Daiso Harajuku

HarajukuAlongside the glamour boutiques and dining in Harajuku is the "Daiso Harajuku" otherwise known as the 100 yen Shop. Take a look of it from Takeshita dori, Harajuku’s busy pedestrian mall, Daiso looks like a big pharmacy, full of cosmetics and toiletries.

But if you take a look around inside you’ll see that there are 3 more floors: a basement full of kitchenware, and a huge range of stationary, homewares and electrical accessories upstairs. Browsing through, it seems like a regular variety store, until you notice that everything is priced at just 105 yen.

Daiso is a 100 Yen store right in the heart of Takeshita dori in Harajuku, located only a few steps from Harajuku Station along Takeshita Dori. It is only one minute walk from JR Harajuku Station (Takeshita-guchi Exit). While Japan's largest 100 Yen shop, Daiso Giga Machida, spans 5 floors in front of Machida Station (30 minutes, 360 Yen from Shinjuku by Odakyu Railways). Daiso Harajuku is one of the largest 100 Yen stores in central Tokyo offering a wide array of goods on multiple floors at 105 Yen per item (105 yen incl. tax) - sometimes 99 yen.

The products amount here is around 90,000. It sells almost all original products developed by Daiso. Daiso provide the following living wares. - Stationeries - Foods and beverages - CD and Books - Interior goods - Cosmetics - Gardening utensil - Kitchen utensil - Plastic goods You can find a lot interesting goods for your daily necessities or souvenirs. Daiso Harajuku probably the biggest store of Daiso. Large stores in other cities include: Daiso Sapporo Chuo (South 2 West 2, Odori Station), Daiso Nagoya Sakae Skyle (Sakae Station), Daiso Osaka Nihonbashi (Nihonbashi Station), Daiso Kobe Promena (Promena Kobe, Kobe Station) and Daiso Fukuoka Kotsu Center (Fukuoka Kotsu Center, Hakata Station).

100 yen stores are enhancing their status in the retail industry to rank alongside department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. Dozens or perhaps hundreds or even thousands of these often small (a few are multi-storey complexes with the look and stock of department stores) dot the landscape. Daiso, one of the bigger operators, runs more than two thousand stores across Japan. Japan's biggest 100 Yen, or “dollar” shop, Daiso Giga Machida, covers 5 floors of Machida Station. According to published sources, by “purchasing products in huge quantities and at big discounts from countries with low production and labor costs,” these commonly available, usually small shops bring a broad range of products to consumers. The 100 (or 99) yen shops are great for shopping for basics while you travel, or for rooting out all kinds of interesting knick-knacks to tote home as gifts.

Daiso is a major player in the 100 Yen chain store located all over Japan commonly known as "hyakkin". Daiso store is ranging in size from multi-storey "department stores" to small corners in shopping malls. Some are as large as 5 floors high. Imagine four floors of items from food to stationary, pet stuff, kitchen and bath goods, and even some clothes that are ALL 100 yen each. And it’s decent stuff. Daiso has expanded its product lines and number of stores on such a scale that it can no longer be categorized solely as a 100 yen stores. It is now so well established as part of everyday life that it has become the destination of choice for the purchase of daily commodities.

Daiso apparently can sell items cheap because they get things in bulk. They also have companies in China make a lot of the make up and other items that they then sell as Daiso products. Almost everything is for sale for the basic fee plus a small consumption tax, which means these are the dollar stores of Asia. Harajuku branch is a great introduction to the 100 yen shopping experience, it is not the biggest in Tokyo, but it is the most conveniently located of the big 100 yen stores, as it is in an area that visitors would most likely want to visit anyway. There was a news that Daiso recently went international with a store in Vancouver. In the year ended March 2005, Daiso sales exceeded 320 billion yen and our network of shops across Japan numbered over 2,400. The number of stores is growing at a rate of 20 to 30 stores a month and our overseas network is also increasing at a rapid pace. Daiso pursues an aggressive expansion policy.

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Togo Shrine

HarajukuTogo Shrine (???? Togo-jinja), located on Meiji Dori in Harajuku, near the intersection of Takeshita Street and Meiji Avenue. It is accessible from Harajuku Station, near Meiji-Jingumae, Tokyo. It was built in 1940. Togo shrine is an oasis of peace and harmony, right next to the crowded Takeshita-dori street.

Togo Shrine is a memorial Shinto shrine dedicated to military commander Admiral Togo Heihachiro (1848-1934) shortly after his death. Togo Heihachiro campaigned commander in the defining 1905 victory against Russia at the Tsushima Straits. The Admiral defeated the Russian fleet in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.

Togo supervised former Emperor Hirohito's education from 1914-1924. The shrine was established in 1940 but destroyed in the air bombings of 1945. Then the shrine was replaced by a contemporary building in 1969 and a memorial hall was added in the shrine. Togo Heihachiro is celebrated as a shinto kami in Togo Shrine. There is a small museum and a bookshop dedicated to Togo Heihachiro located within the grounds of the shrine. Togo Heihachiro physical remains are interred at Tama Cemetery in Tokyo.

There is a flea market in Togo Shrine, which has a nice and peaceful atmosphere. This is a lovely place to walk around. While wandering amongst the stalls you can enjoy the Shrine garden. This flea market is a Sunday morning open-air antique market with more than 120 booths, if it is raining so all the booths are suspended. This is the largest antique market of its kind in Tokyo. The flea market opens on the 1st, 4th, and 5th Sunday of every month from 4am to 2pm. After 2pm the sellers start to clean up their shop, so you must come earlier. This is the best place to buy used kimono, furniture, record player, a wooden trunk, or even some film posters from the show era. Almost all customers here are non-Japanese people. The sellers here seem like used to have foreigners customers so they use a little bit English to tell the prices. Don’t forget to bargain when you shop here.

Togo Shrine is 5 minutes from Harajuku Station. From the platform, go down the stairs and out Takeshita Exit. Cross the road and enter Takeshita-dori (full of shops on both sides). Walk straight and head left at a small four-street intersection (before Seven Eleven). There will be a fork in the road with steps to the right. Go up the steps, walk straight and you should see more steps that will lead you to the entrance to the shrine. And it takes 7 minutes to Togo Shrine if you are from Meiji-jingumae station. From Exit 3, head toward Harajuku Station, past Snoopy Town Shop, to Takeshita-dori. Enter Takeshita-dori and walk straight. Head left at a small four-street intersection (before Seven Eleven) and there will be a fork in the road with stairs to the right. Go up the steps, walk straight and you should see more steps that will take you to the entrance to the shrine.

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Louis Vuitton

HarajukuThe Louis Vuitton store in Omotesando, Harajuku was opened in autumn 2002. This is The Louis Vuitton company's largest store in the world, also their luxury goods maker’s and one of the most beautiful store. The public store occupied five of the building's ten floors, which are designed as a stack of trunks rather than conventional floors.

The success of Louis Vuitton, of course, is based on bags, and so along with shoes. The store located at 5-7-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3478-2100. Open daily 11am-8pm. The nearest station of the store is Omotesando Station.

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Yoyogi National Stadium

HarajukuYoyogi National Stadium (????????, Kokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogi-jo?) in Shibuya, Tokyo, is an arena in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo, Japan which is famous for its suspension roof design. It was designed by Kenzo Tange, Japan's foremost postwar architect.

