The Tokyo district of Harajuku is known as a focal point for some of Japan’s most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles. And at its heart is Takeshita Dori, the perfect place to see Tokyo’s youth at play. This narrow street, little more than a lane, is lined with uber-trendy clothes shops interspersed with the kind of refreshment stops likely to appeal to its mainly teenage market.
The most eccentric and colourful fashions on show are those of the so-called ‘cosplay’ aficionados. Cosplay is short for costume play, in which fans of animė, manga etc. dress in the costumes of favourite characters. While this started as a practice for fan conventions and similar gatherings, today it has extended into life on the streets and the range of costumes widened.
As well as these costumes you’re likely to see Goth, punk and many other styles; often several are combined in the one outfit! And the shop windows of course display fashions in the same vein. I wasn’t surprised to read later that Lady Gaga apparently shops in at least one of these!
We squeezed ourselves into the crush of people walking along the street and wove our way between them. The shops here are mainly independent ones, clearly aimed at the young people who flock here to shop for cute accessories and the latest fashions. We are clearly not in the target market for these shops; but despite feeling a little out of place in this youthful crowd we had a fun time taking photos as we made our way slowly along the street. And a break for lunch at a cheerful café, where we managed to get a table by an upstairs window, gave us a great vantage point from which to watch the passing crowds.
So let’s go for a walk …
I hope you enjoyed this wander down one of Tokyo’s most colourful streets, shared for Becky’s Bright Squares.
I visited Tokyo in 2013