Japan: Harajuku (Tokyo)


Daily morning coffee in Harajuku at The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

We were in Japan for 3 weeks, the first week in Tokyo, a week of travel, then the last week again in Tokyo. The first week we stayed in east Tokyo in the neighborhood of Ginza, so we wanted to have a different experience for our last week – Harajuku in west Tokyo!

Out of all of the neighborhoods in Tokyo, the only one I knew before doing any research was Harajuku. That’s because in high school I LOVED Gwen Stefani’s album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Her first solo tour was called the Harajuku Lovers Tour and she had 4 Japanese backup dancers which she called the Harajuku Girls. Gwen Stefani also had a song on the album called Harajuku Girls and lyrics include:

In a pedestrian paradise
Where the catwalk got its claws (meow)
A subculture, in a kaleidoscope of fashion
Prowl the streets of Harajuku
Super lovers, tell me where you got yours
Yohji Yamamoto, I’m hanging with the locals
Where the catwalk got its claws
All you fashion know it alls
With your underground malls
In the world of Harajuku
Putting on a show, when you dress up in your clothes
Wild hair color and cell phones
Your accessories are dead on
Harajuku Girls, you got the wicked style
I like the way that you are, I am your biggest fan
So of course I needed to stay in Harajuku! Koen and I stayed in an apartment on Cat Street, a trendy neighborhood that connects Harajuku and Shibuya. This means great shopping and restaurants!

Breakfast in Harajuku

To start off, every morning we headed to The Roastery by Nozy Coffee – literally one minute from our apartment. They serve single origin espresso, so when you order your drink you can smell and select your beans.

Entrance, you can enjoy your coffee inside, outside, or to go



Ordering at the counter



Fresh beans roasting and available for sale


Next the The Roastery by Nozy Coffee is cute stand called COCO-agepan, selling agepan fried in coconut oil. So delicious! They’re basically hotdog bun shaped donuts – so light and fluffy!


Coco-agepan stand



Original agepan and an agepan filled with cream for breakfast with a coffee to-go from The Roastery



View of our street


Pancakes are unbelievably popular in Japan. If you head anywhere for breakfast or brunch, you will always find large, fluffy pancakes on the menu. So one morning for breakfast we headed to Rainbow Pancake.


Entrance to the cafe



My maple macadamia pancakes with ice cream



Koen’s BLT savory pancake

Shopping in Harajuku

Harajuku is famous for its eccentric fashion. No trip in Harajuku is complete without visiting the shopping streets. I did’t buy anythig, but I had a lot of fun people watching!



Lunch and Dinner in Harajuku

“Kawaii” means “cute” in Japanese. I also knew this word already thanks to Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls song. So to me, Harajuku and Kawaii go hand-in-hand. When I learned about the Kawaii Monster Cafe, I begged Koen to go! It’s a bit of tourist-trap, but I loved all the wacky decor and crazy uniforms of the staff.



My fruity cocktail with kawaii fries



One of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood is Harajuku Gyoza Lou. The only serve gyoza, a Japanese dumpling, which you can choose to eat fried or boiled. The gyoza are delicious and extremely inexpensive. A set of six will only cost about 3 euros. Definitely worth the wait in line!


Always a wait to get in



Kirin beer with our cucumber miso salad



The gyoza being prepared



Fried gyoza



Boiled gyoza


Our last night in Japan we went for ramen at a restaurant recommend to us by our AirBNB host. Definitely did not disappoint. This was one of our more difficult times trying to order food. Generally, at least someone everywhere speaks English, but here no one and also no English menu. Luckily in Japan we had Pocket Wi-fi and were able to take photos of the text and translate!





Gyoza to start



Koen with his tonkotsu



My bowl of tonkotsu ramen








Twice Koen and I went to Ice Monster for dessert – our first and last night in Harajuku. Yummm! You can chooses from an assortment of flavors and receive a giant pile of super finely shaved ice.











Bubble Milk Tea



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