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Takeshita Dori in Harajuku (2/7)
Takeshita Dori in Harajuku (3/7)
Takeshita Dori in Harajuku (4/7)
Meiji Jingu (5/7)
Meiji Jingu (6/7)
Omotesando (7/7)

IN A FEW WORDS

Contrasting traditional and modern Tokyo

DESCRIPTION

Harajuku is the name given to a district located in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo, but it is usually used to to refer to the area surrounding Harajuku Station on JR's Yamanote Line. It is very a popular and contrasting meeting point both for youngsters, who gather around the crowded streets on weekends displaying some of Japan's most extreme teenage fashion styles, and adults, who come to pay their respects at the Meiji Shrine or to enjoy relaxing family time at Yoyogui park.

Takeshita Dori

Free All Day

Takeshita Dori, or Takeshita Street, is a narrow pedestrian-only street located opposite to the Takeshita Exit of JR Harajuku Station. It is lined with small, colorful and independent fashion shops, cafes and fast food restaurants which are generally aimed at a teenage audience. Due to its popularity among young Tokyoites, Takeshita Dori is regarded as one of the birthplaces of local teenager fashion and some manufacturers even use the area for test-marketing clothing lines.

Takeshita Dori is usually packed up with young people, but it becomes especially crowded during afternoons and weekends since students are not at school. Visiting Harajuku during Sundays however can be particularly interesting, due to the amount of teenagers who engage in cosplay (costume playing) and dress up in peculiar costumes following urban sub-cultures or resembling comic characters.

Omotesando

Free All Day

Omotesando is a Japanese term used to describe a road leading to a shrine and, in this case, it's used to name the street leading to the Meiji Shrine. It's a wide avenue of about one kilometer long and lined with trees, which runs parallel to Takeshita Dori and extends into the Aoyama district. Tokyo's Omotesando is well known for housing a multitude of fashion flagship stores within a short distance of each other, making it a popular shopping area for wealthy costumers.

Meiji Jingu

Free Sunrise - Sunset

Meiji Jingu, or Meiji Shrine, is a shrine dedicated to the Meiji Emperor and one of Tokyo's most visited shrines. The Meiji Emperor was the first Emperor of modern Japan, after the feudal system was abolished in 1867 during a series of historical events known as "The Meiji Restoration". The shrine was originally built in 1920, 8 years after the Emperor's death, but was destroyed during the bombings of World War II. The present shrine is a reconstruction dating from 1958, which was built thanks to a public fund raising effort.

The Meiji Shrine is located in the middle of a 70 hectare deep forest, offering a peaceful atmosphere which heavily contrasts with the hustle and noise of modern Tokyo. The forest features more than 120.000 trees, which were donated from all parts of Japan when the shrine was constructed. The main sanctuary features several wooden gates and is located within a 10 minute walk from the main entrance, which is marked by a massive wooden Torii gate.

Since the Meiji Jingu is an active Shinto shrine it's not uncommon for visitors to presence traditional ceremonies or weddings, which usually take place during weekends near the main hall.

Yoyogi Park

Free 5:00 - 20:00

Yoyogi park is one of Tokyo's largest parks with an area of 54 hectares and it's located adjacent to the Meiji Jingu. It was established as a public park in 1967, after being used as the main athletes villa for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and previously housing the military residences for U.S. officers form 1945, during the allied occupation of Japan.

The park features wide lawns with picnic areas, several ponds, public sports fields and bike paths, making it a popular destination among Tokyo citizens for outdoor activities. Yoyogi is also known for its festive atmosphere which attracts all sorts of wannabe musicians, dancers and artists for practice sessions during weekends. On Sundays it's common to find gangs of rockabilly enthusiasts, who gather around the park's east entrance to dance to rock classics from the 50's.

HOW TO GET THERE

Harajuku Station
Yamanote Line Railpass

aroundMOVE AROUND

All of the attractions in the Harajuku area are located within a short walk from Harajuku Station, either from Takeshita Exit or Omotesando Exit.

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