Cotton candy Momi & Toys Harajuku1/6
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaMomi & Toys
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku2/6
Photo: Taras Vyshnya/DreamstimeTokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
Takeshita Dori Harajuku3/6
Photo: Sean Pavone/DreamstimeTakeshita Dori
Meiji Shrine outer forest4/6
Photo: Fermatastock/DreamstimeMeiji Jingu forest
Higuma Doughnuts + Coffee Wrights5/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaHiguma Doughnuts + Coffee Wrights
Togo Shrine6/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTogo Shrine

50 things to do in Harajuku

Where to shop, eat and drink in Tokyo’s capital of kawaii, from the best fashion boutiques to the trendiest cafés

By Time Out Tokyo Editors and Kaila Imada
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If you're looking for the heart of Tokyo's distinctive kawaii fashion culture, Harajuku is the place to go. Harajuku is the district that gave us Lolita girls, decora, the pancake boom and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. This Shibuya neighbourhood has been the captial of Tokyo teen fashion (and vintage stores) for decades, and it's still nurturing unorthodox, garish styles even as big-name international retailers like H&M and Zara rush into the area.

Join us on a trip around Harajuku's best restaurants, cafés, gift shops and fashion boutiques – lots of fashion boutiques. And if these 50 things to do in Harajuku aren't enough for you, make sure to check out our guide to Tokyo's best souvenir shops and specialist stores.

RECOMMENDED: The best free things to do in Tokyo

Laforet Harajuku
Photo: Green Planet/Photo AC

1. Go shopping in a kawaii mecca

Shopping Harajuku

Over 100 boutiques jostle for attention in the multi-storey Laforet mall, which has been the centre of Harajuku fashion – and a bastion of Lolita-style cutesiness – for over 30 years. Laforet

Eiswelt Gelato アイスウェルト ジェラート
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

2. Lick an adorable ice cream

Shopping Harajuku

Head on over to Harajuku's Eiwelt Gelato for the most adorable animal-shaped ice cream in the city. Pick from a tasty zoo of bunnies, pigs or bears – plus, this Los Angeles-born gelateria crafts all its cute critters right before your eyes. Eiswelt Gelato

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Funktique
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

3. Shop for funky vintage threads

Shopping Vintage shops Harajuku

Hidden away in Harajuku’s popular vintage and consignment area, this shop is indeed funky, offering a mix of accessories, toys and clothing. The focus here is on fashion from the ’90s to the early 2000s, with the odd older piece thrown into the mix. Funktique

Kiddy Land
Photo: Kiddy Land

4. Explore a character menagerie

Shopping Harajuku

Snoopy and Hello Kitty are just two of the 80-odd children's characters you'll find on sale at Harajuku's most venerable toy shop, a five-floor emporium that first opened way back in 1950. Kiddy Land

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Reissue
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

5. Sip on a kawaii latte

Restaurants Cafés Harajuku

Making a strong claim for the title of best latte art in Tokyo, the laidback Reissue is found not too far from Harajuku's ever-crowded Takeshita-dori. The lattes (¥650) are available with flavours like caramel, mocha and honey, but can be made considerably more Instagram-worthy by paying an extra ¥450 and getting the café's latte artist extraordinaire to top your cup with an edible picture based on a photo of your choosing. Reissue

A+S
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

6. Shop for new kicks

Shopping Fashion Harajuku

Visit A+S, otherwise known as Architecture and Sneakers, for a dose of Tokyo’s ever-evolving streetwear and sneaker culture. Just as the shop name suggests, what you’ll find here is a curated selection of sneakers inside an immaculately designed space run by the folks behind Japanese streetwear label Soph. A+S

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デザインフェスタギャラリー原宿 村上さまより/小滝
Photo: Design Festa Gallery Harajuku

