Shibuya Superguide

Name: Shibuya

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°39’33.62″ N 139°42’03.08″ E

Stations: Shibuya Station, Ginza Line, Hanzomon Line, Fukutoshin Line, Keio Shibuya Station

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 8/3/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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Shibuya is known as a fashion + nightlife area among the young in Tokyo. One of the most dazzling + vibrant areas in Tokyo, Shibuya is full of life. There are an endless variety of things to do here. The area is surprisingly compact and can easily be walked in a day or night, but not in only 1 day if you want to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Be sure to check out the offical redevelopment site Hello Neo-Shibuya.

Also be sure to check out the Shibuya City Official site.

Access

The main rail transit point is Shibuya Station – which intersects several major rail lines and 3 Tokyo Metro Subway Lines: The Ginza, Hanzomon, and Fukutoshin Lines. In fact, it’s the western terminus for the Ginza and Hanzomon lines, and the eastern terminus for the Fukutoshin line. The station is being vastly remodeled as part of Neo-Shibuya – a complete redevelopment of the entire area not expected to be completed until 2027. Redevelopment is well underway and several new large complexes are already complete, which we will discuss below.

You may also take the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya Station and exit the gate to the west into Hachiko Square. There is also another line at the station called the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line which runs south to Yokohama.

Shibuya Station extends 3 floors below ground as well with a huge shopping mall and restuarants inside as well. There is also a large east-west passage underground known as Shibuya Chikamichi.

There are 1/2 a dozen exits from the station, but the most popular exit is the Hachiko Square exit on the west side as it leads directly to Shibuya Crossing.

There is also another station underground a few blocks to the west around 35°39’29.78″ N 139°41’56.37″ E called KEIO Shibuya Station on the Keio Inogashira Line. KEIO is a big depato (department store) chain in Japan and they often locate rail stations near their stores.

Shibuya is just south of Harajuku/Omotesando just to the north. In fact, you can walk there in just a few minutes from Harajuku Station by taking the street south from Yoyogi National Gymnasium next to Harajuku Station. The street brings you right into the central Shibuya Crossing – one of the most iconic and filmed city locations in Tokyo.

Oddly, the word Harajuku means “Original lodgings“, whereas Shinjuku just to the north means “New Lodgings“. The etymology of both words is unclear, but undoubtedly are related to the Edo Period when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo).

Also see our other pages about most of the other stops on the Hanzomon Line.

Area Layout

Facing north. Shibuya Crossing is in the top center, Shibuya 109 just to the left of that up the street, and Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the large skyscrapers off to the right. If you follow the central north street from the Crossing, you will arrive at the next town to the north – Harajuku. Shibuya Mark City is the tall complex on the center left which includes a very nice deluxe hotel. The hidden backstreets are just up the small street to the left next to the building in the upper center in this photo.

Another view of Shibuya Crossing – this time from the northwest facing southeast. The crossing is in the middle center. Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the two large skyscrapers in the top center. (Hikarie or Hikari means “light” in Japanese). If you head left (east) down the main street, you will come to the more business-oriented side of Shibuya, which also has some nice restuarants + shops on the street level worth checking out.

4 Main Avenues

There are 4 main avenues around the center of Shibuya: 1) the east-west street with the business area on the east side and Shibuya 109 on the west side, 2) the north-south street running from the central Crossing up to Harajuku, 3) the area south of the station, and 4) the hidden north backstreets to the northwest of the square.

You can spend hours exploring each so it’s best to plan to spend an entire day + an entire night in the area if possible. If you really want to see everything in-depth, plan on 2 days.

Hachiko Square

Just to the west of the JR station exit is the world-famous Hachiko Square area. A small courtyard just outside the station, it’s a popular meeting spot for young people. The square is named after the dog Hachiko who famously waited for his late master every day at the station for 9 years. The square is the gateway to central Shibuya and Shibuya Crossing is just to the north of it.

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Facing east at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the right. Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the 2 large skyscrapers shown on the right.