It was built between 1961 and 1964 to house swimming and diving events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. This stadium located across the Inokashira Avenue from the Yoyogi Park. The Stadium is one of Tokyo's most impressive landmarks. National Yoyogi Stadium is also in Harajuku area. Located in Yoyogi Park which is also where Meiji Shrine located, no wonder National Yoyogi Stadium is one of most attended place in Tokyo.

The design inspired Frei Otto's arena designs for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. its awesome and daring shell-like steel-suspension roofing has earned it a spot in the Japanese Ministry of Construction's Top 100 Public Structures of Japan. The stadium seats 8,000 and is used for concerts, mostly rock, as well as sporting events.The arena holds 10,500 people. A CFD evaluation of the stadium interior was recently performed by the Shimizu Corporation to better understand the quality of the air-conditioning system for both modes of stadium operation.

Nowadays, this Stadium also being used for ice skating and volleyball competitions, basketball competitions, concerts (it's a nice place to concert) and various other events. In October 1997, the NHL opened its season at the arena with the Vancouver Canucks taking on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in two matches. The following season the San Jose Sharks played the Calgary Flames in two games also to open the 1998-99 NHL season.

National Yoyogi Stadium, a holy place for athletes in Japan. The design of the stadium applied the same technique as a suspension bridge and the 126-meter long and 120-meter wide roof hanged from one or two main posts is providing a large open space. With its unique and stunning design. It has employed innovative suspended roof construction utilizing high tension cables, and we are proud of their unique shapes. The premises feature the 1st gymnasium, which looks like a tent supported by two columns; the 2nd gymnasium, which looks like a dragon spiraling towards the sky; and other sports facilities. The stadium was used for international competition in swimming, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and ice skating and has brought up and sent many athletes into the world, becoming a place for people who love sports.

Two of the stadia, built for the Olympics, remain the area's most famous architectural features. The main building of Tange Kenzo's Yoyogi National Stadium is a dead ringer for Noah's ark, and its steel suspension roof was a structural engineering marvel at the time. Inside are a swimming pool and skating rink (Mon-Sat noon-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm; ¥900). The smaller stadium, used for basketball, is like the sharp end of a giant swirling seashell.

The damper mechanism from KYB protects the elegant suspended roofs of the gymnasiums from vibration due to strong winds and earthquakes. It supported the roofs and the history of the gymnasiums for more than 40 years. The damper mechanism is the root of the present vibration insulation system. In 2004, an overhaul of the system was conducted, and it was proved that 12 dampers removed from the building had maintained the designed performance after 40 years of service. The same technology is used in the large roofs of Fukuoka Dome and Oita Dome.

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Oriental Bazzar

HarajukuOriental Bazaar is one of Tokyo's largest souvenir shops, most probably it is the most famous of souvenir shops. Oriental Bazaar is very popular among foreign travelers who look for typical Japanese souvenirs, such as kimono, tableware, lamps, dolls, furniture and samurai related goods.

This store is located about halfway between Omotesando and Harajuku station on Omotesando Dori (5-9-13 Jingu-mae) near Togo Shrine in Harajuku. To find the Bazaar go to Omotesando station and walk down the main street towards Harajuku, the shop is on the right about halfway down the road. It is just down the street from Kiddyland. The Oriental Bazaar is set in a quieter section of bustling Harajuku.

Oriental Bazaar is also the most imaginatively laid out. The bazaar has several different focuses, and the store is laid out accordingly. It is a four-stories store, and when you step to the higher floor you will get the more expensive items. The basement stocks bright, cheap and cheerful, touristy items, while the top floor offers antiques and traditional Japanese kimono and crafts. It is surely one of the best places to buy affordable and beautiful, second-hand original kimonos. Yukata (new and used), ceramics, towels and papercraft are some of the more popular items. There is also available woodblock prints, paper products, wind chimes, stationery, fans, chopsticks, lamps, Imari chinaware, sake sets, Japanese dolls, pearls, books on Japan, and a large selection of antique furniture.

The first floor is mostly occupied by furniture and ceramics/porcelains with more touristy items there as well. Also, a very fine selection of tea and sake services is found downstairs. Go upstairs you will find prints (standard and woodblock), more touristy items, and textiles for purchase. The bazzar has sections which each section of the store is operated by a separate owner, so you will not be allowed to go away with goods from one section to browse in another. Make you purchase and move on or compare and come back to buy. Overall, the Oriental Bazaar is a handy place to do some comparative shopping in one central location. The craftsmanship probably is not as good as in some high-end shops, but it is quite nice and the price justifies the purchases.

If you don’t have plenty of time to go around to find the best souvenir you look for, Oriental Bazaar is an easy one stop souvenir store in Tokyo which can provide you with the best-completed souvenirs. This is the city's most popular and largest souvenir/crafts store, selling products at reasonable prices. This store will also ship things home for you. Open Friday to Wednesday 10am to 7pm. For last-chance suit-of-armour purchases, you can go to the branch at Narita airport. The staff at both branches speak fluent English. The English-speaking staff are quite willing to wrap things up and have them posted for you. Oriental Bazaar is the place to go to when you want to return home bearing souvenirs of your trip to Japan. Oriental Bazaar will satisfy all the gift buying needs for your friends and family back home.

It's hard to miss the Oriental Bazaar - its grand red and green exterior welcomes you into a real temple to Japanese consumerism, with a facade that resembles a Shinto shrine. The Bazaar is housed in an instantly recognizable building with a faux-Chinese temple roof.

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NHK Studiopark

HarajukuNHK Studiopark, located in Shibuya, Harajuku, adjacent to Harajuku Station or JR Shibuya Station, is a part of NHK Broadcasting Center. It is close to Yoyogi Park and open to the public. NHK (Nippon Hosou Kyouka) means Japan Broadcasting Group or Corporation. It is a public TV of Japan just as The ABC in Australia and BBC in Great Britain.

NHK Studiopark gives visitors a chance to look behind the scenes of television broadcasting for a small entrance fee, 200 Yen. By paying that admission, visitors can look the production of a live programs on most days such as the popular morning drama, the historical taiga drama, and the kids program "Okaasan To Issho". The visitors can also watch the nationwide live broadcast of the talk program "Studiopark Kara Konnichiwa" from behind the scenes on weekdays from around 1pm.

NHK Studiopark hs attracted nearly a million visitors a year. Visitors are eager to visit this studiopark since it offers a tour of the recording studios where the visitors can see where some of Japan's favorite television is recorded. They might even be lucky enough to see some recording of drama or news.

Like all Japanese media there are some pretty cute and somewhat weird animated characters in the NHK line up including Domo-kun. He is the little brown creature with a mean looking mouth hatched from an egg and he lives underground with a wise old rabbit. He is one of the favorite s at the great gift shop at NHK Studiopark which stocks lots of TV themed T-Shirts and other Japanese novelties. Furthermore, there are attractions which introduce various broadcasting an 3D images, and illustrated information about popular programs of the past, NHK announcers and brodcasting histor. Finally, there is a shop where NHK related goods, tapes and books can be purchased.

The public is also treated to a mini studio theme park with quite a few attractions incluing chances for visitors to try their hand at announcing or even acting. Studio Q offers visitors to see the cutting edge broadcasting technologies used to deliver quality television and there is even a 3D high definition theatre which is well worth a visit. Open daily 10:00 to 18:00. Closed on the third Monday of each month, except in August and December and if the third Monday falls on a National Holiday, in which case the studiopark remains open on Monday but closed on Tuesday. Closed from December 25-31. For those who want to be in the studio audience of one of the sometimes whacky television shows you can make an advance booking with the centre.

