cell phones (keitai 携帯) really that popular? What makes a Harajuku girl? Are those things on her
feet shoes? Come back from Tokyo knowing all the latest and greatest trends in arguably the most fashion-forward
city in the world. Below are the trendiest neighborhoods in Tokyo:
Booyah! You just hit
the trend-setting motherload. Shibuya is a district in Tokyo three stops from Shinjuku on the Yamanote line. This
area serves as a stomping ground for the trendiest, fashion-forward teenagers in the city. It's a cool
place for window shopping, people watching and snacking on some seriously weird (but awesome) food. Below are some
of Shibuya's unique highlights:
What's Tokyo without a huge
cylindrical mall for high school girls only?
This shopping mecca
with nine floors of girly Tokyo shopping silliness is a must see. The cylindrical tower that makes its presence
known isn't just a cool landmark to highlight the mall inside, it IS the mall. The property is owned by the
Tokyu Railroad Company, who coincidentally also own the very cool everything-store "Tokyu Hands". Anyway "109" can be
pronounced "To-kyu" (10, 9) in japanese so it's a clever way to let consumers know who runs the place. We recommend
taking the dizzying escalators to the 8th floor for some Cake or Omelette Rice at Ma Maison. This way you get to ride the escalator up and witness all the girly, romantic, silly,
and hot styles that make up this one-of-a-kind mall, and when you get those weird looks that you're just in there to freak
out high school girls or steal the company's ideas for your own american version of 109 you can
shrug your shoulders and point to the Ma Maison. Hey, you're a foreigner and this place was recommended for all you
know that's the best damn food in town!
In 2010, we were in Shibuya
and took some video for you:
When you exit Shibuya Station be sure to head for the "Hachiko"
exit. When you step out, you'll be at Shibuya Crossing, see the pic below:
Shibuya crossing is an intersection at the Hachiko exit in Shibuya station
and is sometimes credited with being the busiest intersection in the world. This famous crossing has been featured
in "Lost in Translation", " The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" and on the tv show "The Amazing Race" (Season
It doesn't seem that crowded when you're there, but maybe that's
because you're mesmerized by all those great video screens. Shibuya crossing is also home to the world's busiest Starbucks.
I've never been (because my local Starbucks is busy enough) but it has a great view of the crossing.
Anyway, the video below shows the ground view at Shibuya Crossing
and when he stops behind some people (to cross) he shows us the tall and red sign of Shibuya 109 to the left
and the Starbucks to the right.
Tokyo has exploded with dozens of themed restaurants, bars and
pubs like Alcatraz E.R., an izakaya (Japanese pub) that takes the theme of a hardened prison and takes a gruesome
look at its medical facilities.
When approaching the building it even looks a little suspect
from the outside...
and you have to put your hand through the bars to get
but once you get in it's a party, you can already hear
people laughing and having fun and for the fun of it, the servers wear skimpy outfits...
The entrées are appropriately served and themed with syringes and medical trays.
There's a floor show nightly where all the lights go out
and a convict escapes!
We had fun when we visited this Izakaya on Halloween, 2010,
check out our video below, one of us might have been a little tipsy. :-):
How to get there: See map from Shibuya
station below (directions to Shibuya station are at the bottom of this page). We got there by taking Dogenzaka slope
and passing by Pacman then making a right at the next street we could possibly make a right on.
One stop from Shibuya Station on the Yamanote
line, this home to Harajuku girls on Sundays is a bright spot of creativity in the sometimes robotic futuristic world
of Japan. The people here walk to the beat of their own drummer and they don't care who likes it. You can take
your J-pop, pocky-lovin', sorry-self somewhere else if that's what you were expecting. The teenagers that frequent this
area are the (non-violent) punks of Tokyo, the outcasts, the goths, the lolitas of Japan and it's the best place for a tourist to
NOT stick out like a sore thumb.
Leave the Harajuku Station and make a quick right and there you
are, Yoyogi Bridge. On a weekday, this area will look like any other boring bridge leading to a beautiful park.
On Sundays however the bridge is transformed into a sort of "stand & pose" runway for all sorts of unusually dressed models.
See pics below:
a great photo opportunity and they're happy to let you take their picture.
Most of the "models" are teenagers, although with its
increasing popularity those girls who've graduated high school (and have respectable jobs or go to college now) who
used to hang out at Yoyogi Bridge, will still hang out there. :-) It used be that they had to hide their Harajuku
outings from their parents, but recently some parents have taken to understanding this unique phenomenon and even let their
children wear clothes like these every day.
you're thinking about bringing souvenirs back from Tokyo this place has it all and cheap. 100 Yen is about $1, and just
like the 99cents only franchise in the U.S. it sells just about anything for a buck. Unlike the U.S., shopping at the
100Yen store in Tokyo is considered cool. No reason to hide your cart or hang your head in shame, this place rocks!
With 7 floors of bargains you're sure to find something for mom, dad and even acquaintances at a price you can live with.
Some gift/souvenir suggestions include: chopsticks, bento boxes,
miso soup bowls (with lids and w/o), cool snacks, japanese maps, japanese calligraphy sets, japanese tea pots, tea cups and
all sorts of cool stuff.