Harajuku – The Final Frontier

 Note:  You can view Mick’s photos of this day here.

We saved Harajuku for last because it was a Sunday, and that’s when the cosplay happens at Harajuku Station.  I wasn’t sure what else there was to see in Harajuku, but it turns out I didn’t have to worry–Harajuku is full of shops, from high end designers like Chanel and Louis Vuitton to quirky little places selling the trendiest of clothing and accessories.

Mick determined that it wasn’t too far a walk from the hotel to Harajuku, so we made our way through Shinjuku, which it turns out is crowded even on a Sunday morning.


I was in the mood to shop today, so I went into every shop that looked vaguely interesting:
 
In the store pictured above, they had some really cute tops that I was interested in buying.  The only size out they had was 2, but I figured they were European sizes, so roughly 1 would be extra-small, 2 small, 3 medium, and 4 large.  So how to ask if they had other sizes?  I would’ve needed at least a 3 and preferably a 4–unfortunately I only remembered Japanese numbers 1 through 3.

I was determined to find out if they had larger sizes, so I began by asking the sales person if she spoke English.  No.  I then went to the top I wanted and pointed to the size tag and said “san,” for 3, then I put up 4 fingers.  It took a few moments, but finally she said, in English, something to the effect of “only 1 and 2.”  Too bad they didn’t have larger sizes, but I did feel a degree of satisfaction from asking and understanding the reply.

We continued on our way to Harajuku.  Along the way we saw this building:
I know I’ve said over and over again how crowded Tokyo is, but here is just another example:
 
When we got to one of the main streets in Harajuku, we headed down a side street because the guide book said they were more interesting.  We ended up on a really cool little street loaded with shops.

Here was one of my favorites, at least from the outside (we didn’t go in):
 
It’s hard to read the sign in this photo, but the top says “Extra Dope Wear Select Shop.”  Classic.

Another cool looking place:
Home away from home:
 
Hard to read the sign, but it says “Santa Monica.”

We found an Italian bistro-type place for lunch.  Luckily, the waitress spoke enough English to ask questions and take our order.  I found that even western-style meals look Japanese:
After lunch Mick and I decided it was time to go to Harajuku Station to see the spectacle.  Boy, was it.  Although I thought there would be more people dressed up, it definitely didn’t disappoint.  Here was the view from a bridge approaching it:
Here is a glimpse of some of the “players:”
 
Gothic Lolita:
 
Basically, they just sit around letting people take their photos.  A lot of them were also putting on their make up there.

Our next stop was Takeshita Street, which according to Mick is the most crowded street in Tokyo:

 

It was an odd little street, filled with many different types of stores, but most notably, stores selling gothic-type clothes.

Mick was apparently enthralled by a woman cleaning the steps of her shop: By this time I think both Mick and I had had enough of Harajuku.  As we made our tired way home, I found a yarn shop:
I ended up buying some bamboo yarn, which I’ve been wanting for awhile.  It is surprisingly soft and the fabric it knits up to drapes really well.

As much as I loved Harajuku, I was ready to leave it by this time, and I was also ready to leave Japan.  We’d packed so much into the 9 days we’d been there that the beginning of the trip seemed a distant memory.

We ended this day, like all our days in Shinjuku, with a drink at the hotel bar: I think this photo pretty much says it all:
Goodbye Japan!  We loved you, but now I’m ready to sleep!

Holly West

4 Comments

  1. Fallon liked the Cosplay pictures (so did I). What a funky place. Reminds me of San Fransisco.
    You must REALLY love the movie Lost In Translation?

  2. It’s not that I love the movie so much, although I did like it. It’s just that it gives a view of Tokyo through American eyes and it’s a reference point. Plus cool to be in places you saw in a movie, at least to me.

  3. Thank you so much for taking all the time you did to blog about your trip. I’m planning a trip to Tokyo next year to celebrate my own 40th, and you’ve given me lots of ideas and advice. I’m even more excited now, and didn’t think that would be possible!

  4. Jenn, you will love it. It’s such an energetic place and so quirky. We were just looking at all our photos again with my mother-in-law who is visiting from England and I re-lived the trip again. It is such a great place. I hope you have fun, and email me if you have any questions.

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