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Yoyogi Koen

HarajukuThe largest Open to the public park in Tokyo (Akasaka Park and the Imperial Palace having partly restricted access). Yoyogi Park lies between the Meiji Shrine grounds and the NHK Broadcasting Center.

Contrarily to others like Ueno or Shinjuku Gyoen, it has a much more luxuriant flora, and is the only one really like a forest rather than a park or gardens since Yoyogi Park has variety of landscape and places to sit and enjoy your time. A popular place for "Lovers" to go.

Yoyogi Koen (Yoyogi Park, in Japanese, park is koen) a vast expanse of trees and grass, is one of Tokyo's largest and pleasant city parks, featuring wide lawns, ponds and forested areas. It is a great place for jogging, picnicking and other outdoor activities. It is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, located adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine not far from Shibuya. Approximately 3-5 minute walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line. JR Harajuku Station is on the Yamanote Line which makes Yoyogi Park easy to reach from most parts of Tokyo. It is next to Meiji Shrine, so as a photographer you can easily make it a day at these very different (but close) areas. but, there are no pathways between the two as the forest there is a bird sanctuary. So, you must walk past the entrance to Meiji Shrine to actually enter the park.

Although Yoyogi Park has relatively few cherry trees compared to oter sites in Tokyo, it makes a niceh cherry blossom viewing spot in spring and in the fall it is a great place to see some really beautful ginko trees that turn golden. There are a reasonable number of cherry trees in Yoyogi so it is popular in the spring for blossom viewing. As well, the forests of Ginkgo and other deciduous trees make it popular in the fall for leaf viewing. There is a small rose garden near the south entrance to the park. Assuming the weather is nice (and sometimes even when it isn’t) there are plenty of people enjoying outdoor activites, sports, picnics, sunbathing, dancing or just relaxing. Furthermore, it is known for its ginko tree forest, which turns intensively golden in autumn.

Before becoming a city park in 1967, the area where Yoyogi Park is located today, was the site of the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan, on December 19, 1910, by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, following which it became an army parade ground. During the Second World War occupation, it was the site of an American housing complex called Washington Heights, residence for U.S. officers and US military personnel. Yoyogi Park served as the site of the olympic village for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the distinctive Olympic buildings designed by Kenzo Tange are still nearby. The stadium remains one of Tokyo's most impressive landmarks. Tokyo is bidding to again hold the Summer Olympics in 2016 and Yoyogi Park is once again an important part of the bid. Recently, Tokyo governor, Ishihara, has backed building a 100,000 seat olympic stadium in the park as part of Tokyo's bid.

Located in Harajuku, Yoyogi Park is one of Japan's most active sites of counter youth culture. For more than 20 years, it has been the place that young people to hang out on Sunday and dismiss Japan staid business culture as irreverent. In return, the police periodically sweep through and attempt to clean up the "antisocial" aspects of the park. The park is one of the largest in Tokyo when combined with the adjacent Meiji Shrine and while it may not be the prettiest it sure is one of the most vibrant and colorful. It is a western style park with wide lawns, bike paths, forests, ponds and fountains.

If you want to know what the Japanese do on a Sunday afternoon, then head off to Yoyogi Park. The whole of Tokyo seems to descend on this wonderful park. Families come for a picnic, unsigned pop bands play inpromptu gigs, theatre groups practise their latest plays and people just hang out letting the world go by! Everything seems to happen in this one place! When I went there a year ago, I felt like I saw the real Tokyo - seeing the Japanese at play.

Today, the park is a popular hangout, especially on Sundays, when it is used as a gathering place for people to play music, practice martial arts, etc. The park
has a bike path, and bicycle rentals are available. As a consequence of Japan's long recession, there are several large, but surprisingly quiet and orderly, homeless camps around the park's periphery. These are somewhat like the Hoovervilles during the Great Depression in the USA. Foreign visitors once marveled at the exhibitionist Japanese rock-n-rollers here when the road through the park was closed off on Sundays, but that's been stopped.

Not a lot about the place is unusual; it's just a good place to get away from it all for a while and perhaps take a nap on the grass. A nice fountain with changing patterns punctuates the middle of the park, and there's a bicycle path for kids that features free rental up to junior high school age. Yoyogi Park is also a popular spot for jogging. Early in the morning, you may encounter a practicing saxophonist or drummer. They can be sure the empty park, at least, won't tell them to keep quiet or move house.

Another interesting thing about Yoyogi Park is that all types of people gather here. If you come on a weekend you will see people playing sports, juggling, playing instruments, dancing and anything else that can be done outside. One of the more unique groups of people is the interest group that is all about the 50s (or maybe 60s). I am not sure if these people dress (and style their hair) like this all the time and are stuck in a time warp or if it is just a weekend activity but you really should take a minute to watch this short video of them dancing.

Where can you find dozens of Japanese Elvis doing the twist? Guys dressed up as school girls playing live music? A man in a Fred Flintstone-like costume doing the salsa? A family of dogs wearing sunglasses? A painter selling his art in order to support his family? Or an illustrator and fairy tale writer giving out free copies of his work in hopes that one day he can make a living out of his hobby? Yoyogi Park, of course! .

While bands and other entertainment are banned from the park that doesn't stop them from setting up on the corner between Harajuku Station and Yoyogi Park. As well, the corridor south of Yoyogi Park to the NHK buildings is usually bustling with bands and street theatre. Cosplaying is a major part of the park's culture and every Sunday groups descend on the park. In turn, photographers descend on them in equal numbers.

This naturally wooded park adjoins the Meiji Shrine, and until 1996 was the venue for Tokyo's amateur rock and roll bands to show their stuff every Sunday. They have since moved to Omotesando, and Yoyogi Park has become quiet, and ideal for lovers and families who like to enjoy a tranquil Sunday afternoon with each other on the grass and strolling by tranquil ponds filled with koi (Japanese carp). Rental bicycles are available within the grounds during summer for JPY500/hour.

Opening date
Land area
Number of trees
Variety of plants

Nearest station
20 October 1967
540,529 m2
Tall trees : 15,382 / Shrubs : 92,689 / Lawn : 200,689 m2
Sawara cypress, Zelkova trees, Himalayan cedars, osmanthus,
oleanders, azaleas, gingkos, cherry trees, pines, konara oaks, etc.
Yoyogi Kamisonocho/Jinnan 2-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
3min walk from Harajuku (JR line) or Yoyogi Koen (Chiyoda line),
6min walk from Yoyogi Hachiman (Odakyu line)

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Harajuku Station

HarajukuThe station of JR Harajuku is the principal entry of Harajuku nowadays. By using the line of JR Yamanote which functions circularly in the middle of Tokyo, you can easily reach Harajuku. As soon as you leave the station, you will see a crowd of the young people with the fashion of novel.

Harajuku Station is a station on the JR Yamanote Line located in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, adjacent to Yoyogi Park. The station was opened on October 30, 1906.

JR Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line is the obvious way to get to Harajuku. The station is very conveniently located next to both the entrance to Meiji Jingu and the beginning of Omotesando.
The station takes its name from the area on its eastern side, Harajuku.

The Chiyoda Line Meiji Jingumae Station is immediately adjacent Harajuku Station and is marked as an interchange on most route maps, although there is no physical connection between the two stations.

Harajuku is also the station used by the Imperial Train for journeys beginning and ending in Tokyo. To the east of the Yamanote line platform there is a separate platform for the Imperial train.

