Travel: Harajuku, Tokyo (+ Johnny’s shop)
Finally, I think I have enough material to write about my favourite place in Tokyo! Harajuku!
I have quite a few photos so I’ve posted a Google Map of Harajuku at the end and have marked some places with a number to represent the area where I took photos.
The one place every Johnny’s fan needs to check out is Tokyo’s Johnny’s shop:
- Where: the shop is a short walk away from Harajuku JR station and the Meiji-jingu-mae subway station.
- You can walk to the Johnny’s shop yourself, but sometimes they tell me it’s full and I have to line up or get a ticket at the nearby park.
- So, go to the park (see above photo) and you’ll see a Johnny’s shop staff member there wearing a jacket or vest with the “Johnny’s Shop” logo on it. He or she will either tell you to join the queue, or they’ll give you a ticket that will have a specific time written on it. You need to come back to the park by the time written on your ticket in order to get into the shop. E.g. if your ticket says “11:30am”, come back to the park by 11:30am to join the group of other 11:30am-ers. A staff member will check your ticket and escort you to the shop.
- Once in the shop, it’s down to business. The main attraction is the hundreds of Johnny’s talents photos, as well as memorabilia.
- What to do: grab a pen and an order form from inside the shop. You need to fill out one order form for each Johnny’s group. In other words, if you want to buy photos of Arashi and KAT-TUN, you need to fill out one form for Arashi, and another form for KAT-TUN. Write the name of the group you’re buying photos of at the top (I’ve marked it red in the photo).
- Every photo has a code number, which can range from #1 – 800. Find the photo(s) you want, find it’s code number on the order form, and then write down how many of copies of that photo you want to buy next to the code number.
- Cost: Each photo costs 150 yen.
- Line up at the cashier, hand over your order form(s) and a staff member will get all of your photos for you.
- Shop hours: 10am – 7pm daily
- Address: 1F Il Sarche building, 1-14-21 Jingu-mae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001
Places to shop in Harajuku
The most famous street in Harajuku is 竹下通り, Takeshita street (photo below)
You’ll find a lot of cheap and fun clothing shops, crepe shops, restaurants, and a few ticket offices here.
It’s pretty safe here, but do watch out for some guys who will try to invite you into their stores. They’re kind of like street hawkers, and as far as I can see, they try to invite you into their restaurant. I wouldn’t say they’re doing anything illegal, it’s just that they can get annoying when they start walking with you and asking you more questions.
When you get out of Takeshita street, you’ll see the KDDI au mobile shop.
From here, there are a lot of other places to shop:
- La Foret is a huge shopping mall down the road from the KDDI au shop, close to the large intersection between Omotesando and Meiji dori. Across the road, Tokyu Plaza just opened up in May 2012. Behind these places there are huge H&M and Forever 21 shops.
- The back streets of Harajuku have an infinite number of shops. Behind the KDDI au mobile shop, you’ll find women’s clothes, mens clothes, shoes, hats, yukata (summer kimono), gothic lolita shops, and a number of other cool shops (photo area 5). A lot of shop attendants have told me that they spot Johnny’s talents shopping around Harajuku from time to time. One pointed out a shop TOKIO’s Tomoya Nagase had shopped at once, and someone else told me they’d seen KAT-TUN’s Koki Tanaka hanging around Harajuku a few times.
- I’ve noticed that the backstreets (photo area 6) on the other side of the main street, Omotesando, have a lot of international labels (DKNY, Paul Smith, Anna Sui, Adidas, etc.) as well as local brands. For toy lovers, KIDDYLAND has moved to this area temporarily because they’re re-building their Omotesando shop (still as of May 2012).
- Omotesando is a main street, one down from Takeshita street. I’ve heard it been called Japan’s Champs-Élysées. There are some cool shops here (ZARA, Lacoste, Puma, etc), but also a lot of expensive labels (Chanel, Bulgari, Missoni, Ralph Lauren, Dior, etc). Again, a generally safe place to hang out, there’s a police station just outside the Ralph Lauren shop down Omotesando. People who are mildly annoying are hairdressers and talent scouts. Sometimes someone might approach you asking, “have you cut your hair recently? I’m a hairdresser in a salon nearby…”. They’re not aggressive, and they’ll kindly leave you alone if you say, “no thanks”, so don’t worry. The other people who might approach you are talent scouts. I know some of them are genuine scouts, but the others aren’t as genuine so watch out. These people aren’t aggressive either and they’ll leave you alone if you say, “no thanks” or just shake your head.
That’s it for now! If I think of anything else I’ve forgotten, I’ll update you 🙂 (added a few things on February 8 )
- Areas neighbouring with Harajuku: Shibuya, Aoyama, Shinjuku
- Other significant places around Harajuku: Yoyogi Park, Yoyogi Dai-ichi Taikukan (concert venue for a lot of Johnny’s concerts), Meiji Shrine, Omotesando Hills
* This post was updated 19 May 2012.