. Keep in mind as later as the evening is, the higher the level of intoxication of visitors is likely to be.

SEE   —  Map


Shakey's Pizza

Shakey's Pizza has an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for ¥850 on weekdays (on weekends & holidays about ¥1250). If you've never had seaweed, pickled ginger or fruit salad in your pizza, this is the place to try it. The pizza isn't great, but for Tokyo the buffet is a killer deal.

EAT   —  6-1-10 Jingumae

Floracion Aoyama

A conveniently placed, if somewhat expensive hotel, it can be found by the Omotesando station in a quiet spot with a good view of the park. It features both a restaurant of reasonable quality and a spa - expect to pay through the nose, though.



Binimaru

Nice selection of Belgian bottled beers, lots of beer, quite a lot of beer, all are available in 750 mL (25 floz) bottles, good for sharing with a friend. ¥1000-1200 for single serving bottle, around ¥2000 for 750 mL (25 floz) bottle.


R/O-426

Small burger and beer joint with the kitchen housed inside a small, Airstream trailer. Outdoor patio seating just above a small walkway where you can watch wannabe models and photographers capture bright-eyed moments in the afternoon sun.

EAT   —  Jingumae 4-26-18

Eggs N' Things

American-style all-day breakfast joint. Eggs served every way imaginable - pancakes, Eggs Benedict, with sausage, etc. Wildly popular at lunchtime, with lines backing down the street, so go early or late (possibly after 7pm).


Antique Market

A small collection of specialist shops that sell authentic (and fiercely expensive) antiques. For serious antique lovers only. (August 2009 update: This mall was mostly empty, with only three or four booths occupied.)


Kyushu Jangara

One of the best-known ''tonkotsu ramen'' shops in Tokyo, where you can choose between five degrees of noodle thickness, three levels of soup texture, and three levels of soup fattiness.


Anniversaire Cafe

This is a fashonable cafe of Paris style. You can enjoy elegant mood with seeing a row of houses and street of Omotesando. You can also choose fish or meat for lunch

EAT   —  +81 3-5411-5988 —  Map

Laforet Harajuku

A large shopping mall owned by the same company that runs Omotesando Hills, but targeting a decidedly younger audience. In summer and winter, they have big sales.


TEPIA

Science museum showcasing new technologies, robots, home automation. Explanations are in Japanese but playing with the objects is still fun for kids and adults.


Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

Studio and house of Okamoto Taro are exhibited. He made numerous masterpieces. For example, taiyonotou. Unfinished work or paint which he used are leaved.


Fonda de la Madrugada

Located in a cavernous basement, Fonda de la Madrugada is regarded as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Tokyo. Menu in English, Spanish and Japanese.


Kebab Box J

Whereas most doner kebabs in Tokyo are served out of a van, Kebab Box J's store is firmly attached to the ground. Friendly staff wear cowboy hats.


JS Burgers Cafe

Clean, bright, upmarket burger chain. A set meal of burger, fries and a drink costs around ¥1200. The thick chilli sauce is recommended.

EAT   —  6-6-2 2F Jingumae

Kiddy Land

A huge toy store located on Omotesando, near the entrance to Cat Street (on September 17 2010 Kiddyland moved to Cat Street).

BUY   —  6-1-9 Jingumae

Tenya

This fast-food tempura chain has an outlet on Meiji-dori just to the north of the Meiji-dori/Omote-sando intersection.

EAT   —  Map

cafe STUDIO

This restaurant/cafe often holds events including guest speakers and live shows. The hamburger menu is popular.


COCONGO

This is a south style ethnic caffe. This shop's lassi (an Indian mango yogurt based juice) is very good.


Yellow 96 Cafe

Funky, arty, quiet backstreet cafe. Good place to savour a coffee (hot or cold) in a deep chair.

EAT   —  3-20-1 Jingumae

Nezu Museum

Showcases the private art collection of Nezu Kaichirō with many pieces from the Edo period.


Tōgō Jinja

This shrine was given the name of ''Tōgō Heihachirō'', who was general in Meiji age.

SEE   —  1-5-3 Jingumae

Sakuratei

A great '''Okonomiyaki''' restaurant where many local artists work.

EAT   —  Map

YM Square

Known for its two big used clothes shops: Kinji and Hanjiro.

BUY   —  4-31-10 Jingumae

Harajuku-SoLaDo

New shopping center in Harajuku with 11 clothes shops.


Yoyogi Park

Has a bike path and bicycle rentals are available.

DO   —  Map

VIRGO

Actresses and models sometimes use this salon.

DO   —  2-32-3 Jingumae

Omote-sandō

BUY   —  Map

Takeshita-dōri

BUY   —  Map

About Tokyo/Harajuku

The broad, tree-lined avenue leading downhill from the southern end of the JR station is Omote-sandō (表参道), which leads to the upscale Aoyama district. The street is full of cafes and clothing stores. For teenagers, though, the place to be is Takeshita-dori, which is a bustling narrow street several blocks to the north.

Nearby Yoyogi Park (代々木公園 Yoyogi-kōen) was the site of the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan, on December 19, 1910, by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, following which it became an army parade ground. During the postwar occupation, it was the site of the Washington Heights residence for U.S. officers. It later was selected as the site for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the distinctive Olympic buildings designed by Kenzo Tange are still nearby. In 1967, it was made into a city park. Today, the park is a popular hangout, especially on Sundays, when it is used as a gathering place for people to play music, practice martial arts, etc. The park has a bike path, and bicycle rentals are available. As a consequence of Japan's long recession, there are several large, but surprisingly quiet and orderly, homeless camps around the park's periphery.


Source: wikivoyage