The station is composed of a single island platform . A provisional platform is located on the Western side of the station usable by rail travelling towards Shinjuku which is used when the principal events occur in the sector, particularly around the new year when many people visit the Meiji Shrine.

The bathrooms in Harajuku Station also act as mini dressing rooms for many teenagers and rebellious youths who express themselves through the outrageous fashions for which Harajuku is famous.

The main entrance is at the southern end of the station. A smaller entrance is in the center of the platform is convenient for Takeshita-dori, another famous sector in Harajuku. Takeshita-dori is a popular shopping street and the entrance of Takeshita-dori is often very crowd, creating a bottleneck at the weekends when a mass of tourists and people of the country arrive and leave Harajuku generally and the shopping areas in and around Takeshita-dori specifically.

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Takeshita Dori

HarajukuTakeshita Street (Takeshita dori) is no doubt identified as the principal place of Harajuku and Harajuku's main attraction. This symbol of Harajuku and birthplace of much of the mode of Japan tends is narrow, busy, pedestrian-only, a street of roughly 400 meters length striped by stores, shops, cafes and fast food restaurants which target market is the teenagers of Tokyo.

Once exiting the Harajuku station. Parallel and across the street you can find the Takeshita Dori. Filled with shops for Youth including Gothic supplies, Band Shirts, miscellaneous character items and idol goods popular among teens.

Here you can find some of Japan and mainly Tokyo's up and coming Gothic type of Teen Fashion. The stores on Takeshita Street include the principal chains such as the body shop, but the majority of the companies are the small independent stores which carry a choice of models. The stores on this street are often a bellwether for broader fads, and some are known as "antenna shops," which manufacturers seed with prototypes for test-marketing.

The street (alley is a better word, as no cars are allowed down this long narrow road) for the younger generation, used to be a quiet humble place about 20 years ago. But nowadays Takeshita Street was a reliable place to go and purchase fake Japanese and American street brand goods from the early nineties to 2004.

Since 2004, a stronger metropolitan government stance on counterfeit merchandise has led to a decrease of such items being available to the public. Placed directly through the exit of the station of JR Harajuku, Takeshita street is very popular for young teenagers, who usually visiting Tokyo for the School trip, or for local young people who want to buy small “nice” goods at the weekends.

This street is always crowded by many young people including the students of excursion school all over Japan. We can feel the bottomless positive power among the disorderliness when we walk by this Takeshita street. Harajuku is the powerful sector which has brought delivered huge amount of uniqe prevalence one after another while charming teenagers for the target. This area is a window shopper's paradise.

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Snoopy Town

HarajukuThis is a toy kiosk provided for Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang merchandise freak located directly across Harajuku Station. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang freak would absolutely fall in love with this toy kiosk at the first visit to this place. Snoopy Town sells all kinds of Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang stuff. This kiosk was opened on april 2nd, 1999.

This Harajuku Snoopy Town kiosk is the third kiosk in Tokyo, and the fifth kiosk in all over Japan. The theme of the store is a shool bus stop, a yellow American shool bus is put inside the kiosk. The kiosk is a branch of the popular Snoopy Town kiosk within the Hep Five shopping complex in Umeda.

If you want to go to this kiosk, you may take JR YAMANOTE-LINE, then take off at Harajuku station and exit by Omotesando-Guchi (Entrance of Omotesando). As soon as you exit the station, Snoopy Town kiosk is the first store your eyes would spot at. You would find the big Snoopy and his friends, you would never lose a way.

The main idea of the kiosk is so obvious, all merchandises are inspired from the characters of world-famous Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang comic strip and cartoon. The kiosk itself is enormous--the largest on its floor of the Hep Five shopping center--and carries too many miscellaneous items to list beyond its selection of clothing and other wearables. The kiosk is originally served kids needs of amusements, but you will still find an abundance of teenage girls, and even young adults looking for good gift ideas.

Harajuku Snoopy Town kiosk serves Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang merchandise you can’t find in Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America and Camp Snoopy in Knott’s Berry Farm. The kiosk provides baby clothes, bibs, children’s items, stationery, etc. There is also a housewares section in the kiosk which serves you Japanese style bowls, tea sets, and dinnerware, all emblazoned with adorable images of Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang. Also available car accessories such as cell phone holders and rear view mirror adornments.

Charles Schulz, the creator of Snoopy had created a dynamic and entertaining character who could assume a variety of identities. Detective Snoopy, World War I Flying Ace, Doctor Snoopy, and Legal Beagle all had outfits available. Overall, Harajuku Snoopy Town kiosk is the best kiosk in Tokyo for the Snoopy freak.

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Omotesando Hills

HarajukuOmotesando Hills (Omotesando hiruzu), Aoyama's newest landmark which was recently opened at 10:30 a.m. on February 11, 2006, a shopping complex along the avenue, has been attracting lots of attention with its intriguing interior design. It looks like a three-story building from the outside, but it's actually six levels once you're inside (three of them underground).

A convenient meeting spot and a good place to get in from the weather, it's filled with the same sort of upscale shops you'll find in the rest of Aoyama, but it also provides some surprisingly affordable eating and drinking spots. Omotesando has lured Tokyo’s fashion-lovers for years; now the boulevard has an added the new attraction.

It consists of upmarket shops, restaurants, cafes, and beauty salons. It is, the much anticipated opening day of Omotesando Hills, a sprawling, upscale Tokyo shopping development spanning the Harajuku and Aoyama neighborhoods and running along the historic tree-lined Omotesando Avenue, a famous shopping and (previously) residential road in Aoyama sometimes termed Tokyo's Champs-Élysées. It contains over 93 shops, cafes and restaurants reflect Japan's re-emerging interest in the high end as it perhaps starts to pull out of a decade-long economic slump. There are also 38 apartments are located at the top of the shopping complex. Omotesando Hills is a shopper’s wonderland. The most devoted fashionista can even live on site, in one of the development's 38 flats. Shops are open daily from 11:00am to 9:00pm and restaurants are open until midnight.

Newly opened, Omotesando Hills is the fresh, innovative core of Omotesando Boulevard from where the latest in Japanese fashion trends, arts and lifestyles are transmitted to an eager public. 'Media Ship', the media concept linking people, the city, and the world, attracts people of sophistication and discernment from around the world. The low-rise building profile is set at the level of the 'zelkova' trees along Omotesando, a bucolic approach reinforced by extensive use of rooftop gardens. Omotesando Hill's six-story atrium is enclosed by a spiral ramp that mirrors the slope of the boulevard outside, transforming the interior into a parallel avenue with its own fabulous array. It occupies a two hundred and fifty meter stretch of Omotesando. It features a central atrium and a gentle spiral slope, which is at the same grade as the street outside, Omotesando. The complex offers an interesting line-up of 93 shops, including a few from overseas that are making their debut in Japan.

Omotesando Hills a somewhat fancy shopping mall appealing to a completely different group of rich people. For the last five years or so, the once-stylish Harajuku neighborhood has been naturally gravitating from the 90s hidden hipster street-wear shops to enormous stores for European luxury brands. Slowly but surely, Japan is losing its status as a unique fashion enclave. It was built in 2005, in a series of Tokyo urban developments by Mori Building on the lot of the former-Dojunkai Aoyama apartments. Internationally renowned architect Tadao Ando designed the architecture. The place is designed in an upward slope. The halls, if stretched out of their zigzag shape, are the same length as the avenue outside. New Age music and sounds of waterfalls and birds are piped in, and what seems to be the shadows of trees graze the walls. A look down over the railing reveals a widening staircase that runs through the center of the sublevels.

