The Holy Land Of "Kawaii": 10 Recommended Stores & Spots In Tokyo's Harajuku Neighborhood

The Holy Land Of "Kawaii": 10 Recommended Stores & Spots In Tokyo's Harajuku Neighborhood

Harajuku is a district in the Shibuya region of Tokyo and for any fan of Japanese pop culture out there, you’ve definitely heard of this iconic neighborhood. The name Harajuku corresponds to the area from Harajuku Station to Omotesando, but it also encompasses the many small backstreets that are in the area.

The neighborhood is iconic worldwide, both for people who are fans of Japanese pop culture and even those who aren’t. Many know about the neighborhood’s funky little shops, clothing boutiques, and themed cafes. Harajuku, to put it simply is the Japanese epicenter of youth culture where style and culture collide and become something so quintessentially Japanese, that it can’t be accurately replicated anywhere else.

Harajuku is a busy place made famous for its stores and shopping opportunities but also its electric denizens. The area is well served by different forms of Tokyo’s public transport network so getting around town, and to and from the neighborhood is pretty easy, even if you’re not from here. Just because Harajuku is the “holy land of Kawaii”, there are still tons of other things to do and see in the area. The Meiji Shrine is close by as well as the beautiful Yoyogi Park. From lush green spaces to candy-colored boutiques, there’s a reason why Harajuku attracts so many people, both foreign and domestic.

So if you find yourself wandering around Harajuku and don’t know where to start, this list has got you covered.

1. Candy Showtime

Posted by CANDY SHOW TIME on Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Candy Show time Omotesando store is more than your average run-of-the-mill candy store. This candy is a Harajuku hotspot and is known in the neighborhood for not only satisfying your sweet tooth but for also making their candy in-store. Candy Show time Omotesando store is so iconic, that it has been featured on TV and in magazines, so expect to see a crowd gathering here.

Candy Show time Omotesando store is a great place to start you Harajuku adventure because for one thing, you can pick up a sweet sugary snack but it is also a show! Watch the candy artisans heat, stretch, color and make the tasty candy that the shop is known for, right before your eyes. The candy gets kneaded over and over again until it gets stretchy and chewy and delicious.

But wait! There’s more! Candy Show time Omotesando store doesn’t only sell candy, they also sell one-of-a-kind accessories like necklaces and earrings made by the candy artisans with clay to make it look like the jewelry are little pieces of candy from the store. They also have other delicious snacks and pastries there alongside the sweets like eclairs and crepes.

2. Flying Tiger Copenhagen

Flying Tiger Copenhagen
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Leif Jørgensen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re in Harajuku and you need to pick up some cute little gifts for your friends back home, then Flying Tiger Copenhagen is definitely going to be the place to go. Flying Tiger Copenhagen is a Harajuku landmark but what is it exactly? Flying Tiger Copenhagen is a sundry store selling knick-knacks and little things for your home, but it’s not any sundry store, it’s the holy grail of sundry stores. It’s rumored that on opening day, the line to get in stretched as far as the Omotesando Hills.

The store is consistently busy with people coming and going at all times during the day and throughout the year. There’s so much to see and buy here that you’re going to need to carry a basket around with you because you’re going to want to buy a lot of stuff. There are toys and things for kids, as well as art supplies for the DIY-ers out there.

Flying Tiger Copenhagen is so popular because, despite its huge fame, everything is pretty cheap and affordable, allowing for you to splurge without feeling like you spent too much money. We recommend going at night when there is less of a crowd.


Afternoon in Shibuya
Source: Photo by Flickr user Philip Cotsford used under CC BY 2.0

ASOKO is another Harajuku hot spot that must be checked out while you’re in the neighborhood. Opened in September 2013, ASOKO operates under the idea of “Enjoying Surprise” which is to say that they have such a constantly changing product rotation that everything is a surprise the next time you go in. ASOKO is actually an amalgam of the words “Amazement”, “Sophistication”, “Open Minded”, “Kindness” and “Originality”.

So why is ASOKO so iconic? Why are people lining up to get in? Well, ASOKO sort of operates like a gallery. Guests walk in and look around like a normal store but everything is set up in a way that looks like you’re walking through an art gallery with the added bonus of things being affordable. ASOKO collects items from around the world and brings these unique items to the people of Harajuku at a low cost. The inside is divided into interior goods, DIY supplies and household goods on the second floor and the first floor is fashion and miscellaneous goods. You can probably spend hours here looking around and finding something that’s totally unique and unavailable anywhere else.

4. Kawaii Monster Cafe

Harajuku Kawaii Monster Cafe
Source: Photo by user Roxanne Ready used under CC BY-SA 2.0

We open everyday❤️???? Repost from @mythicachaaan_ thank you for coming??

Posted by Kawaii Monster Cafe on Saturday, 8 September 2018

So you’ve done lots of shopping and now its time to eat. But why eat somewhere normal when you can eat at the Kawaii Monster Cafe? This place is an overflow of the senses with the design and decor being super colorful and vibrant. Once you enter, a “monster girl” will guide you to one of the five zones, which are; “Baby Dolly” “Candy” “Nasty” and “Crazy”. Naturally, each room has a different motif and design and are each more wild and wacky than the last.

Guests order food using a tablet that’s held by one of the “monster girls”. The food here is just as colorful and bright as the decorations and girls.