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Facing south at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the left. This entire section including the station is slated for a mega-renovation to be completed by 2027. The redevelopment will change the face of Shibuya forever.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Shibuya Crossing, facing north. Shibuya 109 is down the street to the left. Hachiko Square is behind the camera. The small sidestreet in the center of the photo leads to an endless array of backstreets as well as to the Sakura Currency Exchange (explained below). Heading north from the TSUTAYA on the right leads to Harajuku. Described later are backstreets, some of which are reachable by following the small entrance under the Forever 21 sign straight ahead.

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Another view of Shibuya Crossing facing south. Hachiko Square is straight ahead. Shibuya Scramble Square is the tall skyscraper on the left. As of 2021 the white Tokyu bldg. ahead is slated to be torn down for Shibuya’s redevelopment.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Southwest corner at the Crossing. The street to the right (west) is full of interesting shops, cafés, and restaurants. Shibuya 109 is also to the right. Down at the end of this street is the very nice + afforable APA Hotel Shibuya. The tall bldg. in the back is the Shibuya Mark City Hotel. The bldg. shown here is a “food tower” or food palace – a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. These buildings are all over Tokyo and offer all sorts of different culinary experiences. The L’Occitane Café on the first 3 floors is an upscale experience.

Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya

Around 35°39’27.42″ N 139°42’09.26″ E there are 2 huge new skyscraper developments in Shibuya: Shibuya Scramble Square (SSS) + Hikarie Shibuya. Hikarie Shibuya is on the east, which opened in 2012 and which has a big office tower, a shopping mall, a mezzanine level, a museum, and lots of restaurants. In its basement are routes into the new Shibuya Station including the Ginza Metro line. There are some vids we shot below looking down on Shibuya from the Mezzanine Level. This place is a must-see even if it’s just to walk around.

Also as part of the Neo-Shibuya development, just across the street to the west is the brand new Shibuya Scramble Square complex which opened in Nov. 2019. It also has a mall, restaurants, offices, and lots of shops + passages into the subways. But its most interesting + dazzling feature is a rooftop observatory described next. There is also a floor guide on their website.

Shibuya Sky

On the top of SSS is a huge open-air rooftop observatory, Shibuya Sky. It’s not to be missed for anything. Only a glass wall separates you and a 360-degree view of all of Tokyo. A spectacular must-see. Adult tickets are a little spendy @ around $18/person, but it’s well worth it for an experience you’ll never forget.

To get to either development, head a block east from Hachiko Square, then south 1 block. You can also get to the buildings from inside the station.
You can find out more about the area and the redevelopment plan over on the excellent https://www.shibuyastation.com/shibuya-station-area-redevelopment-plan/ site.

Shibuya Sky

Entrance to Shibuya Sky.

Shibuya STREAM

On the back (south) side of SSS is a cool little multiuse area called Shibuya STREAM. The area has lots of food + shopping + is a nice place to stroll.

You can also get to it from street level across from Shibuya Hikarie, or from the elevated walkway at the intersection just south. If you go to SSS, be sure to check out Shibuya STREAM.

Shibuya STREAM on the backside of SSS.

Shibuya STREAM is quite extensive and has lots of food choices. There’s a Dean + Deluca on the 2nd floor.

Shibuya Mark City

Shibuya Mark City is a large mall + hotel just to the west of Shibuya Station. There are loads of great restaurants + cafés inside. It’s just across the street from Hachiko Square so be sure to check it out. There are also a bunch of interesting side streets around the complex worth exploring as well.

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Shibuya Mark City is just across the street to the west from Hachiko Square.

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Entrance to Shibuya Mark City.

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Looking back east towards the Shibuya Mark City Hotel from a few blocks away.

Shibuya 109

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Just up the street to the west of Hachiko Square is a complex called Shibuya 109. It’s mostly just shops + restaurants, but it’s worth a look. At the corner of Shibuya 109 the street splits in two – you can head north (right) into some more shopping, the MEGA Don Quijote (see below), and eventually pass the Hotel koé Tokyo – which is a little spendy, but very nice if you plan to stay in the area.

Alternatively you can head up the street on the left (west) side of the corner, which in our opinion is more interesting. At the end of this street is APA Hotel Shibuya which is a really good value. There are also a lot of really good cafés including Café Legato on this street. The area is tree-lined and makes for a very enjoyable walk up and back. Definitely a must-see.

