Shopping had to be done on a Sunday. There was no way around that. I had always heard that Sunday was the day to go down to Harajuku and see all the kids dressed up all fun-like. So, on Sunday, Kevin and I headed into Harajuku. It was only two stops from our hotel and it only took about 5 minutes to get there. Very convenient.
There were department stores, restaurants, things like that. This street was filled with more of the older crowd, like office ladies and salarymen. But boy was it crowded! It was a sea of people on both sidewalks. I had never seen so many people in one place before! Despite the crowds, Kevin and I knew that we had to make it to Kiddyland.
Kiddyland was somewhere around four floors of just toys. The bottom floor was dedicated to Snoopy, and the rest of the floors had things ranging from anime toys, to Marvel collectibles, to Studio Ghibli-themed goods, and, of course, Hello Kitty everything. There were cell phone cases, dolls, stuffed animals, towels, containers...you name it, they had it.
We decided to grab a bite to eat at Shakey's Pizza, which they used to have in Hawaii (and I think they still do have one location on Oahu). We picked this place because there was a really good buffet deal. Also, since there was a line, we assumed that this was a good place to eat.
We were waiting in line when suddenly, Santas! I have no idea what this was about. It's Japan, I'm not going to question this.
Once inside, we headed straight to the buffet. There were many different types of pizzas ranging from traditional cheese, sausage, basil. But there were also decidedly Japanese things like fried potatoes slices (pictured below), corn-cheese-mayo pizza, shrimp-mayo pizza, and even a dessert pizza that had matcha and adzuki beans! I know the mayo pizzas sound disgusting, and I personally hate mayo. But Japanese mayonnaise is very different from American mayo. It doesn't taste disgusting. lol
After lunch, we headed to Takeshita Dori, that famous shopping street. After seeing what Omotesando looked like, I told Kevin to brace himself. But even I was not prepared for the massive amounts of people crammed into this little street!
|The famous entrance|
The massive crowds of people were overwhemling. Kevin and I ducked into the nearby Daiso for a reprieve. We browsed while we were in there, and they had so many cute items for 100 yen! Next time I will definitely be bringing some of these back for my home and office. While there, I also picked up some small items for my family and friends, like 100 yen (less than a dollar, in USD) purse hooks to hang off of a table. Great omiyage idea!
|I bought some.|
Back on the street, I snapped some pictures when I could. The fashion was definitely the main point in this place, and there were so many different styles!
Here are the famous Harajuku crepes. I did not get to eat one because it was SO crowded. I confess that these pictures were taken on a different day, when we went back during a week day. There was no way I was able to take any pictures down this road on Sunday. I would have been run over!
This guy was creepy. I'm pretty sure it was a dude. I was too creeped out to take a picture with him so I snapped this pic of him with a couple of gyarus.
I managed to find a Bodyline shop, which has very affordable Lolita clothing. I didn't end up buying anything, I felt kind of out of place in the store, actually. There were many more Lolita shops around, but I just did not know where they were. I know now, and next time I will definitely go to them all!
We tried Japanese McDonalds, which had an ebi filet! This was worlds better than a regular filet-o-fish, and it had a really yummy sauce. Kevin got a burger, but it had some sort of wasabi aioli, which he really enjoyed. Again, small cups, but that was perfectly alright. BTW, don't walk around Japan thinking you are going to find a trash can for your rubbish when you are done. They don't exist. Sometimes you will find an area with bins, but they are few and far between. Trash your trash when you can.
Back on the main street, we saw a parade of Lolitas. It was, really, a parade. There were about 30 of them promoting something, I think the opening of a new store somewhere. They were pretty adorable.
When we went back to the entrance near the shrine, right next to the train station, there was a massive crowd of people. There was some sort of gathering going on which was not normal for a Sunday. I spoke to one of the Lolitas who told me that there was a lolita event going on. She said that they used to be able to hang around every Sunday, but that was stopped by officials for some reason or another. I was really lucky to be here on that day, and I got a bunch of pictures.
This is the famous Candy Milky, the old man that dresses as a Lolita!
As I mentioned earlier, it was very crowded. I didn't get any shopping done, and barely got to browse in any of the shops. We went back the next day, and I managed to get the pictures I wanted, as well as a bunch of items, like a pair of shoes and a purse, and some other things as Omiyage.
Tips for Harajuku:
- If you do not like crowds, do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go on a Sunday. You will drown. It will be awful.
- If you want to see the girls and guys dressed up all fun-like, DO go on a Sunday. That will probably be the only time you will get to see them en masse.
- Check out the Daiso. It was one of the bigger ones I had gone to (I went to three in Japan). Big as in wide, and not cramped.
- Eat a crepe. I did not get to eat one, so I just want to live vicariously through you.
- Buy things. Takeshita Dori stores, for the most part, do contain cheap items. I got $19.00 shoes, and a $25.00 purse that was on sale. I also got earrings from Paris Kids, which is like a Claire's, for about $3.00 each. Japan can be very expensive, but it can also be very cheap!
- Don't be afraid to ask someone to take their picture. If they are dressed up the way they are, chances are they are not going to mind you asking, and they will probably be thrilled to take a picture for, or with you.