50 things to do in Harajuku

Where to shop, eat and drink in Tokyo’s ‘kawaii’ capital
Kawaii Monster Cafe | Time Out Tokyo
Find wild things to do in Harajuku
By Time Out Tokyo Editors and Kaila Imada |
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It's the neighbourhood that gave us Lolita girls, decora, the pancake boom and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Harajuku has been the epicentre 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, Forever 21 and American Eagle Outfitters muscle in on 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 very best shops.

1
Shopping

Go shopping in a mecca for ‘kawaii’

icon-location-pin Harajuku

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

2
Shopping

Explore a character menagerie

icon-location-pin 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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3
Daiso Harajuku
Shopping

Go on a ¥100 shopping spree

icon-location-pin Harajuku

From household products to cheap souvenirs, it's amazing what you can stumble across at this three-floor ¥100 shop, a low-cost landmark on bustling Takeshita-dori. Daiso Harajuku

4
Solakzade
Shopping, Eyewear

Snap up some century-old spectacles

icon-location-pin Harajuku

If you're looking for an alternative to the latest eyewear trends, you can find something more distinctive at Solakzade, a boutique offering vintage glasses from as far back as the 1800s. Solakzade

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5
Boutique Takenoko
Shopping

Take a history lesson in Harajuku style

icon-location-pin 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

6
anywhere door 『コットンキャンディーアイスクリーム』
Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Satisfy your sweet tooth

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Dig into a well-deserved sweet treat with a tasty waffle shot – simply a shot of espresso served in a chocolate-coated waffle cone at this dessert shop. If ice cream is more your thing, try out their cotton candy covered concoction – perfect for your Instagram feed. Anywhere Door

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7
Restaurants, Gyoza

Indulge in some gyoza

icon-location-pin 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

8
GR8
Shopping

Sift through today's coolest streetwear

icon-location-pin 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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9
アトモス▲フラッグシップ▲ストア
Shopping, Shoes

Become a sneakerhead

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Shop your way through this two-storey sneaker haven, home to a wide range of today's most popular brands as well as an in-house café on the basement floor, where you'll find a a collection of Bearbrick dolls, cool memorabillia and more. Atmos

10
harry
Things to do

Have coffee with a hedgehog

icon-location-pin Harajuku

They might not be the cuddliest, but hedgehogs sure are adorable creatures that we don't mind spending time with. Harry's Harajuku location is home to nine different types of hedgehogs you can pick up and admire along with your coffee. Hedgehog Café Harry Harajuku

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11
MoMA Design Store
Shopping

Dig for stylish designs

icon-location-pin Omotesando

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

12
Art

Open up to cutting-edge culture

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Want to keep abreast of the latest cultural currents in Tokyo? Start at Vacant, a popular spot that serves as concert venue, art gallery, theatre, cinema and just about everything else. Vacant

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13
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Take notes from the bean specialists

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Koffee Mameya is a coffee bean dealer with enough shebang to turn you into a proper barista at home. They sell 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

14
Shopping

Pick up some Gaga-grade garb

icon-location-pin 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 incognito in the past. Dog

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15
Kawaii Monster Cafe | Time Out Tokyo
Restaurants, Cafés

Dine in proper 'kawaii' style

icon-location-pin Harajuku

As the name gives away, this café right by Laforet is packed with elements drawn from all things kawaii. It's a fantastic merry-go-round of super-cute elements, and offers four types of appropriately OTT seating in areas labelled Mushroom Disco, Milk Stand, Bar Experiment and Mel-Tea Room. Kawaii Monster Cafe

16
pass the baton
Shopping

Make unique vintage finds

icon-location-pin 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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17
Good Design Shop Comme des Garçons D&Department Project
Shopping

Invest in some timeless designs

icon-location-pin Omotesando

A collaboration between lifestyle shop D & Department and Comme des Garçons, this shop does what it promises – sells well-designed products, that is. From lifestyle goods for the home to Comme des Garçons clothing and accessories, every item stands the test of time. Good Design Shop

18
Shopping

Browse through endless amounts of music

icon-location-pin 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 beer, one of the best Japanese craft beers. Big Love

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19
Shopping

Hunt for rare designer clothes

icon-location-pin 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

20
Shopping

Check out one of Kyary's favourites

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Harajuku style icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a fan of this vintage clothing shop, where the selection is organised according to style, from kitsch to classic. G2?

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21
Hotels

Lounge in style

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Aiming to let guests experience the best of the surrounding area during their stay, this hotel's lounge hosts parties every Friday night. The art-filled rooms are stocked with made-in-Japan, environmentally friendly bathroom amenities, which can also be bought at the shop on the ground floor. Trunk Hotel

22
Restaurants, Tea rooms

Savour sweet temptations

icon-location-pin Harajuku

An upscale setting for some upscale treats, indulge in tempting offerings from traditional Japanese sweets like mochiyaki shiruko, to refreshing kakigori in the summer months. Gion Tokuya

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23
Shopping, Designer

Shop with the cool kids

icon-location-pin 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

24
Shopping

Thrift your day away

icon-location-pin Harajuku

This thrift shop in Harajuku is well worth visiting for bargain hunting, offering T-shirts from ¥735 and shirts from ¥945. There are plenty of quality items to be found if you dig around a bit, and it also stocks a range of accessories, including shoes, bags and sunglasses. Kinji

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25
Clubs

Party it up, Harajuku style

icon-location-pin 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

26
Shopping

Give yourself a Goth-Loli makeover

icon-location-pin Harajuku

One of the prime purveyors of Gothic and Punk Lolita fashions, Putumayo even opened a shop in Shanghai recently – though its main branch in Laforet is still the place to head. Putumayo