7. Admire some local art

Art Harajuku

Design Festa is a multidisciplinary celebration of everything from painting to performance art, with up to 12,000 artists and creatives participating in each event. This gallery is the festival’s permanent outpost, open throughout the year with 71 exhibition rooms and spaces to explore. Design Festa Gallery Harajuku

Boutique Takenoko
Photo: Boutique Takenoko

8. Take a history lesson in Harajuku style

Shopping Harajuku

When gaudily dressed dance groups known as takenoko-zoku flocked to Harajuku in the mid-'70s and early-'80s, they bought their clothes at Boutique Takenoko. It's still there today, but stocks mainly Lolita and punk fashion now. Boutique Takenoko

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Harajuku Gyoza Lou
Photo: Harajuku Gyoza Lou/Instagram

9. Indulge in some gyoza

Restaurants Gyoza Harajuku

There are just two styles of gyoza dumplings available at this no-frills eatery – fried or steamed – and they're as tasty as they are affordable (just ¥290 for six). Harajuku Gyoza Lou

GR8
Photo: GR8

10. Sift through today's coolest streetwear

Shopping Harajuku

Even among the shopping chaos that is Laforet, this store dealing in 'cutting-edge' fashion stands out from the rest. The neon lighting inside lends a quirky glow to styles from up-and-coming and edgy designers as well as a range of items from popular designer collabs. GR8

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SUPERIORITY BURGER
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

11. Munch on a vegan burger

Restaurants Harajuku

This popular New York vegan burger joint has made its way to Tokyo and Superiority Burger sure does live up to its name. The meat-free menu offers the store’s two signature burgers plus Japan-exclusives. Superiority Burger

GOMAYA KUKI
Photo: Gomaya Kuki

12. Treat yourself to a sweet sesame treat

Shopping Chocolate and sweets Harajuku

Fragrant, nutty sesame is used to season an abundance of Japanese dishes and snacks, but sesame ice cream is still hard to come by outside of speciality shops. Gomaya Kuki offers not one but four different sesame variations in its scoops: two black and two white, with varying degrees of intensity, and all made with premium sesame from Mie prefecture. Gomaya Kuki

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13. Get some arty accessories

Shopping Omotesando

If you're looking for an unusual gift or just some fancy knick-knacks for your apartment, you can always find something tempting at this Tokyo outpost of NYC's Museum of Modern Art. MoMA Design Store

Blum and Poe: Asuka Anastacia Ogawa
© Asuka Anastacia Ogawa, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Photo: Saiki

14. Peruse an art gallery

Art Harajuku

Brought over from Los Angeles, this renowned gallery displays a remarkable collection of contemporary art in Harajuku. Representing Japan are Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami, plus the so-called mono-ha ('school of things') artists. The Tokyo gallery was one of two new Blum & Poe branches opened for its 20th anniversary back in 2014. Blum & Poe

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Koffee Mameya
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

15. Take notes from the bean specialists

Restaurants Coffeeshops Harajuku

Koffee Mameya is a coffee bean dealer with enough shebang to turn you into a proper barista at home. The shop sells between 15 and 20 varieties of beans sourced from five specific roasteries, so you'll also be able to distinguish your favourite in the long run. Koffee Mameya

16. Pick up some Gaga-grade garb

Shopping Harajuku

Basement boutique Dog has wooed some unusual customers with its blend of outlandish vintage and reworked clothing – not least Lady Gaga, who's visited the store incognito in the past. Dog

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Hotel Drugs
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

17. Grab an offbeat coffee

Restaurants Cafés Harajuku

This curiously named coffee shop opened its doors in 2015 thanks to a series of crowdfunding efforts. Coffee is made from high quality beans mixed into the store’s own original house blend and you can even purchase beans online. Hotel Drugs

pass the baton
Photo: Pass the Baton

18. Make unique vintage finds

Shopping Omotesando

Inside this 'modern recycle shop' you’ll find a range of secondhand items, including antiques, furniture, clothing and art – many of which have been previously owned by celebrities. Pass the Baton

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Big Love Records
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