Prior to the official opening on February 11 2006, the new complex as revealed to the media on February 2. On December 9 2005, Mori Building Co., Ltd. unveiled the construction site of "Omotesando Hills" to the media. The number of visitors to Omotesando Hills reached 10 million in a mere one year since its opening in February 2006. On average, the number of visitors is between 20,000 and 30,000 a day on weekdays while it is 40,000 - 50,000 on weekends and holidays. Annual sales also reached ¥1.65 billion (approx. US$ 135 million/€1.1 million), exceeding by approx. 10% the ¥1.5 billion (approx. US$ 123 million/€1 million) previously estimated.

hundred-yen stores (the Japanese equivalent of the dollar store) seem to occupy every corner of the world's most expensive city. Still, most are welcoming Omotesando Hills as the newest addition to Tokyo's long list of hot spots. And while the main draw this opening day seems not so much the shopping as the overall spectacle, Omotesando Hills is certainly poised to top the list of Tokyo's most avid and well-heeled shoppers. The independent, style-conscious urbanites who gravitate to Omotesando will find in Omotesando Hills a new benchmark. Omotesando Hills is a world away from urban Japan's bargain-hunting culture, wherek in creativity: the place to go for insights into the latest trends and the most up-to-date lifestyles. Omotesando Hills will bring additional refinement to tradition, authenticity, and quality by reinterpreting and revitalizing fashion, art, artisanship, and the traditional Japanese aesthetic of wa. The creative space formed through this approach will stand for the first expression of a new era in style. From the outside, the two-story structure, covered in 250 square metres of glass, offers no hint of what lies within. But step inside and you find yourself in a long, narrow building.

Omotesando Hills is one of Omotesando's latest forays into the world of luxury-eccentric architecture for retail shops (e.g. Herzog and de Meuron's Prada Building). It occupies a long stretch of Omotesando, partly obscured by trees, and with only a few retails shop on the outside. The repeating glass panels on the external facade aren't very exciting, though they are dressed up at night with a light display that emulates silhouettes of people's legs walking (video). There is also a small stream of water that flow adjacent to the building and flows along the slope of the street. One consequence of the sloped street is that the retail shops on the outside gradually climb up the facade of the building as you walk alongside. The building’s doublespeak-filled PR page says,“The spiral connecting slope will allow visitors to enjoy indoors the sensation of strolling outdoors.” They took away the natural light and replaced it with TV. They destroyed the real experience of strolling outdoors to provide an indoor “sensation.” They took away the trees and the ivy and replaced them with concrete. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. The use of natural hues and organic curves blends the man-made elements of the design into the soon-to-be leafy surroundings. The concrete modules form a gracefully lit grid, and the exterior - at first glance somewhat stark - will radiate vitality once the trees grow and the essential human element is added: people, enjoying the space and living their daily lives.

Ando connects the interior to the outside by echoing these external design elements: walking, slope, trees, and water. A odd speaker stick fills the mall with ambient water noises, flowing silhouettes of leaves are projected onto the floor, and images of stick-figure people walking adorn many of the walls. Slope is the connecting design of the interior in the form of continuously ascending ramps set around a thin triangular perimeter. The ramps create a series of convergence lines at the apex that are fun to photograph, though I must admit they aren't quite as impressive in person. A long stairway fills the apex of the triangle while escalators occupy the base. They, too, are fun to photograph. Nothing can change the fact that the interior is ultimately a mall. Retail shops line the outside perimeter, though there position is made slightly more difficult because of the continuous slope. Like Ando's CollezTadao Ando connects the interior to the outside by echoing these external design elements: walking, slope, trees, and water. A odd speaker stick fills the mall with ambient water noises, flowing silhouettes of leaves are projected onto the floor, and images of stick-figure people walking adorn many of the walls. Slope is the connecting design of the interior in theione down the street, Omotesando Hills has a difficult problem: it's hard to transcend the nature of a shopping complex, even if you throw water and trees at it.

Omotesando Hills is Tadao Ando most recently completed projects, and one of his largest commissions, a high-end shopping complex on Tokyo's boutique-lined street, Omotesando. It was built at a cost of $330 million, has been marked by controversy since it is replaced an old historical building. Regarding the construction, Ando said, "It's not Tadao Ando as an architect who has decided to rebuild and make shops, it was the owners themselves who wanted it to be new housing and to get some value with shops below. My task was how to do it in the best way.” It supplants the famous Aoyama Apartments, a landmark of early Japanese modernism, that were controversially destroyed before the new construction began. Ando has kept the shell of a portion of the original structure, erected in 1927 by Doujunkai, a governmental design bureau as the first public reinforced-concrete apartments in Japan. Ando has a deep understanding of architectural history, as well as a firm rootedness in his national culture, and I'm sure it is only with profound reluctance that he participated in the replacement of a local landmark with a luxury shopping mall.

Nearly eighty years have passed since the construction of the Aoyama Apartments in 1927. However, it became old and was disassembled in 2003 for redevelopment. The long-familiar apartments are now being redeveloped. The destruction of the apartments raised questions about Japan's unwillingness to preserve historic buildings. As a regenerated building, Omotesando Hills will reuse part of the existing facade. The new apartments designed by Tadao Ando will have an ingenious spiral slope enclosing an atrium. Dojunkai, which were constructed right after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 to provide accommodation for victims from the natural disaster. For recent years, the buildings had been functioning as a landmark of the fashionable Omotesando Ave., housing boutiques and galleries which make the most of the nostalgic atmosphere of the buildings. Although by the time of their demolition not many were occupied, they also housed shops in the facade opening onto the Omotesando thoroughfare. Unfortunately, all the character and charm of the previous site has been lost. One small fragment of the apartments remains at the East end of the complex.

Dojunkai, dilapidated flats were latterly the home of a ragtag selection of galleries and boutiques. Their Bauhaus-inspired, ivy-covered facades oozed charm, and their cracked and overgrown aura imbued Omotesando with a village feel that seemed resistant to the changes in the rest of the city. But charm is a rare commodity, and the space was approved for a redevelopment that includes 50 shops and 38 apartments. One would think that on a street that purports to be Tokyo’s Champs Elysees, the architect, Tadao Ando, could have created a green space that interacts with the neighborhood. Instead, he has built an unbroken opaque flat glass wall stretching down the entire road and up to the Zelkova treetops. The frontage is crossed by horizontal bands that step up inexpertly with the slope. This wall is capped by heavy concrete slabs holding dark, boxy apartments that weigh down upon the street and block out light. Perversely, the natural light that has been lost will be replaced by garish illuminated panels, creating what in effect will be a 250m-long television screen. The only respite from the wall is an angular notch that will lead to an inner spiral courtyard surrounded by shops.

“The Omotesando district has a proud history‚ and an important role of redevelopment is to carry that tradition forward‚” stresses Nobuo Arakawa‚ General Manager of Omotesando Hills Management Office‚ Mori Building Co.‚ Ltd., which carried out the Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments renovation‚ and has been involved in numerous largescale redevelopment projects throughout the Tokyo area. “Omotesando Hills is very much in line with the concept of ‘urban memory’ advocated by Mr. Ando,” says Arakawa. “We place a strong emphasis on maintaining the local culture and the way of life of the area’s residents. Many of Mori’s other redevelopment projects have been focused on creating new neighborhoods from the ground up. But I think the Omotesando Hills project has successfully demonstrated that a district can be revitalized in a way that fully preserves its original atmosphere.”