Bic Camera

No trip to Japan would be complete without an electronics store stop and Shibuya doesn’t disappoint. Just to the west of the L’Occitane Café mentioned above is Shibuya’s large Bic Camera – one of the biggest electronics shops in Tokyo. There is also a smaller Bic Camera Annex 2 blocks to the east around 35°39’35.03″ N 139°42’07.47″ E (on the corner just before the turn north to Shibuya Miyashita Park mentioned below).

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The main Bic Camera facing east.

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Bic Camera Annex is just out of frame to the right 2 blocks to the east of the Crossing. This photo is facing back west towards the Crossing. The tall tower in the distance is Shibuya Mark City Hotel. Shibuya Station is ahead on the left. There’s a video of this scene at the end of the page.

Giant Tokyu

If you head a few blocks north of Shibuya 109 up the street to the right side, you’ll come to another huge Tokyu Depato (department store) around 35°39’39.30″ N 139°41’48.70″ E. Shibuya 109 is actually owned by Tokyu also. The name “109” is actually a Japanese play on words because To-kyu sounds a bit like the Japanese numbers for ten and nine. There is also a huge H+M mall on the right just before it. There are all kinds of fascinating tiny backstreets and alleys around the area. You can spend hours exploring.

Internet Cafés + Shibuya Maruyamacho

Along this route you’ll also pass the INET internet café + Karaoké lounge. If you’re looking for a really dirt cheap place to stay in Shibuya, INET might work, but be prepared for cigarette smoke, noise, and lots of other people – the place offers a small cubicle with a bed, chair, tiny desk, and PC for around $24/night. But if you’re in need of a really cheap place, or need a quick place to crash, INET might work. Shibuya has many such internet cafés – search the web for the best picks.

Also, just to the north (left) of INET there’s a very interesting side street called Shibuya Maruyamacho worth checking out (see vid below).

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Also on this street a little further west is the very nice Café Legato hidden away on the 3rd floor of this bldg. on the left:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Also in the vicinity is this very large 2-story Excelsior Café.

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Looking back east towards the Crossing from the steps of Shibuya 109. There is plenty to see + do on this street too. Just up the street behind the camera is Shibuya’s MEGA Don Quijote discount store. There is another small food palace and Big Echo Karaoké place in the building on the left.

MEGA Don Quijote just north of Shibuya 109.

Also further north on this street you’ll pass a great bike shop called Y’s Road (there are many of them in Tokyo). They mostly sell higher-end performance bikes, but you can sometimes find bargains.

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Shibuya Miyashita Park

1 block to the northeast of the Crossing is the newly-opened Shibuya Miyashita Park. It’s a very nice multi-level food, shopping, and entertainment complex. The roof has a volleyball court + other stuff to do. Definitely check it out. To get there head east from the Crossing for 2 blocks, then turn left (north) and it will be on your left.

See our full post on SMP here.

Backstreets

There are endless backstreets to explore in Shibuya. The most interesting are behind the Q-Front bldg. with the TSUTAYA in it shown above center-right. Head up the small street just to the left of the bldg., then head north, west, or down any other side street. There is an entire web of interesting streets in this are as shown below:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Winter Illuminations

In Dec-Jan, Shibuya has dozens of spectacular winter illuminations all over the city. The most impressive one is just north of Shibuya Crossing in a small park just to the south of Yoyogi National Gymnasium. If you’re there in the winter, check them out – it’s well worth it.

Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium

A few blocks to the south of the Crossing around 35°39’19.44″ N 139°41’59.49″ E is the Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium – which has a number of traditional arts plus a very nice large planetarium. Definitely worth checking out.

Hotels

There are lots of great hotels in Shibuya, some of them quite reasonable. It’s best to go during off-peak season for the best rates – try to avoid spring as that is when the demand is highest. We recommend checking out agoda.com for hotel/travel searches.

If you’re looking for an upscale hotel, there is the Shibuya Mark City mentioned above, and around 35°39’22.11″ N 139°41’58.31″ E there is the huge Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel which runs around $200/night. The APA Hotel Shibuya mentioned above is a much more affordable and is also very nice. There is also the very nice sequence MIYASHITA PARK for around $100/night.

