Cool and Wacky Fashion in Shibuya and Harajuku
Shibuya and Harajuku are the best places in Tokyo to shop for young fashion items. Shibuya is immensely popular with younger Japanese women and is the top weekend shopping destination for the fashion consious girl about town. Here's some great fashion photos from Shibuya and Harajuku, as well as some travel tips if you're lucky enough to be able to go to Tokyo.
The best known fashion store in Shibuya is of course Shibuya 109. This store has many individual stores selling the trendiest fashion goods on the planet. Shibuya 109 gets insanely busy at weekends, but is well worth a look during the week. I guarantee you will not see more outlandishly dressed shop assistants anywhere else on the planet!
As with other places in Japan, it's common to see Japanese school girls out shopping in Shibuya and Harajuku.
Harajuku is a lot more touristy these days, but the roads leading to Ometasando are full of upmarket goods selling designer labels.
Hidden Delights in Shibuya and Harajuku
Shibuya isn't just for women! Of course men can also appreciate Shibuya for the lovely Japanese girls dressed in very sexy clothes! But there is another reason for men to venture into Shibuya...
Hidden in one of the main shopping streets of Shibuya is a branch of Mandrake! Mandrake is one of the best known stores for anime, manga, figures, character goods and other Japanese cool stuff. The branch of Mandrake in Shibuya tends to stock the older more sought after goods, and is almost like a museum in places. It's quite difficult to spot, as the store appears to have been built in an old underground carpark, and the entrance is fairly anonymous. If you fail to spot it don't worry - there are other branches of Mandrake in Akihabara's Electric Town and Nakano Broadway.
Outside Shibuya station's Hachiko exit is a bronze statue of Hachiko the dog. This is a popular place to meet up with friends, as well as a popular smoking area.
Walking from Harajuku to Shibuya
Shibuya and Harajuku are quite close to each other, and it's possible to walk between the two. A great half a day's sightseeing in Tokyo is to walk from Harajuku. It is highly recommended to do this walk on a Sunday afternoon, as there will be a lot more going on!
Start off at Harajuku JR train station on the JR Yamanote Line. Harajuku station is quite small, and it gets very crowded on Sundays! Keep your cool, walk slowly and enjoy the experience of actually being in Japan!
If you make it out of Harajuku station, then turn right out of the station and cross Meiju Jingu bridge towards Meiju Jingu shrine. By all means visit the shrine, but it's a long walk, quite boring and every Western tourist goes there!
Instead, head for Yoyogi Park. There will be a lot going on in Yoyogi Park on a Sunday afternoon. Most Japanese people have very small apartments and don't often have gardens, so public parks are very important recreational facilities. There is normally a fair bit of alcohol associated with many activities, but people tend to remain good natured.
If you're visiting Japan in April then Yoyogi Park is a great place to see the famous cherry blossoms and the Hanami parties that go on beneath the cherry trees.
Once you're done with Yoyogi Park then cross the road and walk towards Shibuya. Eventually at the outskirts of Shibuya you'll find NHK Studio Park Studios. This is a great place to visit if you like Japanese popular culture such as Domo Kun, or you're travelling with kids. There is a great Domo Kun and other Japanese merchandise store here.
If you cross another road and continue down the hill past a couple of MOS Burger outlets you'll eventually end up in central Shibuya.
I once walked from Shibuya to Shinjuku. I can tell you that it's a very long walk, so I can't recommend that! You can also walk from Shibuya to Harajuku but it's mostly uphill.