In spite of the fact that Omotesando Hills is indeed an entirely new facility‚ the new building has blended in with its surroundings ever since the scaffolding was removed. The building is certainly extensive. However‚ it is designed so that the roof lies below the tops of the zelkova trees lining the sidewalk in front. Rooftop gardens cover the residential portion of the new complex. These measures were perhaps necessary to preserve the “urban memory” of Omotesando‘s lush greenery‚ and they have been marvelously successful. One section of the Omotesando Hills complex houses the Dojun Wing‚ a faithful reproduction of a portion of the Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments as they were so many years ago. An art gallery that was once housed in the old Dojunkai complex has reopened its doors in the new Dojun Wing.

The concept behind the reconstruction of the historic Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments, a landmark on chic Omotesando Boulevard, was launching a Media Ship. Omotesando Hills, the media linking people, the city, and the world, brings the latest in fashion, the arts, and lifestyles and draws in people of sophistication and sensitivity from around the world. Mori Building invited world-renowned architect Tadao Ando to participate in the design of this structure, whose low-rise profile echoes the height of the zelkova trees along Omotesando,an approach reinforced by extensive use of rooftop gardens. Omotesando Hills thus keeps the memory of its historic site alive as it grows into a landmark for a new generation. Omotesando Hills carries on the nearly 80-year-old memories of visitors and residents‚ and is already adding new strands to the tapestry of urban memory. Some 20 or 30 years from now‚ Omotesando Hills will have become an even more integral part of the garden-like Omotesando district.

There are seven toilets at Omotesando Hills.

Multipurpose toilets
There are two multipurpose toilets equipped with handrails. these toilets can be used with the wheelchair.

Nursing Room
There is a nursing room at Omotesando Hills.

Diaper changing seat
There are two diaper changing seats at Omotesando Hills.

Coin lockers
There are coin lockers at Omotesando Hills.

There is one public phone at Omotesando Hills.The type is a telephone to accept both the telephone card and the coin.

Smoking area
Designated smoking areas have been provided. Please refrain from smoking while walking in the facilities or in areas other than those specified.

Cash service
There is one bank and ATM at Omotesando Hills.
Store Hours:Bank 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
ATM 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
TEL:0120-456-860 (toll free)

Bicycle parking
Open 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Parking fee Free parking
accommodates 71 bikes
Open Monday - Saturday 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Sunday 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Opening hours on Sundays in the middle day of three consecutive holidays are same as Monday - Saturday.
Parking fee 500/day
accommodates 35 motorcycles
Bicycle parking/Motorcycle parking

Open Monday - Saturday 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Sunday 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Opening hours on Sundays in the middle day of three consecutive holidays are same as Monday - Saturday.
Parking fee 350/30 min.(700/hr.)
Accommodates 182 cars
Parking Guide

Access by subway
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line Omotesando Station Exit A2, Two min on foot.
Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Meiji-Jingumae Station Exit 5, Three min on foot.

Access via the JR Line
JR Yamanote Line Harajuku Station Exit Meiji-Jingu, Seven min on foot.

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Meiji Shrine

HarajukuMeiji Shrine (????) is Tokyo's largest shrine, and one of Japan's three "Jingu"(Imperial shrine). This shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. In Shinto, it is not uncommon to enshrine the deified spirits of important personalities.

This perfect example of Shinto architecture--muted colors and spare lines—was completed then opened in 1920 to commemorate the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912. It was built by over 100,000 volunteers. It is located in a wooded park area next to Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, Tokyo. Various events and festivals are celebrated at the shrine throughout the year. Meiji Shrine located in Tokyo, Japan near Harajuku Station.

Meiji Shrine is adjacent to Yoyogi Park, smack in the heart of ultra-fashionable Tokyo. Aoyama, Omotesando, and Harajuku are a short walk away; Shibuya and Shinjuku are a couple of stops on the Yamanote Line. The shrine is is a short walk from Yoyogi Station on the Yamanote Line. The park contains the site of the 1964 Olympics. Kenzo Tange's Yoyogi National Stadium was built for those Games and is still a Tokyo landmark. Perhaps the most beautiful area is the Inner Garden (Jingu Nai-en), which in late June is filled with irises in full bloom. Farther in is the Treasure House, where the royal couple's clothes and personal things are kept.

It was designed by outstanding scholars such as Dr. Seiroku Honda, the father of afforestation in Japan. He and others had a 100- to 200-year vision that the forest would pass to future generations. The woodland must regenerate itself without human intervention. It was created as the first "eternal forest" in Japan, based on the most advanced practices of afforestation that Honda learned while studying in Germany. In spite of the common belief at the time that a shrine forest should consist of trees such as cedar and cypress, Honda chose broad-leafed evergreens like shii (chinquapin), kashi (evergreen oak) and kusu (camphor) for the primary trees.

The ultimate ideal of forest creation is natural regeneration using the conditions inherent in Tokyo. During the 80-some years since the launch of the original plan, the forest has grown more rapidly than Honda expected and has already begun to attain the appearance of a natural forest. It has been steadily growing into a state of perfection.

The shrine staff says in unison, "Rather than meddling with the forest, all we do is keep watch over the trees as they grow naturally on their own." That the forest, left to natural regeneration, has grown to this scale in just 80 years clearly shows that Japan is blessed with a rich natural environment and mild climate. However, it is certain that the biggest reason why this forest has remained and flourished is that the area is protected by the revered shrine, with every one of its trees considered sacred and venerable.

The main entrance to the shrine is close to Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) or Meiji Jingumae Station (Chiyoda subway line). You enter through an enormous wooden torii and proceed along a wide gravel walkway. After several minutes walk turn to the left and go through another torii - the largest wooden torii in Japan. To the left is a small park - admittance charged and not really worth it. (A surcharge is added while the irises are blooming in June / July whether in full bloom or nearing expiration!). Itnear the Asakusa district. It is a very serene place (that is when the tourists and school trips are not around: which means morning on weekdays), good for admiring nature, old architecture and peace of mind.

The shrine itself follows a type of Shinto shrine architecture dating back to the eight century of dignified simplicity with decorations limited to the absolute minimum. This is in stark contrast to the splendor and excessive decoration at the mausoleum of the first Tokugawa Shogun in Nikko. At Meiji Jingu most of the wood are unpainted, with a limited use of white paint and copper naturally turned green the only contrasting colors. The chrysanthemum crest of the imperial family is visible in several places including the square lanterns hanging from the eaves.

If you cut your shrine viewing teeth in Nikko or Kamakura, Meiji Jingu will come as a pleasant surprise - there are practically no stairs here. That said the walk from the entrance to the shrine itself takes a good 20 minutes or so. It is mostly gravel and can get a bit dusty on a busy day. It is also not suitable for narrow wheel strollers and wheelchairs although ones with thicker wheels seem to be OK.

The Original Meiji Shrine was burnt down in air raids then destroyed during WWII. The present shrine buildings was rebuilt from November 1958 with funds raised in a nationwide public subscription. In contrast to many other postwar reconstructions in Japan, the original plans were followed and the correct building materials, in this case mainly Japanese cypress, were used. It houses the "Yasakani no mgatama" (jewels), which is one of the three Imperial Regalia. On your visit do not miss the beautiful imperial carriage. Portraits of the Emperor and Empress done by the Italian, Edoardo Chiossone in the 1890s complement the collection. Surrounded by 72 hectares of shady trees and various Japanese flora of the Meiji Jingu Park, it is one of Japan's most sacred and picturesque shrines.

