i just thought I would begin with a bit of a taste of the real iconic areas of Tokyo. The kinds of places we are all used to seeing in documentary clip packages to “define” modern Japan. Well Takeshita Doori is a street that all tourists and long term residents alike will pass through at some point in their lives and I would be hard pushed ever to describe it as a truly pleasant experience.

This is the shot that everyone ends up taking and also the reason for the traffic jam that greets you as you endeavor to make your way down the road.  So I implore you – please don’t attempt to take pictures – if you want one for posterity there are tons of them on the internet.  Ranting aside. this is an area that is always packed with foreign and Japanese tourists alike coming to get a taste of “youth” fashion.  The fashion in question is somewhat apparent in the shops that jostle the narrow thoroughfare but mostly discounted cheap clothes aimed squarely at tourists. Other than that you can find a couple of huge discount shops like the wonderful Daiso –

and a couple of vestibules of the old fashion that Takeshita Doori owes its fame to –

apart from that it is in the side streets of Takeshita Doori that are worth your time, including a lovely museum of Vivienne Westwood vintage among shops that sell clothes that Japanese kids are ACTUALLY wearing.  However for me, the real Harajuku lies beyond this introduction that greets you as you get off at JR Harajuku.  My advice is to head through this street as quickly as possible to get to La Foret and the bohemian streets closer to Omotesando.  Sorry if some of those locations are a bit unfamiliar but I will get round to covering them in due course.

Overall I would liken Takeshita Doori to Camden Market in London. Once famous for exemplifying the youth of the city but long sold out to tourism. Just try and get past it as quickly as possible and you will find yourself at the end in the heart of Harajuku.

Samuel

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