5. Gaciel

Posted by Glaciel表参道店 on Monday, 25 December 2017

Glaciel opened in 2013 and is the best spot in town to get some dessert. Opening in 2013, this little shop is known for its amazing pastries and desserts while simultaneously making the cutest little dishes you’ve ever seen. Make sure to bring your camera because you’re going to want to take some pictures.

The first floor is where many of the desserts are, and it is where you can get some freshly made ice cream, done right in front you! The idea is to blend the sweetness of ice cream and the cold sensation with classic pastries that we all know and love. But if you’re not into sweets, head to the second floor and go to the cafe/ Salon de Te, where you can have some entrees and coffee or snack on some fresh fruit.


REISSUE opened its doors in March 2013 and it has been a staple in Harajuku since. In a neighborhood where there are lots of things happening, where people can get sensory overload, it’s nice to step aside, grab a coffee and just chill out for a bit. That’s why we recommend REISSUE.

REISSUE is, at its heart, a cafe, but with the classic Harajuku-Kawaii twist! Enjoy latte with character, made of foam and made by some real latte artists. The store and its artists share their creations on Instagram and Twitter, and it really is something super impressive to create things ranging from cute little kitties to iconic works of Japanese art - all in latte form. REISSUE also serves food making it a great place to stop for lunch or for a little pick-me-up snack.

7. Togo Shrine

Source: Photo by user Rs1421 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Harajuku isn’t all candy shops and sundry stores. There are a lot of green spaces nearby, as well as shrines and cultural landmarks. Step away from the loud bustling streets and go to the Togo Shrine where you will have some quiet inner reflection and say some winning prayers.

The Togo Shrine is a famous spot for people praying to the god of victory. Athletes, sports clubs and even businessmen come here to say a prayer so that they can win at whichever endeavor they’re going to do. The story goes that the shrine is dedicated to the General of the Navy, Marshall Togo Heihachiro, who won a decisive naval victory against the Russians during the Russo-Japanese War. The Russians, having one of the best navies in the world at the time, lost to the relatively small Japanese navy, thus shocking the world and eventually leading the Japanese to win the war. Japanese soccer star Keisuke Honda came here before going abroad, and many job hunters come here as well.

8. Bianca

#bianca テラスが とっても 心地良い季節です ランチもいいですが やっぱりこの時期は 夕暮れ時から ディナーを楽しみたいですよね 次回情報をお楽しみに ホームページをチェック!! ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓...

Posted by BIANCA on Monday, 30 April 2018

Sure you’ve been walking around Harajuku for a while, but why not take in the sight of Harajuku from above it? Head to Ristorante Bianca located on the fourth floor of the GYRE. The restaurant serves up some of the best Italian food in the neighborhood in an upscale and stylish dining atmosphere.

During the warm spring and summer months, the open terrace is the place to be. Enjoy some open-air dining while you sip on some Italian wine and take in the city sights from above. The lunchtime menu offers tons of pasta options, or for people looking for a little afternoon pick-me-up, the restaurant also serves as a classic Italian-style cafe, so you can just pop in for a quick latte or espresso.

For the full experience, we recommend the antipasto where guests can choose their appetizers from an a la carte menu, then move onto a pasta dish. For the meat eaters out there, Bianca also serves some amazing steaks. Try the 21-day-old Australian beef steak and a delicious cocktail.

9. 37 Roast Beef

Posted by 37 Roast Beef on Sunday, 14 August 2016

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, 37 Roast Beef is the sister store of 37 Steak House and Bar, and if you’re familiar with that restaurant then you know you’re in for something delicious. Priding itself as a New York-style steakhouse, 37 Roast Beef serves some of the best steaks and Roast Beef in the area. The meat is so tender that you’ll barely even need to use your fork.

For those of you who are looking for a little western-style cuisine, you won’t be disappointed in 37 Roast Beef. Appetizers like the classic Caesar salad are a great way to satisfy your hunger while you wait for that tasty roast beef dinner. When your roast beef is finished, the waiter will bring the whole thing over on a cart and carve it right in front of you. Guests can then request their beef cut in one of four ways. “Thin cut” is about 100 g (3.5 oz), “Omotesando Cut” is about 200 g (7 oz), “37 RB special cut” is 300g (10 oz) and finally the “New York” cut is 400 g (14 oz).

37 Roast Beef also caters to the lunchtime crowd, offering a different menu that includes burgers and beef curry specials. So depending on what time you go, you’ll get a different menu.

10. Meiji Jingu

Source: Photo by user Rs1421 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Dedicated to the Meiji Emporer and Empress, Meiji Jingu is a shrine located in a forest area near Harajuku. 100,000 trees from around the country were donated to the shrine in an effort to bring some greenery to the area. Since then, the trees have expanded to an area of 700,000 square meters, becoming an oasis of green in the middle of the city.

Guests are encouraged to put money in the water for good luck, but it should be noted that you are not to throw the money and create a splash and that you should place it gently in the water.

The spot is a popular destination for New Years celebrations as well as a popular place for weddings and couples for bringing in good luck.

Holy land of Kawaii

Harajuku might be known worldwide for its fashionistas, cool cafes and electric streets, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Stores selling international goods and restaurants serving everything from colorful pasta in candy-themed rooms to delicious New York-style beef in a classic atmosphere can be found in Harajuku. If you’re from Tokyo or just visiting, it’s not a place you’ll want to miss.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Alex is a Canadian university graduate with degrees in English literature and History. He was born in Montreal and when he's not traveling he enjoys movies, video games, playing the drums and...Read more

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