Yoyogi Superguide

Name: Yoyogi

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°40’59.52″ N 139°42’07.52″ E

Stations: Yoyogi Station JR Line, Shinjuku Station JR Line, various non-Metro subway lines

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? For a quick look.

Updated 2/2/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Yoyogi is a small town just south of Shinjuku. In fact it’s just one stop south of Shinjuku on the JR Yamanote Line. It’s close enough to walk. Some of the side streets + alleyways are worth a look. There is also a huge multi-use shopping complex called Takashimaya Time Square just north of the station. For a quick trip + walk around, it’s worth a stop. There are various other non-Metro subway links into Yoyogi Station listed over on the Wikipedia article.

The most famous + enjoyable part of Yoyogi is Yoyogi Park – a huge green open space popular with families and young hipsters. In mid-Oct. the entire park turns a brilliant yellow/red with the leaves on the trees preparing to drop for the winter.

Just behind Yoyogi Station to the north east towers the NTT DoCoMo HQ, better known to locals as “The Bubble Bulding” because it was built during Japan’s “bubble” economy era – the 1980’s.

Also across from Yoyogi Park is the National Gymnasium. At the south end of the park is small bridge to a large open concrete park area with benches.

Just to the southeast of Yoyogi Park – and 1 stop south of the station is the world-famous Harajuku/Omotesando area – so you can make a stop there afterwards, if you have time. Just take the JR Yamanote Line again 1 stop south to Harajuku Station. A brand new Harajuku Station just opened in 2020.

One more thing to be aware of is that during rush hours (5AM-8AM and 5PM-7PM Shinjuku Station is an absolute madhouse. If you do take a train there during those hours, get ready to be squashed like a sardine in the train.

Area Layout

Yoyogi Station lies at the bottom of this map (top is north). At the north end of the map is the massive Shinjuku Station – the busiest rail station in the world with 2 million people passing through every day. Center right on the map is the towering NTT DoCoMo bldg., and just east of that is Shinjuku Goyen Park. Takashimaya Times Square is just north of the NTT bldg. Yoyogi Park and National Gymnasium is just to the southwest out of frame. One JR stop to the south is Harajuku.

Yoyogi Station south entrance. The main square is just to the left.

Attractions

There actually isn’t much in Yoyogi itself beyond the park. There is one small intersection to the west of the station lined with shops, and a street running north into central Shinjuku that is worth a stroll. The area to the west is mostly a hilly residential area. To the immediate right of the station is a small underpass which leads to the street running north directly into Takashimaya Times Square.

Station area facing south at night. The small rail underpass is just to the left.

Facing southwest. There is a large FamilyMart conbini (convenience store) just on the right. There are also a number of good cafés around. Above the FamilyMart are a couple nice yakiniku (steak) places. Head straight down the street ahead to the south for Yoyogi Park a few blocks down.

Another front view of the station.

The Bubble Building soaring above Yoyogi Station.

Facing east. The pedestrian underpass is just ahead. Head straight then left to get to Takshimaya Times Square. Also note Panda Sugar just on the corner to the right.

90 degrees to the left and you’re facing north on the main street. The triangular bldg. barely visible in the distance is the MyLord Bldg. in Shinjuku. There is also a 2nd entrance to the station just on the right behind the truck in this photo.

Instead of heading straight, you can also head left down this little side street. Note the Doutour café straight ahead, and a Pronto Café on the left. Doutour has some reasonably good food very cheap.

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Boarding @ JR Yoyogi Station.

Yoyogi Park

From the main west intersection head south down the center street for a few blocks and on your right will be Yoyogi Park. Admission is free and it’s a huge park – about a mile across. You can spend nearly a day there walking around. The park is especially nice in the fall and spring. On weekends the park is packed with families and kids – so you may want to go in the middle of the week to avoid crowds if possible.

You can also get directly to Yoyogi Park by taking the Yamanote Line 1 more stop south to Harajuku Station – then exit, turn right, then turn right again at the next intersection – just up the street on the right is Yoyogi Park.

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The south entrance @ Yoyogi Park in the fall.

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A map near the south entrance.

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At the park facing north in fall. The NTT bldg. in Shinjuku is visible in the distance.

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The bridge at the south end of the park.

