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Exploring "Cool Japan" in Tokyo

Shibuya 109 and Harajuku


(TMD Corporation)


109 building (TMD Corporation)

Shibuya is a fashion and entertainment district in Tokyo that is constantly producing new youth culture. Its symbol is the Shibuya 109 (ichi-maru-kyu in Japanese) building, located close to Shibuya Station. The building itself is unique in that almost all the shops inside cater to teens and young people, and Marukyu (the nickname of the building) has become a byword for youth fashion. On holidays, the building is so crowded that it's hard to walk. The fashion trends that begin here instantly spread across the country, making 109 a fashion hub for Japanese teens.


Inside 109 (TMD Corporation)

The young people who gather in Shibuya are very fashion-conscious, so the streets of this district have been the birthplace of many trends. Shibuya was the fashion hotspot for female university students some 20 years ago and the kogyaru fashion among teenage girls that emerged about 10 years ago. Kogyaru fashion has continued to evolve, and the words ganguro and yamamba have been coined to describe girls that wear platform sandals and have heavy suntans and bleached hair.


Takeshita Street

Harajuku, a short walk from Shibuya, is another hip district that has developed into something of a fashion town. While Harajuku as a whole has a more relaxed atmosphere than Shibuya, its Takeshita Street is a mecca for Japanese teens. This alley stretches for 400 meters from JR Harajuku Station to Meiji-dori, a main street. Crammed along both sides are numerous boutiques, used clothing stores, knick-knack shops, a big 100-yen shop, and cafes. Some shops sell their own original goods, and Takeshita Street has even become a destination for school field trips.


Ura Harajuku (PANA)

Not far from Takeshita Street is the local center of fashion, known as Ura Harajuku (Backstreet Harajuku). Street fashion rules here, and there are many shops that offer their own unique style, as well as some that appeal particularly to young men.

How to get there

Shibuya 109
Shibuya 109 is 1 minute's walk from Shibuya Station on the JR Yamanote Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line, Ginza Line, and Hanzomon Line.

Takeshita Street, Harajuku
Takeshita Street is 1 minute's walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line and Meiji-Jingumae Station on the Chiyoda Line.


Mamido's Burger, Shibuya
This shop offers sweets that look just like hamburgers. Instead of meat, they use chocolate mousse, and the ketchup has been replaced by raspberry sauce. All of the side dishes are also sweets. Give it a try!


Mamido's Burger


Mamido's burger with chocolate mooseSweet


French fries

(Mamido's Burger)



Takeshita Street, Harajuku – Crepes
There are always young people in this area eating crepes as they walk down the street. Some shops have 10 different varieties on the menu.


Kiddy Land, Takeshita Street
Kiddy Land is one of the most fun and famous toy stores in Tokyo. Most major toy brands and popular characters like Hello Kitty can be found here. The store is on Omotesando boulevard and is packed with everything from hi-tech electronic games to stuffed animals.

Where to stay

National Institution for Youth Education
This facility features both Western and Japanese-style rooms.