Harajuku: Adventures in Wonderland

Tokyo

Harajuku (原宿) is a neighborhood that naturally brings out the young and young-at-heart to play. Themed cafés, vintage boutiques, and nostalgic novelties pop up on every street corner, so the energy is palpable and contagious. Just like in the books “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” it’s easy to get lost in another world—one that’s a little bit more colorful, and allows self-reinvention. Venture onto the side streets of Tokyo’s famous district, and find yourself in whimsical places that inspire the imagination. We’ve compiled a load of fun activities best enjoyed with your closest friends, so prepare to rekindle your inner child!

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Updated a year ago

Kiddy Land (Harajuku)

2 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Join the Sanrio, Doraemon, and Ghibli family at Kiddy Land! All your beloved childhood characters are here—from Peanuts, to Pokémon, to Disney, and more. Harajuku is where their flagship store rises to five floors, designed to stir even the timidest childlike heart. Cuddle with soft plushies or dine in style with a cute bento (弁当, Japanese-style packed lunch) box. Kiddy Land has everything you need to add a little more kawaii (かわいい, meaning “cute”) in your everyday life!

  • +81334093431
  • 6-1-9 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前6-1-9

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Alice on Wednesday

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Wander through wonderland at Alice on Wednesday. Inspired by the classic children’s book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the boutique offers “Drink Me” potions and “Eat Me” cookies to tempt shoppers on the first floor at the “White Queen’s Kitchen.” Watch the time drift by on “Melting Clocks” sold on the second floor at the “Court of the Red Queen.” The third and final floor is the “Atelier of the Mad Hatter” where you’ll find tote bags, stationery, and clothes on display.

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Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku

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Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Strange, cute, and colorful—that’s Harajuku culture at its best. At Kawaii Monster Cafe, it all comes to life. Larger-than-life rabbit and unicorn heads hover over the Milk Stand area. A merry-go-round cake invites diners to hop on and pose while waiting for their order. Sip on rainbow milkshakes, mix your own cocktails like a science experiment, or meet the "Monster Girls!" Kawaii Monster Cafe takes you into a brightly colored dream world where the quirkier it is, the better!

  • +81354136142
  • Fourth Floor, YM Square Bldg, 4-31-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区 神宮前4丁目31−10 YM スクエア 4F

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Cat Cafe MoCHA (Takeshita Dori)

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Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Wind down from the excitement of Kawaii Monster Cafe as you snuggle up with a few feline friends! Cat Cafe MoCHA is a haven for any cat lover. Their Takeshita Dori location takes inspiration from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” with a hallway that ushers people in through hovering books and shelves. While you’re here, pluck a manga from one of the bookcases and settle in beside a cat. There are two themed rooms to choose from: the Nameless Forest and the Queen’s White Rose Garden. The latter is a chic perch overlooking the bustling Takeshita street, but both have decorative trees for cats to play on. Much like the Cheshire Cat, they like to hang out in the branches!

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Hedgehog Cafe Harry (Harajuku)

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Ultra-cute hedgehogs take the spotlight at Hedgehog Cafe Harry! Despite the spikes, they’re actually some of the sweetest creatures. They fit snugly in the palm of your hand, and they might even doze off there for a few minutes! However, remember to ask for gloves if you’re uncomfortable with handling spiked animals. The attentive staff will gladly help you look after your new little friends. Each table is like a sandpit of your own to play with the curious critters. Feed the hedgehogs some mealworms (for a fee) or watch them interact with each other in the big glass enclosure.

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Owl Cafe Owl Village (Harajuku)

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Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Playing with an owl is quite an experience. At Owl Cafe Owl Village, a special room serves as the home of these majestic birds. There are several kinds here, from Barn Owls to an Indian Eagle Owl. Get up close as they perch upon your arm (don’t worry, you’ll be closely supervised!). Be mindful because their talons are sharp, but you’ll be fitted with a protective glove to ensure safety. The actual play time lasts about 35 minutes, then you’re escorted to the outer room for refreshments.

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Daiso (Harajuku)

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

When it comes to Harajuku hangouts, consider Takeshita Dori as the heart of it all. The narrow street is jam-packed with boutiques and arcades, so you won’t run out of things to do. That said, make Daiso your first stop! Daiso literally has everything, whether you’re actually looking for something useful or just a fun trinket. Go dizzy exploring through three floors of travel accessories, cosmetics, toys, snacks, homeware, and more! Stretching your budget is pretty easy here, as items are priced for a little less than an American dollar each. Daiso now has thousands of locations all over the world, but there are some products found only in Japan.

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プリクラSHOP NOA (Purikura Land Noa)

4 saves

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Gather your squad for a fun photo session at Purikura Land Noa, located right across Daiso. Purikura (プリクラ) or Purinto Kurabu (プリント倶楽部) are booths that print out your photos into strips of cute stickers. The best part is getting to add special effects on to each picture! Feel free to go crazy with the cute add-ons. After all, more is more! There are various themed booths to choose from, like Barbie or the 1980s. Do note, however, that men will need to be accompanied by their female friends. There were previous cases of random guys doing obscene and questionable things inside the photo booths, so they’ve been prohibited from Purikura arcades since then.

  • +81334017655
  • Basement First Floor, 1-17-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Marion Crepes

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Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Marion Crepe has been a quintessential snack shack on the street since 1976. As you trek through Takeshita Dori, you’ll see passersby of all ages with a rolled-up crepe and plastic spoon digging into delicious ice cream. Join in on the crepe craze and choose from over 50 combinations! Their bestsellers are the desserts served with sweet cream, fresh fruit, and ice cream. They wrap all of the ingredients in a hot-off-the-griddle crepe made from a secret batter recipe that’s all Marion Crepe’s own!

  • 1-6-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

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Laforet Harajuku

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Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

In Harajuku, dressing up to stand out is how to fit in! There’s a broad spectrum of styles represented on the street: Lolita, Decora, Hypebeast, Gothic, Rockabilly, and so many more unnamed. You’ll find most of these styles at Laforet Harajuku—a mecca to Tokyo’s expressive dressers. Laforet Harajuku stocks items from the frilliest Lolita frocks to fashion-forward street threads throughout 13 floors. They have everything you need for a true Harajuku makeover. MAC and Etude House share the space with local brands, while unique boutiques offer an alternative to the mainstream labels that everyone else wears.

  • +81334750411
  • 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前1丁目11−6

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Maison de Julietta

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Transform into a Sweet Lolita Girl at Maison de Julietta! The 1.5 Basement Level of Laforet is dedicated to romantic lace dresses, elegant corsets, and demure tights. They also offer a makeover service to its ladies-in-the-making, taking care of the ensemble from top to bottom. Petticoats, fluffed and ready for flaunting, hang on the racks to be plucked by today’s Cinderella—you! Slip on a pair of pastel pumps and the transformation is complete. Opt for a “Walking Plan” (お散歩プラン) to take a stroll around Harajuku in your newly minted threads. Cap off the experience with a photo shoot to capture and immortalize the magic.

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Dog

1 save

Tokyo, Japan • Recommendation • 

Those drawn to Dog’s clothing racks were born to stand out, with each piece boldly redesigned in outrageous ways. Descend a nondescript stairwell from the street and into their boutique. Chainmail accessories, studded leather jackets, and neon tulle are just some of the trendy pieces that pass through here. You pay a premium for threads no one else on Earth will have. Most of the items in Dog have been daring enough to draw colorful personalities—like Lady Gaga—to their roster of clientele!

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Opposites attract in Japan—ancient traditions fuse with advanced technology while minimalism meets kitsch

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