1. Takeshita-dori in Harajuku
    Photo: Kuremo/DreamstimeTakeshita-dori in Harajuku
  2. Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
    Photo: Taras Vyshnya/DreamstimeTokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
  3. Takeshita Dori Harajuku
    Photo: Sean Pavone/DreamstimeTakeshita Dori
  4. Cotton candy from Momi & Toys Harajuku
    Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaMomi & Toys
  5. Meiji Shrine outer forest
    Photo: Fermatastock/DreamstimeMeiji Jingu forest

50 things to do in Harajuku: best restaurants, cafés, art, shops and more

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

Kaila Imada
Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors
&
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 Zara, Nike and Adidas 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 flagship stores and sneaker specialists.

RECOMMENDED: The best free things to do in Tokyo

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Harajuku

Nanzuka Underground finally has a bigger and better space – a dedicated flagship gallery in its very own building. A big move from its former basement location, the gallery is now situated down the trendy backstreets of Urahara, adjacent to the Harajuku United Arrows building. The gallery comprises four floors, two of which are used for exhibitions, while the upper floors are dedicated to offices and expansive terraces that look out onto the streets of Harajuku. Nanzuka Underground

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  • 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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  • 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

  • Restaurants
  • 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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  • Restaurants
  • Sushi
  • Omotesando

Don’t be fooled by the name – this conveyor belt sushi restaurant isn’t in Ginza, it’s in Omotesando. It’s run by The Onodera Group, which operates the famous Sushi Ginza Onodera chain around the world, including the Michelin-starred Sushi Ginza Onodera branch in New York. While an omakase lunch there can easily run upwards of USD$100, Kaitensushi Ginza Onodera serves up a selection of high-quality seafood at decidedly more affordable prices. Kaitensushi Ginza Onodera

  • 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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  • 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

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  • 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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  • 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. Karaoke Kan

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  • 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

  • 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

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  • 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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  • 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

  • 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

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  • 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

  • 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

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  • 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

  • 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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  • Restaurants
  • Harajuku

Japan’s first craft cola maker Iyoshi Cola opened its first store in Shimo Ochiai in 2020. With a plan to launch in New York City in 2024, owner Kola Kobayashi is continuing to expand his business in Tokyo, opening his second store on Cat Street in Harajuku. Iyoshi Cola makes its own spice blends to prepare colas and other beverages. The Shibuya store has Iyoshi Cola’s original drinks including Dreamy Flavour and Milk Cola. But the  store’s exclusive product is its Mala soup powder. Iyoshi Cola Shibuya

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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 are available with flavours like caramel, mocha and honey, but can be made considerably more Instagram-worthy by paying an little extra and getting the café's latte artist extraordinaire to top your cup with an edible picture based on a photo of your choosing. Reissue

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  • Shopping
  • Consignment store
  • Harajuku

This second-hand consignment store is located along the busy Omotesando Avenue, but you might miss it if you’re not looking hard enough. Set on the third floor of a nondescript building, this Kindal store is one of the brand’s bigger locations. It stocks an impressive variety of second-hand designer clothing and accessories for both men and women. Kindal Harajuku

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Harajuku

This iconic Tokyo café has been around for over 20 years and is still serving up some of the best food – both savoury and sweet – in Harajuku. The café looks deceivingly small from the outside, but once you’re in, you’ll discover an entire basement dedicated to table seating. There’s even a small retail area where you can purchase vinyl records, clothing and more. Lotus

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  • 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

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  • 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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  • 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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  • Shopping
  • Harajuku

The ultimate destination for paper sniffers, Papier Labo is filled with all sorts of stationery from letterpress to card sets and other paper-related items. Papier Labo also provides servies such as custom business cards, rubber stamps and other print-worthy goodness. Many of these items make great gifts, such as the cool card stands, modern memo clips, playing cards, sleek pen cases and more. Papier Labo

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Harajuku

The Human Made Offline Store has found a new home in Harajuku after moving from their previous spot in Nakameguro. You’ll find more than just cool clothing and accessories here. The shop also doubles as a Blue Bottle café, where you can order drinks and purchase special coffee beans including two Human Made Blue Bottle coffee blends. Human Made Offline Store

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  • 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

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  • 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

  • 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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  • 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

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