19. Browse through an endless collection of music

Shopping Harajuku

Trusted among musos for its good taste, this independent record store collects vinyl and cassette tapes of indie bands from the US, the UK and Europe. Soak in the atmosphere at the bar space where you can enjoy Shiga Kogen, one of the best Japanese craft beers. Big Love

Ragtag
Photo: Ragtag

20. Hunt for rare designer clothes

Shopping Consignment store Harajuku

A secondhand shop for brand-name clothing, Ragtag offers three floors' worth of used designer goods and furniture – perfect if you're hoping to stumble across a rare item. Ragtag Harajuku

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シンシアブルー
シンシアブルー

21. Eat your way through a trendy food hall

Restaurants

At the new Jingumae Comichi food and drink complex in Harajuku, you can hop from venue to venue, sampling delicacies ranging from French cuisine and Chinese specialities to classic Japanese dishes. Stretching over two floors, the food hall is designed to feel like a mini neighbourhood, housing 18 diverse eateries offering vegan ramen, fresh seafood from Hokkaido, craft beer and more. Jingumae Comichi

Trunk Hotel
Photo: Trunk Hotel

22. Lounge in style

Hotels Harajuku

Aiming to let guests experience the best of the surrounding area during their stay, this hotel's lounge hosts frequent parties and events. The art-filled rooms are stocked with made-in-Japan, environmentally friendly bathroom amenities, which are also available for purchase at the shop on the ground floor. Trunk Hotel

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23. Shop with the cool kids

Shopping Designer Shibuya

The first-ever flagship for Tokyo-based brand Ambush stretches across 140 square metres and its design remains true to the gender-neutral vibes of the brand’s collections. The store houses the brand’s conceptual jewellery alongside a growing number of its original apparel range. Ambush Workshop

Kinji
Photo: Kinji

24. Thrift your day away

Shopping Consignment store Harajuku

This expansive thrift store might be a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s definitely worth exploring fully. Prices here are reasonable, and you’ll get a mix of contemporary fashion, vintage duds and even cheap costume jewellery. Kinji

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Bonobo
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

25. Party it up, Harajuku style

Clubs Harajuku

Found on a back street not far from Jingu Stadium, Bonobo occupies an old two-storey house with a rooftop terrace. The ground-floor bar is complemented by a DJ booth and a lounge upstairs, which is where the frequent gigs and other music events take place. Bar Bonobo

The Little Shop of Flowers Atelier
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

26. Pick out fresh florals

Shopping Florists Harajuku

This obscure Harajuku spot has been home to a creative florist for the last seven years and continues to turn out gorgeous bouquets and made-to-order arrangements. The secluded shop also has a sister store on Cat Street, where you can purchase both fresh and dry flowers. The Little Shop of Flowers Atelier

Musubi Harajuku
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

27. Get wrapped up in furoshiki

Shopping Harajuku

This beautiful shop specialises in traditional Japanese furoshiki wrapping cloths, which are used to wrap everything from bento lunch boxes to wine bottles and gifts. Musubi

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Cotton candy from Momi & Toys Harajuku
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

29. Grab a colourful street snack

Restaurants Harajuku

Known for its crêpes and other desserts such as crazy cotton candy creations, this Harajuku spot is where you can stock up on many of your street snacks in one go. If your inner child has their heart set on the larger-than-life cotton candy, you'll be glad to know that there's usually a much shorter queue at this shop than at the Totti Candy Factory across the street. Momi & Toys

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No 501
Photo: No 501

30. Explore the world of natural wine

Bars and pubs Wine bars Harajuku

This natural wine shop and restaurant is housed in a sleek space in Harajuku. No 501 is serious about sourcing its wines, looking to varieties that use strict farming methods and organic cultivation to produce exquisite flavours. At the tasting table, the menu is made to appeal to all five senses and is carefully curated to pair well with the selected vino. No 501

