7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!

Geographically, Harajuku is said to be a district of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward stretching from Harajuku station to Omotesando, but actually it’s not on this planet at all, or even in the known universe! When you exit Harajuku station, you’re actually entering a portal to a dimension of miracles populated by a species of eternally youthful and beautiful, mostly female beings, variously known as Lolita Girls, the Queen of Kawai, and the Tyrant Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

This, then, is their world, where the dazzlingly garish and utterly impractical achieves its outer? zenith through seemingly hundreds of boutiques that line Takeshita Street or nestle in the multi-storey Laforet Mall. Even the food there is… well.. different. I’m not talking Klingon ‘blood pie’ different – avocado and shrimp sushi is about as weird as it gets? But many of the eateries definitely have that Harajuku quirkiness.

Now you might think that all this freaky teen eccentricity is expensive, which indeed it might be if you’ve arrived with a wad of cash and an impulsive nature, but to be fair, Harajuku is not as expensive as neighbouring Omotesando, and it does have many recycle clothes shops and ‘regular’ stores. Be that as it may, one should not be put off from visiting Harajuku for want of money; there’s plenty to do and see there that’ll cost you nothing but time.



 

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!

 

1. The Cartier-Bresson Moment

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!_harajuku bridge

Harajuku is the promised land for street photographers, especially on a Sunday when all the French maids, Bo Peeps and assorted punkette peacocks are out parading their outrageous teen? la mode. Whether in Yoyogi Park or on Harajuku bridge, more often than not, the pretty things will gladly pose for you! So, grab your camera and get shooting!

 

2. Taking in the Atmosphere

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!_harajuku station

It can take time to become acclimatised to planet Harujuku, so don’t think you have to keep on the move. Take a step back, lean against a convenient lamp post and just watch the herd as they pass you by. See the wide-eyed awe on the faces of other off-worlders, the bemused salarymen and the studied indifference of the Decora – there are few as rewarding places for just people watching.

 

3. Takeshita Dori

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!_takeshita dori

You’ll be glad you didn’t take any money when you find yourself wandering down Takeshita street, for how could you otherwise resist all that gaudy pop-culture that beckons from the trendy boutiques and unidentifiable bric-a-brac shops that line this most famous of fashion streets? But there’s no harm in looking… window shoppers are most welcome too!

 

4. Yoyogi Park

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!_Yoyogi Park

Now it might happen that all this sensory overload becomes too much for you and you’ll start longing for Earth again. Fortunately, nearby Yoyogi Park will help to ground you back to reality. It has real trees to hug too! And, I’m told, there are even yoga classes held there, with yoghurt and muesli refreshments!

 

5. Meiji Jingu

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!_Meiji Jingu

If you want to get back to that more traditional Japan you left behind at Harajuku station, why not make time for a spiritual sojourn around Meiji Jingu shrine? It is an oasis of peace and inner contemplation that will help you recover from the hubbub without. It’s especially lovely in the Autumn when the trees offer a breathtaking spectacle in reds and golds.

 

6. Witness a Traditional Japanese Wedding!

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!_Meiji Jingu wedding

Another nice thing about Meiji Jingu is that there are often traditional Shinto wedding ceremonies held there. The procession and costumes are truly a sight to behold. Tourists can take photographs, but from a respectful distance, so make sure you take that long lens, just in case!

 

7. Sell Your Soul

They say ‘you are what you wear’, don’t they? Though what that says about the denizens of planet Harajuku, I don’t know! But if you really were unable to arrive with money, you can always take some old clothes to sell at the recycle shops. Of course, they don’t accept any old items, designer labels will always be preferred. Who knows, you might make enough spare change to purchase something totally pointless.

 

Conclusion

I’m sure that adventurous souls will always find things to do that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Perhaps a place like Harajuku offers even more opportunities for cost free fun because it is so dense culturally. Photographers love the place for the reasons already given, yet there is also great beauty surrounding the area, including the amazing Tokyo night-time vista. It is certainly one of my very favourite locations, one that I’d heartily recommend to space cadets everywhere.

 

7 Ways to Enjoy Harajuku For Free!

1. The Cartier-Bresson Moment
2. Taking in the Atmosphere
3. Takeshita Dori
4. Yoyogi Park
5. Meiji Jingu
6. Witness a Traditional Japanese Wedding!
7. Sell Your Soul