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The small open area south of the park.

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National Gymnasium. Harajuku/Omotesando is just down the street on the left.

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Harajuku/Omotesando facing east. New Harajuku Station is the grey bldg. on the left. Entrance to Meiji Shrine is just to the left of that out of frame. Entrance to Omotesando is straight ahead. Yoyogi Park is back up the street behind the camera.

Meiji Shrine

As we mentioned, just to the south of Yoyogi Station is Meiji Shrine – a monument to Japan’s 19th century emperor Meiji. Meiji was most famous for the Meiji Restoration – the opening of Japan to trade in 1868 and the ending of the absolute rule of Shoguns as commanders of the country. You can walk to Harajuku Station where the southern entrance is, or you can take the JR Yamanote line further south 1 stop and exit there. The entrance is just behind the station. One of the most notable features is the huge wood Torii Gate at the entrance – one of the largest in Japan.

Takashimaya Times Square

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Just up the street from Yoyogi Station is a huge multuse complex called Takshimaya Times Square. The main building is mostly huge department stores and restaurants but there are a lot of smaller interesting shops around the main building. The top 3 floors of the main building are all restaurants. There is also a small outdoor area with benches on an overpass with glass walls. The B1 level is all food. Here’s the official website and shop list.

Shinjuku Goyen National Garden

Just to the east of Takashimaya Square is the huge and amazing Shinjuku Goyen National Garden. This park has amazing paths to stroll around and a huge lake. Unfortunately there’s no entrance on the west side and you’ll have to head to the north side around 35°41’18.02″ N 139°42’28.79″ E to get to the entrance. There is a small entrance fee, but it’s not much. There is also a huge flower garden in the park. It’s worth a stop if you have a few extra hours to kill.

Food + Cafés

As we mentioned, there are a few places to eat around the station: one of the cafés, one of the steak places, or something from a conbini. The convenience store food in Japan is much better than that in the US. Pre-made sandwiches are actually fresh + natural without all the preservatives and chemicals found in western convenience store food. Or you could go to a place in Takshimaya Times Square or even in Shinjuku to the north. There are a lot of great Depachika (short for Basement Department) in the depato (department stores) in Shinjuku including Keio and others. Or you could try one of the upscale places in Omotesando. There are lots of great places there including a MOS Café, and several pancake shops. There are also several western fast food places near the station.

Conclusion

Well that’s it for now. Yoyogi + Yoyogi Park can make a fun day, or 1/2 day. If you have a little extra time, be sure to also check out Takshimaya Times Square and Shinjuku Goyen. It’s possible to do all 4 areas in one day, but it will be a full day. Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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West facing New Harajuku Station which opened in 2020. Just to the left around the corner is the entrance to Meiji Shrine. Just beyond that to the west is Yoyogi Park.

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New Harajuku Station under construction in 2020.

Old Harajuku Station is just to the right. Just to the left in this photo is the entrance to the world-famous Takeshita Street. The entrance to Meiji Shrine is just down the street on the right.

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Giant cookies the size of frisbees in Keio department store’s depachika.

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3 more views of the NTT building from Shinjuku.

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Mayhem @ Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku’s most OTT street musician – Duckman!

LINKS

Yoyogi

Yoyogi Station

Yoyogi Station travel guide

Yoyogi @ tokyo-tokyo.com

Yoyogi | The Official Tokyo Travel Guide, GO TOKYO

Yoyogi Area Guide | Tokyo Cheapo

Yoyogi Park – Tripadvisor

Yoyogi Park

Shinjuku | Takashimaya Department store

Takashimaya Shinjuku Department Store – Shinjuku Station

https://trulytokyo.com/takashimaya-times-square/

Takashimaya Times Square

Shinjuku

Shinjuku Station

Route Maps | JR-EAST

Yamanote Line

JR Yamanote Line

Yamanote Line — Map, Lines, Route, Hours, Tickets

JR Yamanote line @ jrailpass.com

Meiji Shrine Official

Meiji-jingu Shrine | JNTO

Meiji Shrine Outer Garden – Wikipedia

Meiji Shrine Review | Fodor’s Travel

Sekai Ichi: Japan Travel Blog: Meiji Shrine

Meiji Jingu (Shrine), Tokyo. | Old TokyoOld Tokyo

Meiji Jingū Shrine – Christine Loves to Travel

Meiji Shrine | Steviekun Foto: Life in Japan

Visiting The Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan – Drone & DSLR Travel Blog