27
Harajuku Taproom
Bars and pubs, Craft beer pubs

Sink a few microbrews

icon-location-pin Harajuku

It may be just around the corner from Takeshita-dori, but the teen fashion crowd feels a long way away at this intimate craft beer bar run by Numazu's Baird Brewing. Harajuku Taproom

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28
Shopping

Crunch on some freshly cooked crisps

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Snack food maker Calbee serves the freshest crisps you'll ever taste at this Harajuku outpost, complete with toppings including cheese, sour cream and chocolate. Go on: indulge yourself. Calbee Plus

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Pulp 417
Shopping

Stay stylishly cool

icon-location-pin Shibuya

Housed inside the new Shibuya Cast complex at the south end of Cat Street, this streetwear shop is attached to a café and restaurant. Lick on an ice cream cone as you browse through the selection of labels and footwear for both men and women. Pulp 417 Édifice

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30
The Shel'tter
Shopping

Stock up on trendy clothes – and books

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Fashion behemoth Baroque Japan Limited's global flagship store showcases brands including Moussy and Sly, and even boasts its own bookshop – perfect for gyaru with an intellectual bent. The Shel'tter Tokyo

31
Karaoke Kan Harajuku
Things to do

Finish your shopathon with a song

icon-location-pin 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 don't be a mic hog. Karaoke Kan

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32
Shopping

Dig through well-worn vintage finds

icon-location-pin Harajuku

From a slew of cut-off denim shorts to vintage items sewn and remade into inventive pieces, this two-storey shop is filled with unique vintage finds as well as a selection of accessories to complete your look. Panama Boy

33
Shopping

Satisfy your hunger with a classic

icon-location-pin 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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34
Art

Admire priceless works from ukiyo-e masters

icon-location-pin 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

35
Shopping

Get yourself a one-of-a-kind kimono

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If you’re looking for a pretty and vivid kimono with traditional prints, this is the place to be, while their small patches of kimono fabrics are quite popular too. Oedo Kazuko

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36
Kamakura Matsubara-an Keyaki
Restaurants

Slurp some fancy noodles

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Dine on a fine selection of quality soba and traditional Japanese snacks at this serene spot located right above the hustle and bustle of Harajuku. Kamakura Matsubara-an Keyaki

37
Shopping, Fashion

Showcase the epitome of cool

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Toga presents sophisticated yet avant-garde garments and accessories for men and women and has even shown throughout Paris and London fashion weeks. Toga Harajuku

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38
Sport and fitness, Climbing

Build up a sweat and climb a wall

icon-location-pin Shibuya

Spread over three floors, this urban climbing gym overlooks Meiji-dori and is divided into beginner-intermediate, advanced and children's areas, making it the perfect place for family bouldering. Bouldering Studio Peki Peki

39
Attractions, Religious buildings and sites

Take a stroll through serene grounds

icon-location-pin 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

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40
ROCKET
Art

Stay up to date with the latest in the art world

icon-location-pin Omotesando

This gallery was first established in Harajuku back in 1996, with a view to giving exposure to up-and-coming artists. Rocket's mission has changed little since then, and it continues to run exhibitions and events in the Harajuku area. Rocket

41
THE ROASTERY BY NOZY COFFEE
Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Enjoy a latte or two

icon-location-pin 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

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42
Bépocah | Time Out Tokyo
Restaurants, Peruvian

Try out Peruvian flavours with flair

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Bépocah has set out to make a bold statement about Peruvian cuisine, creating very traditional Peruvian dishes but presenting them with contemporary flair. Bépocah

43
Unfollow Journal Standard
Shopping, Vintage shops

Refresh your wardrobe

icon-location-pin Harajuku

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

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44
Restaurants, Chinese

Have a tongue-tingling time

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Your taste buds are guaranteed a good workout at this long-running Chinese restaurant, which specialises in fiery Szechuan cuisine. The lunch sets, including a sizzling mapo dofu, are particularly good value. Ryu No Ko

45
Tokyo Bopper Harajuku
Shopping, Shoes

Step into Harajuku-style shoes

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Be a bit adventurous with your next shoe purchase and browse through the flamboyant selection at this fun shop. Tokyo Bopper specialise in unique footwear styles and are best known for their ultra thick-soles which come in styles from boots to ballerina flats. Tokyo Bopper

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46
Negibouzu Harajuku
Restaurants, Japanese

Dine in the depths of Harajuku

icon-location-pin Harajuku

The perfect stop to wind down your day shopping through Harajuku and Omotesando, Negibouzu offers a range of classic izakaya dishes and drinks that will keep your taste buds happy and your stomach satisfied. Negibouzu

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Lampharajuku
Shopping, Fashion

Join Tokyo's stylish fashion scene

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Dealing mainly in domestic brands like Mina Perhonen and Sina Suien, this boutique caters to 'girly but feminine' fashionistas and hosts regular exhibitions at the in-store gallery. Lamp Harajuku 

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Style Nanda Harajuku
Shopping, Fashion

Shop like a Seoulite

icon-location-pin Harajuku

The latest import from South Korea, this big pink building is filled with miracle-working Korean skincare and makeup products along with a selection of reasonably priced wearables for the trend-conscious. Style Nanda

49
Restaurants, Bakeries

Treat yourself to a sweet something

icon-location-pin Omotesando

Originators of the 'cupcake craze', Magnolia Bakery have come a long way since they first opened in New York City. Featured on shows like Sex and the City and in movies including The Devil Wears Prada, their cupcakes, cookies, brownies and banana puddings have earned a place in the hearts of Tokyoites. Magnolia Bakery

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50
Meiji-jingu
Attractions

Follow your inner zen

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Exceedingly popular, this shrine opened in 1920 and draws annual crowds of a million-plus, plus hosts numerous festivals, weddings and other events around the area. Meiji Shrine & Inner Garden

Next up: Shibuya

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