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Tokyo (Harajuku) [Part II – More Shopping] October 6, 2009

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo, Travel.
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Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Tokyo (Harajuku) [Part II – More Shopping]” complete with pictures.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-gd

Urahara is an area located just after Takeshita Street.  If you start from the station, just walk straight down Takeshita Street until you reach the next big street.  Once you cross the street, you are in Urahara.  This area is well known for its hip hop fashion.  Here, you will find brands such as “A Bathing Ape”, “Stussy”, “Alife”, and so on.  You can find all of the cool and unique sneakers here as well.  For hip hop enthusiasts, you can spend several days exploring all of the streets, and still not finish finding everything you wanted.  For those who aren’t into hip hop fashion, it’s still a very interesting area to visit.  You can see various shops with interesting names, and many of the hip hop shops are extremely stylized.  The area isn’t as built up as other areas of Tokyo, so it feels more open.  Being lost in this area will also give you a chance to see some of Tokyo’s own graffiti culture.  You may even find some of the craziest buildings in Tokyo.

If hip hop and teen fashion isn’t something you wear, you can always head down Omotesando Road.  To find this road, head to the Meiji Jingu exit, and instead of going over the bridge to the shrine, head left and down the hill.  This street contains a lot of mid level fashion brands such as Zara and the Gap.  Once you are near the bottom of the hill, at the first main intersection after the station, you will be at La Foret.  This is a small department store that caters to women’s fashion.  It’s a popular meeting and resting point for people.  You can easily see people of all fashions waiting outside.  If you head north, you’ll be greeted by long lines of Japanese people waiting to enter H&M and Forever 21.  These two new shops are located next door to each other and are part of the “fast fashion” boom that started in 2008.  Heading a little farther east, instead, you will be greeted by Kiddy Land, a large toy shop that has almost everything you could ever want, and Oriental Bazaar, which sells “Japanese” goods.  It’s a tourist’s heaven.

If you walk a few buildings east of Kiddy Land, you’ll reach Omotesando.  Omotesando is an area that is located next to Harajuku, but for all intents and purposes, can easily be the same area.  This area is almost exactly the same as Ginza.  Here, you’ll find all of the expensive name brand shops.  Omotesando Hills is the anchor to this district.  Here, you’ll be able to walk in a nice air conditioned mall that spirals from the top floor to the basement.  If you don’t have a big wallet, it isn’t necessary to visit this place.  However, sometimes they have art exhibits, and the building itself was designed by the famous Japanese architect, Tadao Ando.

Harajuku is a wonderful place to spend at least a day.  If you love the fashion, even three days may not be enough.  There are so many small streets for shopping that you may never be able to cover everything.   As with any other area of Tokyo, it is changing constantly.  If you visit Harajuku one year, it will definitely be different the next year.  How different and if your favourite shop is still there, that’s something I could never answer.  The only down side is that you should visit soon if you want to see the goth lolitas of Japan, or else they may not be there next year.

The following links are all about Harajuku:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3006.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harajuku
http://wikitravel.org/en/Tokyo/Harajuku

This is Part II of a II part series.  To read more about Harajuku, please head over to Part I.

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

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Tokyo (Ginza – Part II) March 24, 2009

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo, Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Tokyo (Ginza – Part II)” complete with pictures.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-8a

Exploring the North-East section of Ginza is probably the better area in terms of shopping for high end goods, but for reasonably price goods, the South-West area is better.  The South area is filled with reasonably priced bars and restaurants, but they may not always be friendly to foreigners.  To experience the standing bar experience, many foreign people go to the 300 bar.  It’s a nice place, but very smoky and a minimum 2 drink buy.  I tend to avoid it, but when friends really want to go, I don’t always have a choice.  This area also has a few karaoke bars to have a little fun.  On Chuo-dori, you can head to Matsuzakaya which is a department store that caters to older women.  You will also run into Zara and the first H&M store in Japan.  You can also check out the “Lion” pub.  They have two locations on this side of Chuo-dori.  It’s a nice place that gives you a “European” feel, but to be honest, it isn’t worth it on a holiday, but if you want to go, it’s very popular for Japanese people.

The West area continues to Ginza tradition of expensive shops.  You will find many good, but expensive restaurants in this area.  Along Chuo-dori, the most notable shop is Uniqlo.  It’s a famous Japanese brand that promotes a simple, no brand style.  The clothes are very cheap and generally of good quality.  This shop also has a few Ginza exclusives to attract more people into the shop.  There are also a few specialty shops selling traditional Japanese items.  Along Harumi-dori, you will see Giorgio Armani and the Sony Building.  The Sony Building is very popular for tourists.  You will be able to see the latest gadgets that Sony has to offer.  They do sell most of the products and a few overseas models, but it’s just a fun place to play with all the cool toys.  Sometimes they even offer special exhibitions for art.  The basement has various goods within Plaza.  Plaza is Sony’s own convenience store that sells many foreign goods.  If you are also looking for cheap food in Ginza, going across the street to the Mosaic building, you’ll find reasonably price restaurants in the basement.

While Ginza is a wonderful place to look and shop, due to the price of the products, it’s more of a tourist area and for people with money.  If you continue south-west, you’ll reach Shinbashi, which has many cheap places to eat and drink.  Going north, you’ll reach Yurakucho, which offers cheaper shopping and a few electronic shops.  Due to the increase of tourists in the area, I am noticing less people heading to Ginza for shopping, but if you are out to see people, it’s a great way to see the stylish side of Tokyo.

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

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