Harajuku + Omotesando Superguide

New Harajuku Station Officially Opens

Walking route. Harajuku Station to Yoyogi Station

TOKYO WALKING

Emperor Meiji

Panda Sugar

Tokyo Vegetarian Restaurants + Cafe Guide

The Sound of the Mountain – Wikipedia

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuCY4EGHajk

Harajuku + Omotesando Superguide

Name: Harajuku + Omotesando

Kind: Town

Location: 35°40’11.89″ N 139°42’32.43″ E

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Free WiFi? Yes.

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Updated 6/26/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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Harajuku + Omotesando are 2 famous co-joined areas in west central Tokyo. Both spots are popular among young people + tourists.

Just to the east is Aoyama.

Harajuku is most famous for its shopping street – Takeshita Street. Omotesando Blvd. is runs parallel just to the south and is much bigger with more upscale shops + eateries.

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.

Just to the west of the station is Yoyogi National Gymnasium and Yoyogi Park – one of the most popular parks in Tokyo – and well worth a stop in spring, summer, and fall.

To get here, take any JR line that changes with the JR Yamanote Line, and get off at Harajuku Station. As a footnote, there is 1 other Metro station – Omoto-sando Station, all the way on the east side of Omotesando. You can traverse Omotesando Blvd. in a flash by shuttling between these 2 stations if you take the Chiyoda Line.

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Old Harajuku JR Station in late autumn 2019. The new station is on the left. Turn left from this vantage point at the next corner to enter Omotesando Blvd. Takeshita Street is to the right in this photo, out of frame. The old station was torn down in 2021.

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Old Harajuku JR Station exit. The new station is to the right. Takeshita Street is straight ahead. This exit is shown in the photo above under the clock. Far too small for today’s tourist traffic load, the brand new station just to the southwest replaced it. The old station was demolished and is no more.

Harajuku Station 200321a2.jpg
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Newly completed Harajuku Station on the JR Line. The old station is just to the right, out of frame and is scheduled to be torn down soon.

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East side Omoto-sando Station exit @ east end of Omotesando Blvd. You can take the Chiyoda, Ginza, or Hanzomon Lines. The JR Station is straight ahead a few miles. An interesting footnote is you can get from one side of Omotesando Blvd to the other fast by taking the Chiyoda Line between this station and Meiji-jingumae <Harajuku> Station.

After you exit Harajuku 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 Omotesando 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, a DAISO 100¥ shop, 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.

Takeshita Street

The entrance to Takeshita Street is located at 35°40’17.76″ N 139°42’10.93″ E right across from the entrance of the old Harajuku Station. Head east down the street.

It’s usually pretty packed – especially on nights + weekends. You’ll have to jostle with lots of other people. Just after the entrance on the right is a small alley with lots of T-shirt shops (see Totally Drew‘s video below). Just past that not too far down on the right is the very good NOA Coffee – well worth a stop. Marion Crepés is about 1/2 way down on the left. Oddly, NOA Coffee is run by the NOAH Company which also runs sound + dance studios and boxing gyms all over Tokyo.

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The old harajuku Station exit just across from the entrance to Takeshita Street, which was demolished in 2021 after the new station opened.

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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.

Entrance to Takeshita Street at night.

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Giant crepé menu on Takeshita Street. Around $5-$7 each.

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Angel Crepés shop.

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Angel Crepés. You can eat yourself silly at these places. But after walking 10-15 miles a day, you’ll want to.

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World-famous Marion Crepés.

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Bic Camera Select annex on Takeshita Street. Just to the right is a Daiso 100¥ store.

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.

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Head left at this bldg.

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Entrance to Depla Pol Chocolatier.

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There is also an excellent bar/restaurant hidden back on this street.

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Along this street is an amusingly named beer/coffee shop called Farms – by Good Munchies.

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A stroll down Takeshita St. This is facing back towards the street entrance to the west.

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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 Omotesando Blvd.

