There is a lot of hype about Takeshita Street in Harajuku, Tokyo. It’s lauded as the street where new Indie fashion trends originate and flourish, a place for teenagers to showcase their rebelious streak and a street of tasty delights. Is it really worth all the excitement? Read on and find out!
Takeshita Street – Best Time To Visit
Takeshita Street was the first place I visited when I set out to explore Tokyo. Being the morning person that I am, my husband and I set out at 9.30 am on a Monday morning! We were there by 10 am and what do we see? The street was deserted and everything was closed except for the reliable McDonald’s. I later found out that Takeshita Street is not an exception and that most businesses in Japan open shop at 11 am. We waited out the hour munching our breakfast burgers in McDonald’s. After 11 am, all the shops opened and within an hour the street filled with people.
On subsequent visits to Takeshita Street, I found out that 11 am on a monday morning was indeed a good time to visit Takeshita Street. The worst time is obviously during weekends when the street and the closeby Harajuku station are so crowded that you will have very little space to move let alone explore the shops.
Takeshita Street or Takeshita Dori is directly opposite the Harajuku Station on the Yamanote line. From Harajuku Station, take the Takeshita Exit.
5 Fashion/Beauty Stores You Should Visit In Takeshita Dori
The fashion stores in Takeshita Street are mainly youth and teen oriented. This means that the items that you find here may not be of great quality. In fact, many of the stores I found on this street were selling clothes whose quality was similar to what you find in a flea market. However, the upside of this is that they are cost-effective and some of the pieces you find here are unique and trendy. If you are looking for better quality/higher price tag and not teen/youth fashion, visit the stores in the neighboring Omotesando street. There were a few notable stores that caught my eye and were selling unique items which I considered buying from:
#1. Out Of The World
Among all the stores on Takeshita Dori, I was particularly attracted by this shoe store. Some of the shoes displayed in this store had a Punk/Rock vibe. Some of the shoes displayed were really out there and I would probably never wear them. However, the plain black ones and the black and gold shoes with the platform heels, with some resemblance to Stella McCartney’s platform shoes, drew my attention. Unfortunately, the women’s shoes in this store don’t come in all sizes.. I couldn’t find the shoe that I liked in size 8 (US)! Huge Disappointment :(.
#2. Liz Lisa and Body Line
You will find many young girls in this street and else where in Tokyo wearing dollish/Victorian style clothing and makeup. Some of the clothes are not just costume or cosplay as many might think but a fashion trend in Japan known as Lolita Style . There are stores in Takeshita Street like Liz Lisa and Body Line that cater specifically to this fashion trend. Body Line has some cosplay costumes as shown by the mannequins outside the store whereas, the clothes in Liz Lisa mainly adhere to the Sweet Lolita trend. If you don’t want to be dressed completely in the Lolita look, you can still choose some cute accessories and shoes that look great even with your regular wardrobe.
#3. Boutique TakeNoko
You can’t miss the colorful display of Boutique Takenoko as you walk down Takeshita Dori. This cosplay shop became famous in the 1970’s and 80’s when the dance group Takenoko-zoku shopped at Boutique Takenoko for their dance numbers.
Though, it’s not a place where you could shop for your everyday wardrobe, it’s still a fun place to visit.
#4. Etude House
Due to the emergence of K-Drama and K-Pop, South Korean beauty products have seen a huge boost in popularity. Being a regular user of these products myself, I was glad to find Etude House, which specialises in Korean beauty products. This store has a pink toy house-like rooftop and can be found just below the Totti Candy Factory store. You will also see this store in the video I have posted above. I loved the pretty pink interiors of Etude House. I found it inviting and very girly. They had loads of products samples which you can try before you buy.
#5. Paris Kid’s
Paris Kid’s is an accessory store that sells typical accessories like hair bands, bangles, ear rings, charms and other cute knick knacks(Lots of bow shaped items). The advantage of shopping at this store is obviously the price. You can find loads of earrings at $4 dollars or less. Sometimes they give away pre-packaged surprise grab bags called Fukubukuro that have loads of stuff in it for around 300 Yen(approx. $4). However, you don’t get to choose the items in the grab bags as they are a surprise. It’s definitely worth getting the grab bag as you normally pay around 300 Yen for a single item in the store.
5 Food Shops You Should Visit in Takeshita Dori
If you are tired of non stop shopping in Takeshita Street, there are plenty of tasty food stops along the street where you can refuel your energy. Sometimes, the overwhelming sweet smell from the Cotton Candy stores can be nauseauting and unappetizing. For a person with a sweet tooth though, this is Heaven!
#1. Totti Candy Factory
Totti Candy Factory is famous for their huge multicolored cotton candy. Many of you would have already seen photos of this Cotton candy splashed on your Instagram feed. I was very concerned when I bought the cotton candy, first because of its size and also due to the sweetness of Cotton Candy. I didn’t think that I would be able to finish it and would probably end up throwing some of it in the bin. Surprisingly, the candy was very light and not as sweet as I expected. So, I was able to finish the whole thing in minutes.
#2. Crepe Shops
There are a number of Crepe Shops such as Marion Crepes, Santa Monica Crepes, Angel’s Heart along Takeshita Street. The crepes are rolled up in a cone with your choice of filling in the centre. You can pick your choice of filling from the delicious looking fake-food display on the side of these shops. On busy days, the lines in front of the store can get long but the service is quick.
#3. Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku
Another popular treat to try when you visit Takeshita street is the cream puffs from Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku. These crispy cream puffs are freshly made on the premises and remain fresh only for one day. So, its advisable to consume them immediately or within the same day. They have a crispy sweet coating on the outside made of almonds, egg white, sugar and flour filled with custard cream on the inside. Read a detailed review of these crispy cream puffs here: Appetite For Japan
#4. Calbee Plus
If you have had enough of the sweet treats and are craving some savory snacks instead, head to Calbee Plus. This store is famous for their freshly prepared potato fries and chips. There’s a selection of toppings to choose from such as salt and butter, chocolate, cheese or even ice cream! There are some seasonal flavors available as well such as vegetable fries.
Pompompurin is a lovable cartoon dog and everything in this café is dedicated to this Sanrio character.
The interior of the café is very adorable and most people visit the café to experience the café itself rather than taste the food. Everything from Entrees to desserts is decorated to look like Pompompurin or his friends. The cute food is definitely Insta-worthy but the taste is nothing extraordinary.
What do you think of Takeshita Street? Are you ready to go shop and eat?