Living In Harajuku: What Is It Like For Foreigners?
Living In Harajuku: How Is It Like For Foreigners?Known worldwide as a center of Japanese youth culture, Harajuku is not only an area but also a haven for visitors who love fashion, food, and fun.
At the heart of its cozy and quiet residential areas lies a mindblowing district popular among both foreign and local visitors because of its fascinating cafes and classic boutiques.
Whether visiting Tokyo for shopping or sightseeing, Harajuku must surely be on your must-go-places list, and more exciting things that this mesmerizing place can offer are waiting for you to discover as you read further.
Harajuku - The home of Tokyo's diverse fashion and culture
As time unfolds, Harajuku paved the way not only for Japanese fashion but also for big international retailers such as Forever 21, H & M, Gap Inc., Topshop and American Eagle Outfitters, making its already attractive environment more inviting for tourists and residents.
- From Tokyo Station, take the Yamanote Line to Shimbashi Station, and transfer to the Ginza Line to Gaiemmae Station, travel on foot until you reach Harajuku (approx. 25 minutes)
- From Shibuya Station, take the Fukutoshin Line to Meiji-jingumae Station, travel on foot until you reach Harajuku (approx. 10 minutes)
- From Shinjuku Station, take the Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station (approx. 15 minutes)
Completed in 1920, Meiji Shrine has been a witness of Japan's compelling history for almost one hundred years. It is considered Tokyo's most famous Shinto Shrine which is marvelously serene and austere.
At the entrance to the 200-acre park is the 40-foot-high torii gate which is made of 1,500-year-old cypress. Meanwhile, at the cleansing station, visitors can dip into a communal water tank and purify their mouth and hands before they offer a prayer.
Dedicated to the deified spirits of the 19th-century Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoke, Meiji Shrine is a tranquil place of refuge that will let you escape from the sounds and sights of a busy city.
- Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo
- Directions: 4-minute walk from Harajuku Station
Considered as the undisputed heart and soul of kawaii culture and fashion, this bustling and full-of-life 400-meter street is the perfect place to experience different quirky fashion subcultures, taste various mouthwatering snacks, and shop for cute, colorful, and inexpensive items related to Harajuku's pop culture.
Although most of the businesses in Takeshita are small independent stores which carry a wide array of styles, it also includes major chains such as The Body Shop, 7-Eleven, and McDonald's.
Without a doubt, this Harajuku's busiest fashion street is a pedestrian paradise that will surely captivate the hearts and eyes of fashion enthusiasts.
- Address: 1 Chome-19 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Directions: 3-minute walk from Harajuku Station
Another alluring large park in the city of Tokyo, Yoyogi is famous for its wooded areas, open picnic grounds, jogging tracks, and ponds, not to mention its gingko tree forest which is stunningly beautiful as it turns golden in autumn.
Situated next to Meiji Shrine, this 134-acre park also has a modest number of Cherry trees compared to other places in Tokyo which makes it a scenic cherry blossom viewing (hanami) spot in spring.
Once a military parade ground, Yoyogi Park is now divided into two parts: one part is a forest park area while the other has a stadium and an outdoor stage for cultural events.
Upon visiting Yoyogi Park, you surely will realize that there are a lot more enjoyable things you surely cannot afford to miss.
- Address: 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Directions: From JR Harajuku Station Omotesando Exit: 1 min by foot to Harajuku gate From Tokyo Metro Yoyogi-Koen Station: 3 mins by foot to West gate
Why foreigners live in Harajuku
Center of Japan's "kawaii" fashion and culture
A trendy place for both alternative and mainstream fashionistas, Harajuku is widely regarded as "The Kawaii Holy Land."
Fashionable visitors are sandwiched in Takeshita street which holds countless popular boutique shops while Laforet serves as a central shopping mall where tourists can find the foremost fashion brands available in the area.
Kawaii, which in the context of Japan's popular culture means 'cute' has been the prominent style that makes Harajuku distinct from any other places in Tokyo and the entirety of Japan.
Close to Shibuya and Omotesando
It is no surprise that the liveliness and welcoming vibes of Harajuku entice visitors to make this small neighborhood in Tokyo their second home.
However, its proximity to other energetic and vibrant spots such as Omotesando and Shibuya just becomes another thrilling reason for anyone who explores Tokyo to make Harajuku on top of his/her bucket list.
Shibuya, a special ward in Tokyo, is approximately 20-minute walk away from Harajuku. By the fastest route, it can only take 5 minutes to arrive in Shibuya and approximately 15 minutes if traveling by the Fukutoshin Line.
Harajuku is also a 12-minute walk away from Omotesando, a high-end and fancy zelkova tree-lined shopping avenue. Travel time can be as short as 5 minutes by a vehicle.
Quiet residential area in the center of Tokyo
In spite the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, neon lights of Shibuya, and power suits of Aoyama, Harajuku is considered a place of quiet, slow, and laid back life.
The areas of Sendagaya and Jingumae are safe and peaceful residential neighborhoods at the heart of what is known to be the world's most populous metropolis.
Furthermore, residents also enjoy other benefits of living in a much more inclusive, LGBTQ-friendly, and diverse environment.
Harajuku is a unique Tokyo district which offers a perfect blend of busy youthful shopping streets and quiet residential areas. Furthermore, it has been recognized as the hub of ‘kawaii’ fashion and culture.
Meanwhile, being near to Omotesando and Shibuya and a home to several astonishing tourist spots, this small neighborhood has also enthralled many foreigners residents who take delight in the serene and peaceful vibes of its residences.
There are a million more reasons to live in Harajuku which you can attest to once you personally experience its magnificence.
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