The shrine was built in a garden area where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken sometimes visited. Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan. He was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1868 at the peak of the Meiji Restauration when the power was switched from the feudal Tokugawa government to the emperor. During the Meiji Period, Japan modernized and westernized herself to join the world's major powers by the time Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912 and Empress Shoken in 1914. After their demise, people wished to commemorate their virtues and to venerate them forever, and so this shrine was constructed, and their souls were enshrined on November 1, 1920. The Imperial Treasury House annex exhibits mementos, including the coronation carriage, of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.

The reign of Emperor Meiji (1868-1912) saw Japan transformed from a medieval to a modern state. He devoted himself to increasing the prosperity and peace of the nation. As a result, Emperor Meiji was regarded as a truly great Emperor. He is credited with modernizing Japan to a level able to compete with the best in the world after almost three centuries of self-imposed isolation. Both the Emperor and his wife are enshrined here. He and Empress Shoken are not buried here, but near Kyoto. Meiji Shrine was established by a resolution of the Imperial Diet the year after the emperor's death to commemorate his role in ending the long isolation of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate and setting the country on the road to modernization.

The shrine grounds consist of three areas:

Naien, or the inner precinct/garden, centered on the shrine buildings, which include a treasure museum that houses articles of the Emperor and Empress enshrined here. The treasure museum is built in the Azekurazukuri style and is made up primarily of Japanese cypress from Kiso, which is considered the best lumber produced in Japan, together with Noritoden (where the words of praise the Emperor and Empress are recited)

Once scrubbed to the main courtyard which was surrounded on all sides by shrine buildings. If you wish to part with more money then this is the place to do it - all for the good of your spirituality of course! You can buy wooden plaques (good luck amulets) which have inscriptions on one side. The other side is left blank for you to write your hopes and wishes on. Once you have done this, the plaques are hung on a tree in the courtyard. Few of the plaques that had been written in English and French. Hopes ranged from passing exams, being cured of an illness, wanting a long and happy marriage, through to football fans wanted their team to win the premiership.

Visitors can also purchase their fortunes. To do this, you pick up a box of sticks and shake it until one falls out. The stick has a specific number written on it which you hand to the cashier. She then hands you the "omikuji" (fortune written on a roll of paper) which corresponds to your number. If the fortune is bad or you just don't like it, you should tie the "omikuji" on to the branch of a tree in the Meiju Jingu. This ensures the bad fortune stays within the shrine and doesn't follow you out.

Gaien, or the outer precinct/garden, which includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery that houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrative of the events in the lives of the Emperor and his consort. It also includes a variety of sports facilities, including the National Stadium, and is seen as the center of Japanese sports.

The inner gardens used to be part of the suburbs of Harajuku but during the Meiju period it came under the control of the Imperial household and was renamed the Yoyogi Imperial Gardens. It was often visited by Empress Shoken. There is a token entrance fee of 300 Yen but for this you get a useful map of the gardens and pathways. Within the Gyeon, there is a small Japanese teahouse, a lotus pond filled with Carp and an iris garden - all connected by winding paths that make you feel like you've stumbled into a secret garden. As a gift to the Empress, Emperor Meiju built the Iris Gardens. This is truly beautiful but I was a month early. They don't come into full bloom until June.

Meiji Memorial Hall, which was originally used for governmental meetings, including discussions surrounding the drafting of the Meiji Constitution in the late 19th century. Today it is used for Shinto weddings. In Shinto Weddings, usually all of the brides were in traditional dress, but we were told that some wear Western bridal dresses. It is located in the corner of the Outer Garden

Besides them there are also Shinko (the Treasure House), Shinsenjo (the Consecrated Kitchen for the preparation of the food offerings) and some office buildings. The materials are mainly plain Japanese cypress with copper plates for the roofs

These areas are covered by an evergreen forest of 120,000 trees of 365 different species (you quickly forget you are in the world's largest city in there) which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. This 700,000 square-meter (about 175 acres) forest is visited by many people both as a spiritual home of the people and as a recreation and relaxation area centre of Tokyo. The gardens offer a cool retreat for visitors. The gardens are a must for photographers and artists.

The shrine is very busy on Sundays and Thursdays when couples come to present their babies in a ceremony known as miya mairi.
The peaceful Inner Garden (Jingu Nai-en), where the irises are in full bloom in the latter half of June, is on the left as you walk in from the main gates, before you reach the shrine. Beyond the shrine is the Treasure House, a repository for the personal effects and clothes of Emperor and Empress Meiji -- perhaps of less interest to foreign visitors than to the Japanese.

The Meiji Shrine and its surrounding woodlands is a place for everyone to enjoy. On Saturday many parents dressed formally bringing their cute as a button young babies (also dressed formally) to be blessed. There was also a coach bringing a newly wed couple and their guests from out of town to snap some photos and to seek blessings at the shrine. Various events and festivals are celebrated at the Meiji shrine throughout the year. You’ll be lucky to be there when cultural troupes from the various shopping malls in Tokyo were in competition. The shrine courtyard became a swirl of riotous colours as the various troupes danced and sang in unison after months of practice.

An annual festival at the shrine takes place on November 3rd, Emperor Meiji's birthday, which is a national holiday, unless you like crowds, do not go to the shrine on November 3rd. As many as a million people will jam the shrine and park on these two days. On the festival day and at New Year's, as many as a million people come to offer prayers and pay their respects. Several other festivals and ceremonial events are held here throughout the year. Even on a normal weekend the shrine draws thousands of visitors, but this seldom disturbs its mood of quiet gravitas: the faster and more unpredictable the pace of modern life, the more respectable the Japanese seem to find the certainties of the Meiji era.

The huge torii (gates) are built from 1,700 year-old cypress trees from Taiwan. They are shaped like the Pi symbol and words can't convey the grandeur of them when you're standing beside them. It is on the way from the parking lot to the shrine, you enter through the tall gate, made out of Taiwanese cypress trees. The simple design: two pillars and two cross bars (the top one curved up) make up the traditional Shinto gate. Before entering a Shinto shrine (jinja) worshippers pass under the torii gate.

The torii symbolizes the perch made for the mythical cock that announced the dawn and brought the sun goddess Amaterasu from her cave. The two torii at the entrance to the grounds of the shrine rise 40 feet high the crosspieces are 56 feet long. Torii are meant to symbolize the separation of the everyday secular world from the spiritual world of the Shinto shrine. The buildings in the shrine complex, with their curving green copper roofs, are also made of cypress wood. Passing under the torii purifies the worshippers' hearts and minds before praying to the kami (gods or spirits). When you pass through (under), you are symbolically entering a sacred place and leaving behind the everyday.

As you enter the shrine area, you will notice to your left a hand washing station. This is where visitors stop and wash their hands in cold water using wooden ladles. This is done for purification purposes, although it seems to entertain a lot of the visitors. The shrine itself has a rustic feeling to it. You can go up to the altar, throw some coins into the slots in front of the altar, clap your hands twice and bow. Clapping is appropriate in Shinto shrines as it awakes the gods (though in Buddist temple it will most likely get you kicked out). You can purchase a variety of lucky charms here as well. Anything from "Luck in travel" to "Luck on an entrance examination" can be obtained for a little bit of yen.