Coin Lockers

Just down on the right past the entrance to Takeshita St is a small luggage storage locker shop. If you need to store your luggage for the day, you can drop your stuff here, and retrieve them on your way out. Rates range from 400¥-800¥ and you can store items for up to 4 days. The shop has 24/7 video surveillance of all lockers so your stuff is secure. Oddly, this shop is run by the NOAH Company, which also runs the NOA Coffee shop just down the street.

Omotesando Blvd.

Omotesando Blvd. entrance east of Harajuku Station. The Omotesando Hills shopping center is on the left.

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Heading east down Omotesando Blvd.


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Further down Omotesando Blvd. on the left side is a MOS Burger Café.


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There is also a Tokyu Plaza with an open-air garden on top.


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Apple Store on Omotesando Blvd.


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Plenty of nice restaurants along Omotesando Blvd.


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Omotesando Blvd. facing east.


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A side street off Omotesando Blvd.


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Another side street.

If you head down Omotesando 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 Omotesando.

There is another, competing pancake shop called A Happy Pancake (Shiawase no Pancake – literally Pancake Happiness) in Omotesando 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 Omotesando Blvd. If you arrive early enough, you can easily walk all of Harajuku + Omotesando 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 Omotesando 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


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Miyota in Omotesando.


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Beer Brain in east Omotesando.


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Stockholm Roast in east Omotesando.

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.

Cat Street

Back behind the main drag in Omotesando is a small quiet side street lined with shops called Cat Street. Well-lit and very interesting for a stroll. If you walk all the way north on this street you will eventually come out in Shibuya (See photos below).

Well, that’s it for Harajuku/Omotesando. 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.

Additional Photos

Cat Street in Harajuku leading to Omotesando Blvd.

Cat Street in Harajuku leading to Omotesando Blvd. If you head back the other way and turn right where the street lights end, the road to the right will take you north to Shibuya eventually.

The old wood station being torn down in late 2020.

Co-working Spaces

In the new shopping complex across from the new Harajuku Station is a LIFORK shared work space. This space is brand new and excellent. It’s on the top floor next to the new IKEA. If you’re looking for cool shared office space, check it out. There is also a LIFORK in Akihabara.

Additional Photos

Entrance to Omotosano Blvd. across from the new JR Harajuku Station.

Meiji-Dori intersects Omotosando Blvd. near the new Q plaza bldg.

Looking north into Roppongi.

LINKS

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/destinations/tokyo/index.html?src=gnavi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harajuku_Station

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/29/national/new-harajuku-station-building-unveiled-march-opening/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harajuku

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omotesand%C5%8D

http://omotesando.or.jp/jp

http://omotesando.or.jp/en/shop_category

50 things to do in Harajuku

https://thosewhowandr.com/blog/things-to-do-harajuku

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/things-to-do/50-things-to-do-in-harajuku

https://whereintokyo.com/venues/25094.html

http://www.ao-aoyama.com/

https://whenin.tokyo/Omotesando-Aoyama-Area-Guide

https://whenin.tokyo/Gyre-Omotesando

https://trulytokyo.com/omotesando/

https://trulytokyo.com/harajuku-and-aoyama/

Tokyo Travel Guide: Omotesando

http://japanshopping.org/

https://whereintokyo.com/venues/25094.html

https://favy-jp.com/topics/2559

https://t5pg.jp/shops/a009-011-003/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g1066451-d8612608-Reviews-Sobakiri_Miyota-Minato_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

http://tokyobelly.blogspot.com/2017/02/omotesando-soba-kiri-miyota-delicious.html

The jewel of the 1964 Olympics: Yoyogi National Stadium

http://www.poldepla.be/index.php?c=about&id=42

LIFORK Harajuku

http://www.tbb.works/

https://stockholmroast.jp/

https://www.reissue.co.jp/

Watari-um Museum

Nezu Museum

IKEA Harajuku – Shopping And Vegan-Friendly Swedish Delights

https://matcha-jp.com/en/15

https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-temples-shrines/meiji-shrine

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3002.html

Harajuku Guide @ The Best Japan

Workingholiday Connection | Harajuku

Gomaya Kuki

Coconut Glen’s Coconut Ice Cream is a Must-Try in Omotesando

VIDS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsOBBA-hvfM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAc8tM9Gz5I

Even murals in Japan are done with class.