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:
Where the catwalk got its claws (meow)
A subculture, in a kaleidoscope of fashion
Prowl the streets of Harajuku
Yohji Yamamoto, I’m hanging with the locals
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
I like the way that you are, I am your biggest fan
Breakfast in Harajuku
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.