Exploring Shibuya & Harajuku

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Japan is a country filled with centuries upon centuries of history, stunning traditional shrines, and breathtaking natural wonders.

Oh, and many world-famous shopping hotspots as well! So guess where I went first?

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School Uniforms for sale in Harajuku

 

I’ve desperately wanted to go shopping in Tokyo for years, so attacking the various shopping districts was number one on my intinary!

Indeed, Takeshita Dori was bursting at the seams with fashion boutiques selling everything from gothic to ethnic clothing, as well a generous helping of girly accessorie shops and a handful of cosplay shops too.

Much to my delight I was able to track down a couple of stores specialising in lolita clothing by brands like Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Alice & the Pirates.

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One of several Lolita fashion shops in Harajuku

Lolita fashion has always fascinated me, and though I don’t wear it myself, and didn’t plan to buy anything for myself, it was fantastic to be able to walk around, basking in these beauty of these dreamy, ethereal pieces of clothing.

I was also pleased to find an adorable Sanrio store (the first of many during my time in Japan) and was able to kit myself out with an adorable Suica wallet and a spare hand towel from a little gift shop – two things I badly needed!

Harajuku is a gold-mine for acessories, and going for a fairly cheap price too!

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Hello Kitty Yukata at the Sanrio store!

Asides from my card-holder and towel I didn’t end up buying much from Harajuku, and was satisfied with simply exploring its bustling streets and colourful boutiques with my camera in hand.

But I did make sure to stop by for one important Harajuku tradition before I left; Harajuku’s legendary crepes!

Numerous crepe stalls are dotted over Harajuku and are world-famous, and for very good reason; these crepes are incredible!

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Enjoying a delicious Harajuku crepe!

They sell dozens of creative (and classic) flavours; from tuna-pizza to cheesecake or brownie flavour. I went for a banana and cream crepe with a little drizzle of chocolate source, and while I still maintain that the crepe stall in Cambridge makes the best crepes I’ve ever eaten, it was delicious, and certainly the prettiest crepe I’ve ever eaten!

 

Having completed this ritual I ventured on to Shibuya, which is literally right next to Harajuku.

Arriving at Hachiko Square via the metro system, I was immediately struck by the fact that the entire station exit had apparently been transformed in to one giant advertisement; for an exciting looking RPG game named Granblue Fantasy.

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Game advertisements in Shibuya

Similar advertisements were dotted literally all over Shibuya – and I mean literally; I totally lost count of how many I spotted over the next few hours.

I will give it to Japanese advertising, they know how to do a stellar job; I have no idea what this game is about, but after four hours in Shibuya I desperately want to play it!

Gaming pangs aside, Shibuya proved to be a really colourful area of Japan, with bright streamers marking the main streets, and a generous selection of western inspired clothes shops sitting grandly on lengthy shopping streets, with famous brands being advertised on huge, imposing neon screens on multi-story buildings.

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The world-famous Shibuya Crossing!

In addition to the famous retail metropolis Shibuya 109, and the small but cute It’s Demo with its selection of adorable pokemon cosmetics, I also found an amazing Disney Store!

I can’t vouch the Disney Stores in big countries like the US, but the Disney stores in Japan are simply incredible! I visited one both in Tokyo and in Kyoto, and they were absolutely jaw dropping.

To say the store itself was like something straight out of a Disney movie is no exaggeration! Featuring a winding fairytale staircase, illuminated walls and decor so grand in places it made you feel like Cinderella, it really was breathtakingly beautiful!

But as alluring as Shibuya’s assorted clothes and gift shops may be, it wasn’t long before my mind was dragged back to video games. Mainly by the discovery of an enormous games arcade. Easily the biggest gaming arcade I’ve ever seen in my life, but far from the biggest I would become acquainted with during my time in Japan.

I’ve heard of Japan’s legendary gaming arcades previously, and the real thing certainly didn’t disappoint! It was simply amazing and I think I may have fallen in love a bit.

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Games arcade in Shibuya

Stuffed to the rafters with UFO machines, Gachapons, and variety of shooters, rhythm games and other classics, it was also here that I first became aqainted with what would prove to be quite an addiction during my time in Japan; Taiko drumming games.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that it took my sometime to drag myself away from this gaming paradise, and arcades would go on to become major love affair of mine over the course of my holiday.

Eventually smoked out of the arcade by hunger, it was also in Shibuya that I stumbled upon my first ever Maid Cafe; Maidreamin’s Digitized Cafe, to be specific.

I won’t go say too much about this as I’ve already written about my trip to Maidreamin, but I will say that it was a fantastic experience and a super way to round off a busy day!

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Dinner at a Maid Cafe!

 

So what’s in store for me next in my travels? Please join me for part 2 of my Japan Adventure as I pay homage at the Ghibli Mueseum, and make some feathered friends along the way!

 

Have you ever visited Japan? If so what are your favourite spots to shop? Do let me know in the comments below!

 

If you enjoyed this post then you may also like:

Are Maid Cafes Sleazy ?

10 Things I’ve Learned From Solo Travel

Visiting The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4

A Little Slice of Moomin Valley: The Moomin Shop in Covent Garden

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