If you’re willing to head about 1/2 mile south of the Crossing, there is also the very popular MUSTARD HOTEL which has slightly more reasonable rates.

Food

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Food options in Shibuya are endless. Restuarants, noodle shops, cafés, and specialty shops are everywhere. There is something to fit every taste and budget. From deluxe restaurants on the upper floors of hotels and skycrapers to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops there is something for everyone.

Shibuya Mark City has a huge restaurant court on its upper floors. To get there, head into the east side entrance to the west of Hachiko Square, then take the escalator up. There are dozens of restaurants everywhere. Shibuya 109 and Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya also have lots of great restaurants. See their websites for floor guides with detailed lists of places to eat.

GEMS Food Tower

Just north of Shibuya Miyashita Park on the east side of the street around 35°39’48.87″ N 139°42’11.39″ E there is a huge food palace called GEMS Jingumae Food Tower. It has 8-9 floors of all kinds of stuff. Definitely check it out. Don’t forget that Shibuya Miyashita Park itself also has lots of great restaurants.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Shibuyacast

Also just around the same area at 35°39’46.02″ N 139°42’09.03″ E is a small courtyard called Shibuyacast. This place often holds outdoor gatherings at night with lots of outdoor food stalls and vendors. There are also shops and a small microbrewery called Brewdog. Worth a look:

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Tower Records Café

Around 35°39’42.97″ N 139°42’03.22″ E there is a Tower Reccords store (a CD chain that went out of business in the US long ago), and it has a surprisingly good café on the upper floors.

Legato Café

The Café Legato mentioned above is also quite good and has a a full restaurant.

If you venture into the east side of Shibuya, there are several major streets lined with great places to eat.

Sarutahiko Cohee

“Cohee” is the Japanese word for coffee. If you head up the east side street north like you’re going to Harajuku, you’ll come to a big MODI shopping complex. Inside is a great café called Sarutahiko Cohee. If you’re a coffee lover, it’s a must-see.

MOS Burger Shibuya

If you’re in the mood for a quick fast food burger, check out MOS Burger Shibuya around 35°39’32.45″ N 139°41’52.03″ E. It’s just west of the UNIQLO store on the street heading up west from Shibuya 109:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Toki Seven Tea

On the way to Sakura Currency Exchange (shown below) be sure to stop and check out the “boba tea” shop Toki Seven Tea:

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DEN Shibuya

Around 35°40’23.71″ N 139°42’45.76″ E is a really nice restaurant called DEN Shibuya. Check it out – it’s really nice.

Sakura – The Hidden Currency Exchange

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Watch for this elevator on the street on the left.

If you head north through the Crossing and go up the backstreet just to the left of the TSUTAYA record shop, in a few blocks around 35°39’36.75″ N 139°41’56.48″ E you’ll come to a tiny elevator right on the street which leads to the Sakura Currency Exchange on the 4th floor. Rates at this exchange are much better than at airports or banks in Japan. You’ll need to show your passport and they will scan it in order to make the transaction. Fees here are low so it’s worth a stop if you need to exchange money.

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On the way north to Sakura Exchange, which is just on the left after the Wendy’s.

Shibuya E-Space Tower

If you continue up the street to the west from the Crossing, around 35°39’26.58″ N 139°41’44.64″ E you’ll come to a building called Shibuya E-Space Tower. This building has some nice restaurants on the top floors, but it also has a nice glass elevator which faces the street. You can get spectacular views of Shibuya from the elevator on the way to the top. It also happens to have one of the coolest Kobans (police boxes) in all of Tokyo:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

View from the E-Space Tower elevator.

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Also nearby is the one-of-a-kind World Liquor System. Who says the Japanese don’t have a sense of humor?

Meguro Sky Garden

If you’re up for walking about a mile southwest of Shibuya, there is the spectacular Meguro Sky Garden – a huge lush garden built on top of a round freeway interchange. You can sit in the garden and relax + watch the clouds go by or enjoy the immaculately groomed landscape. There is also a subway station nearby so check the routes + maps. It’s well worth a quick visit if you have the time.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it. Shibuya is a vibrant + exciting area of Tokyo and you don’t want to miss it. You can easily spend a few days here so if you want to see it in-depth, stay at one of the good reasonable hotels in the area and spend a couple of days here. It’s worth the time.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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On the JR Yamanote platform at Shibuya Station.

