How Harajuku Nails every Trend, in a Fashionable Style

by - Sunday, March 06, 2016

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Everyone knows Harajuku; or even heard the name at some point or another.

Trendy fashion and pop culture style of dressing on the hipsters stand out among the crowds on the street greet the mind when the name Harajuku lands at the tip of the tongue.
It is a street which will send tourists and photographers into a frenzy, not to mention fashion lovers.

That is the main notion; or how the general perception of Harajuku is conceived.
It is world famous for its funky and bold fashion styles; all on display on the streets for all to see.
That name is just one syllable away from the word fashion itself.

So that's Harajuku, or so every one thought.

Some would even think that Harajuku is just that one street, to catch a glimpse of the contemporary style and creativity in fashion at work.

That, is only part of the real Harajuku.


Sure, there is no denying that Harajuku is about fashion.
In fact, it is actually that main hub of Japanese youth culture and fashion is just its second name (or even the first, if you may).
The centre of trends; the icon of fashion and that face of contemporary culture.
But, the trends of Harajuku extend way beyond a fashion street.

No, far from the popular conception, Harajuku is more than just a street and fashion.

Harajuku(原宿); in actual refers to an entire district area located in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.
The entire area actually starts from the Harajuku station itself to Omotesando; marking the Jingumae 1 chome to 4 chome in the Shibuya ward, as depicted in the official maps of Tokyo.


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So what Harajuku is all about? 
What are the trends/what to see?


1. Street Fashion (Kawaii Style) - Takeshita Street(竹下通り Takeshita-dōri) and Cat Street (Ura Harajuku -裏原宿)

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That depiction of Harajuku as a street; is actually in reference to the Takeshita Street and Cat Street which is stretched from Sendagaya in the north to the south; which is Shibuya.
These two streets are where the fashionably dressed are usually found.

Well, probably in the past, that would be the case, for today, the streets (in particular reference to the more crowded Takeshita Street) while lined with rows of shops home to local Japanese independently owned boutiques, cafes, convenience stores and restaurants are more focused on attracting the crowds to their businesses.



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The crowds commonly found here are a mix of international tourists along with the young Japanese (mostly high school and college youths), on the hunt for cute goods and fashionable wear.

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This is where you can find a high concentration of the popular Kawaii culture; spotted in the fashion styles and even in the design concept of some of the cafes and restaurants.

Those looking for cute designs or interested in shopping would find Takeshita Street an interesting spot.

Takeshita Street even used to be a place where one can get hold of local and imported counterfeit goods at a good price from the 1990s until 2004, where it all ceased with the reinforcement by the local authorities to ban fake goods.

This is a popular haunt for the young teenagers and for fashion lovers who are looking for a good bargain and cute clothing pieces(think sweet sixteen or anime doe-eyed character styles).

2. Household or general goods Bargains (Homemaker or Handyman Style) - Takeshita Street
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Who says home goods can't be fashionable?
Don't we Dress our Homes as well?

Daiso is definitely no stranger to anyone since its rapid expansion around the world.
This is the homeland from where Daiso came from, and of course you will find Daiso almost everywhere in Tokyo, but if you are looking for everything (and I mean everything), it is right on this street.
The largest Daiso in the entire Japan is right on this street.
You won't miss it; the 4-storey building is just a short distance from the main entrance to the street.

Some of the things found here may not be available in every country; well, this is Daiso, in Japan, after all.


3. High Street Fashion (Fast Fashion Style) - Omotesando (表参道)

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A short walk from Takeshita Street, you will find a beautiful street, or rather an avenue lined with trees.
These are zelkova trees and the street; starting from the Meiji Shrine's entrance to Aoyama-dori (location of Omotesando Station) is known as the Omotesando area.

This is the main connection and throughway for the entire Harajuku area; bridging all the shopping streets together through its roads for both the vehicles and pedestrians.

You will find the international fast fashion retail stores here; in their respective buildings, such as Gap, H&M, Zara, Forever21.

In fact, this entire picturesque area is even known as 'Tokyo's very own Champs-Elysées'. 


4. High-end Designer and Luxury Brands - Omotesando (表参道)

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In the same area, you will not miss the iconic stores each dedicated to the respective brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Alexander Mcqueen, Gucci, Tod's, Dior and many more.

It is all about high end luxury retail and is an eye candy even for window shopping, if you are into these luxury brands.


5. Quality Local and Conscious Brands - Omotesando Hills (表参道ヒルズ Omotesandō hiruzu)

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Well; technically so as most of the brands found in this new complex which was constructed in 2005.
The building itself is designed with contemporary style and modern architecture in mind to give an impressive and high-end image.
It replaced an earlier older building; the Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments, which was built in a Bauhaus-inspired style in the year 1927.
The construction of this complex paved way for various controversies and even questioning Japan's stance in preserving the old buildings.

The complex is still very new in its impression and is the modest home to its elegant residents; mainly local Japanese brand boutiques, home products and even to cafes, based on my personal observation.

It is also an interesting trip to make inside and you can also dine in here, selecting from the restaurants here ranging from local Japanese fare to international cuisine and even dessert houses to nurse that sweet craving.


6. Window Eye-Candies
If you are just looking for window shopping or on the prey for worthy photography shots, then all the above areas are worth some of your time, although personally, I would highly recommend popping into some of the kawaii culture cafes on Takeshita Street, take a good shot of Omotesando's tree-lined street (it screams tranquility in a city) and the architectural/interior design of Omotesando Hills.

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That's Harajuku; showing you that she is way beyond street fashion and that every trend is just right under her clutches; beautifully arranged to meet anyone's requirement.

It doesn't matter if you're hunting for a bargain, or just looking for something to melt your heart and remind yourself of the joy of youth (*coughs), Harajuku promises you there is something for everyone.

Even if you are not a fashion lover.

You can just pop into McDonald's, Family Mart, 7-11 or Yoshinoya, just to kill your time and eat and surf the Internet.

If all fails, you must be into technology and you might want to pop into Naver's very own Line merchandise shop.
(if you don't know Line, you shouldn't be on the Internet or mobile phone. I mean, seriously?)

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That's how Harajuku does her trends, across the entire district, weaving all sorts of fashion trends and styles together, for everyone; regardless of age, gender, budget and objective, in just the most fashionable style.

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It is fashion defined, the Harajuku way.


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Information on Harajuku:
Getting Here
Take JR East Yamanote Line and get off at Harajuku Station

Subway: Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line or Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line and get off at Meiji-Jingu-mae 'Harajuku' station

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Local landmarks (or tourist attractions in the area):
1. Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu)
2. Yoyogi Park
3. Omotesando
4. Omotesando Hills
5. Takeshita Street
6. Cat Street - Ura Harajuku
7. Yoyogi National Stadium
8. Laforest Harajuku
9. Togo Shrine
10. Nezu Museum
11. Ota Memorial Museum of Art



*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.




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