After you've walked under the huge but utterly simple cedar torii at the entrance to Emperor Meiji's shrine, then down the gravel path as wide as a four-lane highway toward an even larger torii and the Inner Garden, you may begin to feel you've entered some sort of Shinto heaven. It's quiet except for the birdsong and the murmur of the streams. The air is so pure it could be bottled. Unlike adjacent Yoyogi Park, which has signs prohibiting this and that, there is no need to admonish visitors here. Everyone is aware they are in a special place, immaculately cared for. Visibly stunned, visitors walk more slowly than usual and converse in a low voice. Many come alone, just to be here by themselves. This isn't Tokyo.

Further up the path way, there’s a large display of what seem to be a white lanterns. There were over 150 of them, all brightly painted in greens, reds and black writing. These turned out to be barrels of Sake. As a mark of respect to the Emperor Meiju, ever Sake manufacturer in Japan donated a barrel to honour his memory. I was astonished to also find out these Sake barrels were all full. I'm not known for my cynicism but, you'd need a 24 hour guard on them if they were in a London park

Japan is bursting at the seams with shrines and temples. For the first-time visitor, deciding which one to visit is like trying to choose a chocolate from the box without having the content card to hand. Tokyo is known around the world as a supreme concrete jungle, but this magnificent Shinto Shrine is an oasis within the urban sprawl. Once you get to the shrine itself, be sure to clap your hands a couple times to invoke the attention of the gods.

The grounds are thickly wooded from more than 100,000 seedlings (flowering shrubs and trees) that had been sent from all over Japan, many of which were donated by private citizens. This "Way" sign guides visitors through the woods and to the shrine and famous gardens. The iris garden is considered the most beautiful in Tokyo. The Emperor frequently visited it.

The shrine itself is like no other in Japan. There is space and it is surrounded by abundant greenery. It is the repository of Emperor Meiji, who sent bright young men abroad to learn how to build railroads and universities and banks and a government. It is a holy place.No wonder, then, that Meiji Jingu is the sole location for a special ring-entering ceremony performed by a sumo wrestler after he has been promoted to the exalted rank of Grand Champion..

Many come to worship. The way that worshipers pray in different sects of Shinto vary, but the common etiquette to be observed when praying at a shrine is to bow twice, clap your hands twice, pray and then bow once more. Bowing is a way of showing trust to the gods. Shinto worship have three elements in common. It begins with the act of purification, which usually involves the use of water. There are fountains at the shrines where worshippers cleanse themselves by rinsing their hands and mouths. An offering is presented to the kami, today usually money, but often food; and in a prayer or petition is made.

Etiquette to be Observed When Praying at a Shrine.

1. See to it that you are dressed appropriately for the occasion. Pass under the torii and walk through the "sando" or approach to the shrine.

2. Go to the hand-washing stone basin and cleanse your hands thoroughly. With a dipper, pour water into your cupped hand and then bring the water to your mouth and gargle. Do not bring the dipper directly to your mouth.)

3. Advance before the god enshrined. Then throw some money (either paper currency or coins into the offertory box.)

4. Bow deeply two times.

5. After that, clap your hands twice.

6. Then make a deep bow once more.

COST: Shrine free, Inner Garden ¥500, Treasure House ¥500.
OPEN: Shrine daily sunrise-sunset; Inner Garden Mar.-Nov., daily 9-4; Treasure House daily 10-4; Closed 3rd Fri. of month.

Subway: Chiyoda subway line, Meiji-jingu-mae Station; JR Yamanote Line, Harajuku Station (Exit 2).

Few facts about Meiji Shrine:

* Located in Yoyogi, central west Tokyo.
* Present temple dates from 1920s.
* Next to 1964 Olympic complex.
* Beautiful, peaceful swath of green in the middle of the concrete jungle.
* The place to be on New Year's Day in Tokyo.
* Good place to stroll day or night.

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Best Information about Harajuku.


Harajuku Privacy Policy

Harajuku Privacy Statement

What follows is the Privacy Statement for all Harajuku websites (a.k.a. blogs) including all the websites run under the Harajuku domain.
Please read this statement regarding our blogs. If you have questions please ask us via our contact form.

Email Addresses

You may choose to add your email address to our contact list via the forms on our websites. We agree that we will never share you email with any third party and that we will remove your email at your request. We don’t currently send advertising via email, but in the future our email may contain advertisements and we may send dedicated email messages from our advertisers without revealing your email addresses to them. If you have any problem removing your email address please contact us via our contact form.

Ownership of Information

Harajuku is the sole owner of any information collected on our websites.

Comments/Message Boards

Most Harajuku websites contain comment sections (a.k.a. message boards). We do not actively monitor these comments and the information on them is for entertainment purposes only. If we are alerted to something we deem inappropriate in any way, we may delete it at our discretion. We use email validation on most of our message boards in order to reduce “comment spam.” These email addresses will not be shared with any third party.


Currently we assign cookies to our readers in order to save their preferences. This data is not shared with any third party. Accessing our websites is not dependent on accepting cookies and all major browsers allow you to disable cookies if you wish.

Third Party Cookies

Many of our advertisers use cookies in order to determine the number of times you have seen an advertisement. This is done to limit the number times you are shown the same advertisement. Harajuku does not have access to this data.

Traffic Reports

Our industry-standard traffic reporting records IP addresses, Internet service provider information, referrer strings, browser types and the date and time pages are loaded. We use this information in the aggregate only to provide traffic statistics to advertisers and to figure out which features and editorials are most popular.

Legal proceedings

We will make every effort to preserve user privacy but Harajuku may need to disclose information when required by law.

Business Transitions

If Harajuku is acquired by or merges with another firm, the assets of our websites, including personal information, will likely be transferred to the new firm.


Harajuku websites frequently link to other websites. We are not responsible for the content or business practices of these websites. When you leave our websites we encourage you to read the destination site’s privacy policy. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by Harajuku

Notification of Changes

When Harajuku makes changes to this privacy policy we will post those changes here.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding our privacy policy, please contact us.

If you require any more information or have any questions about our privacy policy, please feel free to contact us by email at nasibaru@gmail.com.

At Harajuku, the privacy of our visitors is of extreme importance to us. This privacy policy document outlines the types of personal information is received and collected by Harajuku and how it is used.

Log Files
Like many other Web sites, Harajuku makes use of log files. The information inside the log files includes internet protocol ( IP ) addresses, type of browser, Internet Service Provider ( ISP ), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the site, track user’s movement around the site, and gather demographic information. IP addresses, and other such information are not linked to any information that is personally identifiable.

Cookies and Web Beacons
Harajuku does use cookies to store information about visitors preferences, record user-specific information on which pages the user access or visit, customize Web page content based on visitors browser type or other information that the visitor sends via their browser.

Some of our advertising partners may use cookies and web beacons on our site. Our advertising partners include Google Adsense, Amazon, ETC.

These third-party ad servers or ad networks use technology to the advertisements and links that appear on Harajuku send directly to your browsers. They automatically receive your IP address when this occurs. Other technologies ( such as cookies, JavaScript, or Web Beacons ) may also be used by the third-party ad networks to measure the effectiveness of their advertisements and / or to personalize the advertising content that you see.

Harajuku has no access to or control over these cookies that are used by third-party advertisers.

You should consult the respective privacy policies of these third-party ad servers for more detailed information on their practices as well as for instructions about how to opt-out of certain practices. Harajuku's privacy policy does not apply to, and we cannot control the activities of, such other advertisers or web sites.

If you wish to disable cookies, you may do so through your individual browser options. More detailed information about cookie management with specific web browsers can be found at the browsers' respective websites.