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Inside a JR Yamanote Line car.

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This walkway to the south of Shibuya Mark City leads towards the west of Shibuya Crossing and to Shibuya 109. Just on the left is an excellent hamburger joint.

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Inside Shibuya Mark City.

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The entrance to Hakkendana next to INET.

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Shibuya’s hidden side streets offer adventure at every turn.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Heading north on the north-south street which leads to Harajuku. A must-see walk. There are also loads of good cafés inside the MODI building.

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MEGA Don Quijote up to the north past Shibuya 109.

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You can actually eat quite cheap+ healthy in Tokyo by utilizing Don Quijote specials such as these. Great meals for a few dollars. In this case only about $2 USD. The grocery areas are usually hidden away in the basements of most Don Quijotes.

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Don Quijotes also have surprisingly good produce.

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One of many backstreets just northwest of the Crossing. You can spend hours and even days exploring.

Entrance to Shibuya STREAM.

Another view of Hikarie Shibuya, facing east. The walkway heads west into Shibuya Scramble Square across the street. The station is to the left, although you can also get to it from inside in the basement.

The vastness that is Tokyo.

More photos from Shibuya Sky:

View looking north into Shinjuku from Shibuya Sky.

NEO-Shibuya Station under construction east of the old station.

NEO-Shibuya Station.

Another platform in Shibuya Station under renovation in 2020.

A foreigner-friendly pub hidden away on the backstreets.

LINKS

Shibuya City Official

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

Metro Ginza Line

Metro Hanzomon Line

Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line – Wikipedia

Shibuya Station – Wikipedia

Hanzomon Line Posts

Keio Shibuya Station

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/swi/

Fukutoshin Line

Shibuya Station – Shibuya Transportation Guide

Shibuya Area Overview

Sightseeing in Shibuya – Walking the Big Two Part 1

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/swi/

Tokyo City Guide: Shibuya

THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Shibuya – Tripadvisor

Shibuya Crossing

SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE

Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Hikarie

Shibuya Mark City

Shibuya 109

MIYASHITA PARK 公式ウェブサイト

Shibuya Cultural Center

Sarutahiko Cohee

Hachiko

HELLO neo SHIBUYA | b’s mono-log

shibuya | Flickr

Mega Don Quijote, Shibuya – Japan’s Largest Discount Goods Store

Big Echo

hotel koé, Shibuya

Meguro Sky Garden

Shibuya-kei

VIDS

Shibuya Scramble Crossing Live Camera shows a cool 24/7 view of the Crossing.

Ground-level view of the Crossing facing north. Take the street ahead to get to Harajuku.

Hachiko Square is just across the street to the east.

There are 2 Bic Cameras in Shibuya – one just to the west of the Crossing, and the one shown here 1 block to the east on the northwest corner.

A birdseye view of Neo-Shibuya from Hikarie Shibuya to the east. This vid also shows the major redevelopment area south of the station as well as the Crossing at night.

View from the east side of Shibuya looking back towards the Crossing. There’s plenty to see + do on this street as well. Be prepared to walk for hours.

Down an east-side street. Wait for the roar of the train as it rushes by in a flash.

A few blocks up the street to the west of the Crossing. There are all kinds of great restaurants + cafés on this street. APA Hotel Shibuya is just at the end of the street to the west (behind the camera).

Sun Road is another hotel in Shibuya.

Inside the busy Starbucks just at the north end of the Crossing. On the 1st floor is a very nice TATSUYA record shop. The view from the window here of the Crossing is spectacular.

This vid starts 1 block west of the Crossing. The Bic Camera ANNEX is straight ahead in this thumbnail. Turn right here for Shibuya Miyashita Park.

Check out this very cool History of Shibuya Station.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5VOTx1YfAg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMk-Le01o_w&feature=emb_logo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOTCGZd3qEo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoWm9fAaEl4

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

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Page takes time to load due to photos.

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.