31. Finish your shopathon with a song

Things to do Harajuku

Sing and dance to your heart's content at this staple karaoke joint in the heart of Harajuku. Continuing to bring in the crowds till the wee hours, complete your karaoke experience with food and drinks and you're set for the ultimate evening of fun. Just be sure keep a safe distance and wear your mask – especially while singing. Karaoke Kan

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Think of Things
Photo: Think of Things

32. Have a coffee with your stationery

Shopping Harajuku

This lifestyle shop-cum-café in Sendagaya seeks to 'straddle the boundary between work and life'. We hope that means a better work-life balance, but you can never be sure in this city; it might just mean turning your apartment into an office. Think of Things

Cibone
Photo: Cibone

33. Give your home a stylish makeover

Shopping Omotesando

Cibone has recently found a new home in Omotesando’s Gyre building, moving from the previous shop space in Aoyama. The store carries a well-curated range of lifestyle goods from fashion, furniture and art to jewellery, watches and beauty products. The new space is still classic Cibone, with a number of renowned local and international brands on offer. Cibone

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Marion Crepes
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

34. Chow down on a classic crêpe

Shopping Harajuku

Japan's longest-running crêpe shop started life as a food truck in 1976 before moving to its current home on Takeshita-dori. It's the quintessential Harajuku street food, whether you're having it sweet or with a savoury filling like tuna and curry sauce. Marion Crêpes

Ota Memorial Museum of Art
Photo: Ota Memorial Museum of Art

35. Admire priceless works from ukiyo-e masters

Art Harajuku

The late Seizo Ota, chairman of Toho Mutual Life Insurance, began collecting ukiyo-e prints after he saw that Japan was losing its traditional art to Western museums and collectors. Temporary exhibitions drawn from his 12,000-strong collection often include works by popular masters like Hiroshige and Hokusai. Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art

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権八 原宿
Photo: Gonpachi

36. Munch on a sushi hand roll

Restaurants Harajuku

A unique addition to the Gonpachi family, this Harajuku outpost focuses on temaki, or hand rolls, which are all made to order. The menu consists of some firm favourites such as salmon avocado and tuna, but also branches out into yam and coe roe, okra and natto, and stewed beef. Gonpachi Nori-Temaki Harajuku

Tamawarai
Photo: Jessica Thompson

37. Slurp some fancy noodles

Restaurants Soba Harajuku

Located in a quiet backstreet of Harajuku, Tamawarai is a one-Michelin-starred soba restaurant that looks like a discreet modern Japanese home from the outside. Low-lit, with just 14 seats, Tamawarai draws a crowd for its chewy, fragrant noodles. The owner-chef has a field in Tochigi prefecture where he grows and cultivates the soba himself. Tamawarai

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Togo Shrine
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

38. Take a stroll through a serene shrine

Attractions Religious buildings and sites Harajuku

Hidden behind the busy streets of Harajuku is this peaceful shrine dedicated to Admiral Togo, who served as commander of the Imperial fleet during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Togo Shrine

Grapevine by K3
Photo: Grapevine by K3

39. Shop for Japanese high fashion

Shopping Harajuku

Offering a mix of stylish fashion for both men and women, Grapevine by K3 is a must-visit for those looking to get their hands on Japanese designers such as GVGV, John Lawrence Sullivan and Facetasm. The store also stocks a range of high-end international labels including Anderssen Bell, Ashley Williams and Sunnei. Grapevine by K3

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toga-harajuku-store
Photo: Toga Harajuku

40. Meet the epitome of cool

Shopping Fashion Harajuku

This ever-popular clothing label presents sophisticated yet avant-garde garments and accessories for men and women and has even shown its designs at the Paris and London fashion weeks. Toga Harajuku

Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo
(c)Louis Vuitton / Daici Ano

