My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: April 2, 2018
Harajuku practically pulses with energy, drawing teens and college students from all over Tokyo. They dress in their trendiest gear, fill up on sugary treats and shop with abandon. A dizzying array of trends start here; with an emphasis on "kawaii" or cute. Slip down the side streets when you need a break from the colorful crowds.
Served by the Yamanote Line, Harajuku Station was built in 1906 in mock Tudor style. While it may look out of place in Tokyo, the building is a popular symbol of the area. However, the station has become too small for the crowds that flock to the area, and is slated for redevelopment before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Take the South Exit for Meiji Jingu.
You'll feel a million miles away from the bustling city as you stroll beneath the giant wooden torii gate and through the forest. Dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife, the shrine boasts grand wooden structures and tranquil gardens. It becomes incredibly crowded at New Year when people come to wish for good fortune.
The entrance to this popular teen shopping street is marked by a colorful metal archway; though the throngs of colorfully dressed teens also give it away. Cheap and cheerful is the motto here, though some of the cosplay and Lolita fashion shops can get expensive.
Billing itself as a fashion theme park, the dramatic mirrored entrance is perfect for "selfies." There's a mix of American and local brands, homewares and craft shops, which draw a slightly older clientele. Escape to the top floor for a break at bills or the Omohara Forest roof garden on the sixth floor.