Name: Harajuku + Omotosando
Location: 35°40’11.89″ N 139°42’32.43″ E
Page takes some time to load due to photos.
Harajuku + Omotosando are 2 famous co-joined areas in west central Tokyo. Both spots are popular among young people and tourists.
Harajuku is most famous for its shopping street – Takeshita Street.
Just to the north is Yoyogi and just to the south is Shibuya. Harajuku Station is on the JR Yamanote Line on the west side of Tokyo. A brand new larger JR station was completed in late 2019 to replace the historic aging older wooden station, which is now much too small for the tourist load. The new station is just south of the old one in the same block.
To get here, take the any JR line that changes with the JR Yamanote Line, and get off at Harajuku Station. As a footnote, there is actually an other entrance/exit all the way on the west side of Omotosando. You can walk underground to the exit, or walk all the way down Omotosando Blvd. and re-enter at the station entrance on the north side of the street.
Newly completed Harajuku Station on the JR Line. The old station is just to the right, out of frame.
After you exit the station, you can either turn left, and be at the entrance to Takeshita Street, or you can head right (south) and end up at a large intersection. If you head east from the intersection, you’ll be heading down Omotosando Blvd – which is the main shopping and restaurant street in the area.
Takeshita Street is shorter and takes less time, but is also much more crowded since it is smaller and more popular. Takeshita Street is mainly known for its several Crepé shops – including the famous Marion Crepés which was founded in 1976. There is also another Marion Crepés in the backstreets of Akihabara. There are also lots of clothing stores, restaurants, other food places, oddity shops, and a small Bic Camera annex.
There are also a few hidden gems if you’re willing to venture down a few side streets for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. We’ll cover a few of those later.
It’s usually pretty crowded – espescially on nights and weekends. You’ll have to jostel with lots of other people. Marion Crepés is about 1/2 way down on the left.
Old harajuku Station exit just across from the entrance to Takeshita Street.
Entrance to Takeshita Street. There is an excellent Hoshino’s Coffee just to the left under the sign over the entrance. There is also a Family Mart.
Giant crepé menu on Takeshita Street. Around $5-$7 each.
Angel Crepés shop.
Angel Crepés. You can eat yourself silly at these places. But after walking 10-15 miles a day, you’ll want to.
World-famous Marion Crepés.
About 1/2 way down Takeshita Street on the right, you’ll find a small side street that heads up a hill. Head up this street to the end – past several shops and boutiques, and then head left as the street curves around. Wander down a bit futher and at the end you’ll find the Depla Pol Chocolatier. This fabulous place has all kinds of goodies and waffles to boot. It’s only open from 10:00 AM to 8PM but well worth it. Its located at approximately 35°40’15.61″ N 139°42’14.89″ E. But because it’s off the beaten path, there is almost never a line and you can usually get right in.
Head left at this bldg.
Entrance to Depla Pol Chocolatier.
There is also an excellent bar/restaurant hidden back on this street.
Along this street is an amusingly named beer/coffee shop called Farms – by Good Munchies.
A stroll down Takeshita St.
Just south of JR Harajuku Station. The new station bldg. is on the left. The tall NTT HQ bldg. (also known as the “bubble building”) is in the center off in the distance in Shinjuku to the north. To the right is Omotosando Blvd.
Heading east down Omotosando Blvd.
Further down Omotosando Blvd. on the left side is a MOS Burger Café.
There is also a Tokyu Plaza with an open-air garden on top.
Apple Store on Omotosando Blvd.
Plenty of nice restaurants along Omotosando Blvd.
Omotosando Blvd. facing east.
A side street off Omotosando Blvd.
Another side street.
If you head down Omotosando Blvd, past the first major intersection, at around 35°40’04.35″ N 139°42’24.64″ E on the right across from the Ralph Lauren Flagship Store, you’ll see a side street. If you turn right here and head up the street, just on your right you’ll come to the best pancake shop in Harajuku: Flippers. This place is so good there is usually a line. The pancake craze has hit Tokyo and this is one of the best pancake shops in the city. Be prepared to wait and pay a few dollars to pig out on pancakes + fruit. But be careful – you can eat yourself sick in this place if you overdo it.
Flipper’s pancake shop in Omotosando.
There is another, competing pancake shop called A Happy Pancake (Shiawase no Pancake – literally Pancake Happiness) in Omotosando worth checking out. See our review of the one in Ikebukuro for links + more info.
There are all kinds of additional shops down side streets. It’s well worth it to wander down some of these streets to see what’s there. There is even a TinTin store tucked back on the south side of Omotosando Blvd. If you arrive early enough, you can easily walk all of Harajuku + Omotosando in a day. Try to avoid weekends and nights because that is when the area is packed with crowds of tourists.
If you walk all the way down Omotosando Blvd. about .7 miles, you’ll come to Rt. 413. If you head left (north) here, you’ll find all kinds of interesting stuff. There’s a great upscale noodle restaurant called Miyota. There’s also an Olympic bicycle shop which has some really nice bikes at reasonable prices. There’s an elegant upscale furniture store called Modern Works, and a few small drink spots: Beer Brain in a small wood shack on a trailer, and Stockholm – a small café with a tiny rooftop porch. All worth checking out
Miyota in Omotosando.
Beer Brain in east Omotosando.
Stockholm Roast in east Omotosando.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Back behind the new Harajuku Station to the west is Meiji Jingu Shrine. This is one of the most famous and popular shrines in all of Tokyo. It’s surrounded by a huge park with spectacular gardens. Well worth a look. To reach the entrance, just exit the station, then head over the small bridge behind it and to the right.
Just to the southwest of Meiji Jingu Shrine is Yoyogi Park – also well worth a visit – and it’s free. There ‘s a small pond inside, lots of walking paths, and large grass areas to sit in. It’s a popular spot for picnics among locals in spring and fall. To reach it, head south (left) from the entrance to Meiji Jingu Shrine just for a few steps, then turn right under the pedestrian overpass. It’s just a few yards down on the right.
In fact, you can walk the entire road encircling both parks in under an hour or two. Both are well worth a look.
A Few More Notables
There are a few other interesting spots to check out: Watari-um Museum, Nezu Museum, and The Awesome Store. See links below for more.
Well, that’s it for Harajuku/Omotosando. Enjoy your trip – both are easy to access, and compact enough to see everything in a day. It’s one of Tokyo’s most intersting spots and well worth a look.