1. Tokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
  2. Tokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
  3. Tokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
  4. ハラッパ
    Photo: Kisa Toyoshimaハラッパ
  5. ハラカド
    Photo: Kisa Toyoshimaハラカド6階
  6. Tokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTokyu Plaza Harajuku 'Harakado'

6 best things to do at the new Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado

Harajuku's newest landmark is not just another shopping centre – it has a Japanese bathhouse, a lush rooftop garden, and more

Written by
Darren Gore
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Tokyo’s Harajuku-Omotesando intersection has a new landmark in the form of Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado. With stunning design that features a vertical rooftop garden embedded into a reflective, geometric facade, the new development shares aesthetic DNA with Tokyo Plaza Omotesando Harajuku directly opposite.

A total of 75 shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses can be found across Harakado’s nine above-ground and three basement levels. Mixed among the shopping opportunities are a number of cool experiences: some unique in this corner of the city, others unrivalled in all of Tokyo. The leafy rooftop garden combines with a giant, sun-inspired art installation to conjure a refreshing sense of wild nature, while an authentic sento bath brings retro vibes to this 21st-century development.

Harakado’s retail aspect too offers some pleasant surprises, including openings from some lesser-known names to watch, and a concept store dedicated to the safest of safe sex: the solo variety. You could spend a whole day at this fitting new addition to Harajuku-Omotesando, a spot where cutting-edge culture and sleek luxury have long converged.

RECOMMENDED: 50 best things to do in Harajuku

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Tokyo’s sento bath revival heats up further with the opening of this authentic ‘Showa retro’-style public bath down in the first basement floor of Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado. At this outpost of long-established Koenji neighbourhood sento Kosugi-yu, a ‘widescreen’ mural of majestic Mt Fuji (a staple of traditional sento) flanks several baths. Each one flows with water whose temperatures are fine-tuned to help soothe the tired bodies of hardworking urbanites.

A truly ‘hot water’ bath, at a temperature of 42-43°C, is complemented by a ‘milk bath’ whose more moderately warm water gives a soft sensation as it touches the skin, and a cold bath which coincidentally aligns with the current wellness trend for low-temperature immersion. Another more compact bath is sized for just two or three people, making it ideal for unwinding with close companions.

The look and feel of this wellness floor in Harakado are inspired by the streets that typically surround sento baths, complete with a beer stand from iconic brewer Sapporo enabling the time-honoured practice of a cold apres-bath tipple.

Cover is a paradise for magazine junkies, as well as those wanting to discover (or rediscover) the tactile pleasures of non-digital media. The concept of this original space, a brainchild of the people also behind Roppongi’s Bunkitsu, is essentially that of a public library dedicated entirely to glossy mags.

The facility serves as an archive too, with its roughly 3,000 titles including copies that date back as far as the 1960s. Harajuku street style, a culture that enthusiastically reinvents the past, is sure to welcome this new neighbourhood resource.

Cover’s magazines, courtesy of publishing houses as well as donations by members of the public, can be browsed unhurriedly at this free-admission venue. Going ahead, special magazine-related events are planned, along with Instagram-genic photo spots.

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Take a respite from the Harajuku crowds at Harappa

Leafy nature abounds at Harakado. Besides the vertical rooftop garden that looks out over the Harajuku-Omotesando intersection and beyond, the building’s entire fourth floor consists of a public area designed to provide the relaxation and revitalisation that comes from encountering nature.

At Harappa (‘open field’), botanics in sustainably made planters, along with similarly eco-friendly ‘outdoor’ furniture, surround a huge art installation named ‘Bonfire of the Sun’. This 4.5-metre-wide red globe contains 14 flickering lights, emitting a total of some 70,000 lumens, that combine to give visitors an impression akin to sitting in front of a bonfire, or laying in a field and basking in the sun’s rays.

Eat out at the 5th- and 6th-floor restaurant area

An eclectic food court conceived by some of Tokyo’s leading interior designers is the vibe of the restaurant area spanning Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado’s fifth and sixth floors. Shopping, bathing and gazing at nature-inspired hi-tech art are all likely to inspire an appetite, and Harakado has things well covered on the culinary front, too.

On the fifth storey, Talking Gorilla is a stand-up drinking-and-eating joint designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma and specialising in roast chicken and yakitori (grilled skewers of assorted chicken cuts). FAMiRES, meanwhile, is a stylish reinterpretation of Japan’s ubiquitous ‘family restaurants’ with design by Schemata Architects, also responsible for the lovely sento bathhouse Komaeyu.

Other standouts on the same floor include a branch of long-established Chinese restaurant Shikin Hanten (the original is also located in Harajuku); the debut Japanese opening from Korean fried chicken purveyor Kkanbu Chicken; and Izakaya Stand Jump, an offshoot of a classic Tokyo izakaya established way back in 1978.

The sixth floor is another nature-evoking element of Harakado. Here artificial grass covers much of the floorspace, and diners are free to take their food and drinks out to a palm tree-shaded terrace that forms part of the building’s vertical garden. Eateries on this floor include Beet Eat, which serves dishes containing game hunted by the owner himself, Bánh mì Sandwich whose Vietnamese-style baguettes include vegan options, and a branch of Roppongi-born Falafel Brothers.

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Japanese brand Tenga is on a mission to banish the unnecessary stigma surrounding self-love of the physical kind. Through sleek design, collabs with artists and fashion labels, and getting its products onto the shelves of hip retailers, Tenga's solo pleasure-focused products for men have become part of Japanese pop culture. The brand now takes its accessibility to the next level with this new flagship store within Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado.

At Tenga Land, the firm's phallic (and more obliquely, egg-shaped) plastic-and-elastomer adult toys are displayed along a conveyor sushi bar-style illuminated track that snakes its way around the bright and airy space. Alongside this signature product, you’ll find female-focused items from sister brand Iroha, clothing created with partners ranging from skateboarder-artist Mark Gonzales to the Umami Spice Company, and a variety of lotions.

Additionally, a special vending machine sells Tenga featuring designs exclusive to Tenga Land, and hidden among these are a limited number of lucky Golden Tenga.

Take in the Harajuku-Omotesando skyline from the Rooftop Terrace

Crowning Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Harakado is one of the city’s most impressive rooftop gardens. This multi-level vertical garden has created a new focal point down on the Harajuku-Omotesando intersection, and is equally impressive up (and out) in the open air, taking in the view over the crossing and beyond. The best part? Access is free to all.

Ample greenery combines with concrete surfaces to make the space simultaneously modern and revitalising. Standing at the top of the terrace’s staggered steps gives a feeling akin to being in an amphitheatre, with the city action below playing out as the ‘performance’, and pop-up stands appearing to provide food and drinks.

A program of events is planned for the garden, including brand collabs and some that incorporate the audiovisual capabilities of the digital screen installed directly below on Harakado’s facade. As this is a public space, visitors are free to enjoy the rooftop terrace however they choose (within the limits of common sense, of course).

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