Japan: Harajuku (Tokyo)

dsc_0746

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.
dsc_0750

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

 

dsc_0749

Ordering at the counter

 

dsc_0748

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!

dsc_0899

Coco-agepan stand

 

dsc_0900

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

 

DSC_0819

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.

DSC_0820

Entrance to the cafe

 

DSC_0821

My maple macadamia pancakes with ice cream

 

DSC_0823

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!

DSC_0824DSC_0825DSC_0827DSC_0829DSC_0830DSC_0832DSC_0835DSC_0836

 

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.

DSC_0861DSC_0862DSC_0867DSC_0865DSC_0863DSC_0864DSC_0868DSC_0876DSC_0877DSC_0878

DSC_0872

My fruity cocktail with kawaii fries

 

DSC_0873DSC_0875

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!

DSC_0891

Always a wait to get in

 

DSC_0885

Kirin beer with our cucumber miso salad

 

DSC_0884

The gyoza being prepared

 

DSC_0890

Fried gyoza

 

DSC_0889

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!

dsc_1045

Exterior

 

dsc_1042

Gyoza to start

 

dsc_1044

Koen with his tonkotsu

 

dsc_1036

My bowl of tonkotsu ramen

 

dsc_1040

Mmm…

 

dsc_1041

Delicious!

 

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.

DSC_0744

Exterior

 

DSC_0743

Mango

 

dsc_1049

Strawberry

 

dsc_1047

Bubble Milk Tea

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s