41. Keep up with the art world

Art Omotesando

Following the example of Champs-Elysées Maison in Paris, Louis Vuitton has transformed the seventh floor of its Jun Aoki-designed Omotesando store into an art gallery. Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo has held solo exhibitions by Jesus Rafael Soto and Christian Boltanski as well as group shows featuring work by artists from Finland, India and JapanEspace Louis Vuitton Tokyo

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42. Enjoy a latte or two

Restaurants Coffeeshops Harajuku

This uber-hip roastery and café on Cat Street is one of the city's flashiest specialist coffee haunts. Choose from two kinds of single-origin beans for your americano, latte or espresso. The coffee soft-serves and suspiciously cronut-like NY Rings are sure to satisfy sugar addicts. The Roastery

An Di, Jingumae
Photo: An Di

43. Savour Vietnamese with a twist

Restaurants Soshigaya-Okura

You’ve never tasted Vietnamese done this way. While dishes on An Di’s menu may sound familiar, head chef Chihiro Naito has reimagined classic Vietnamese fare – think rice paper rolls, pho and bánh xèo – with local Japanese ingredients, resulting in a medley of fresh, vibrant flavours. An Di

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Unfollow Journal Standard
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

44. Refresh your wardrobe

Shopping Vintage shops Harajuku

Hit up this cool shop on Cat Street for streetwear and a curated selection of vintage finds that will outshine everything else in your closet. From wacky patterned shirts to flowing dresses, the vintage selection is some of the best, while the hip hop-influenced T-shirts and sweatshirts make for the perfect accompaniment. Unfollow

Menchirashi
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

45. Order a trendy bowl of udon

Restaurants Harajuku

Tucked away in an alley off Cat Street, Menchirashi is a stylish space to savour house-made udon noodles amongst Harajuku’s fashionable crowd. But don’t let its hip American-Japanese-diner interior deter you: prices here are very reasonable, with most udon dishes priced below ¥1,000. Menchirashi

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Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
Photo: Taras Vyshnya/Dreamstime

46. Snap an iconic Harajuku shot

Shopping Harajuku

A frenzy of mirrors that looks like the inside of a kaleidoscope, this trippy mall entrance in the heart of Harajuku has become quite the popular photo op, tripping snappers out with its unique puzzle of reflections. Head on up to the sixth floor as the building is also home to a serene rooftop garden next to a Starbucks. Grab a coffee and enjoy the views. Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku

Shiseido Parlour
Photo: Shiseido Parlour

47. Dine with views of Yoyogi Park

Restaurants Harajuku

The Shiseido Parlour inside the new With Harajuku building features breathtaking views of Yoyogi Park and a luxurious dining salon where you can dine on Shiseido’s signature sweets and yoshoku (Japanese-style western) cuisine. Ingredients are sourced from all around Japan and wine pairings selected by Shiseido Parlour’s sommeliers can be added to multicourse meals. Shiseido Parlour Harajuku

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Atmos Pink
Photo: Atmos Pink

48. Go sneaker crazy

Shopping Shoes Harajuku

Sneaker shop Atmos now has a dedicated ladies-only flagship store in Harajuku, with relatively discrete pink touches around the shop. You'll find anything from international bestsellers such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok and domestic sneaker brands to original clothing and accessories, all perfect for daily wear. Atmos Pink

Line Friends Harajuku
Photo: Line

49. Explore an adorable digital universe

Shopping Harajuku

Line is undoubtedly the most popular messaging app in Japan – and for good reason. After all, who can resist the original characters and cutesy themes you can use to personalise every chat? The store stocks three floors of merchandise featuring exclusive characters you might recognise from Line's apps, stickers and emoji, as well as the entire lineup of BT21 characters. Line Friends Harajuku

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Meiji Shrine
Photo: Niphon Subsri/Dreamstime

50. Follow your inner zen

Attractions Religious buildings and sites Harajuku

Perennially popular, this shrine opened in 1920 and continues to draw annual crowds of a million-plus. It also hosts numerous festivals, weddings and other events within its lush surrounds. Meiji Shrine & Inner Garden

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