Pull Out Your Cameras! Eat All of the Kawaii Foods at Harajuku & Omotesando
[Readers’ Discount Included!] There are many sights to see in Harajuku – the birthplace of everything wacky and cute – and Omotesando, which is one of the most amazing shopping districts around. Follow us on one of the best kawaii (cute) food and shopping tours in Japan, which will take you to both worldwide famous spots and hidden yet beloved locations. We promise that it’ll be an Instagram-worthy trip!
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*This article was written in collaboration with WOW! JAPAN Experience+.
J (right): Hey, look at this! Do you remember us taking this around a month ago?
T (left): Yeah, I do! We went on that amazing food and shopping tour, right? Visiting Harajuku and Omotesando for the first time, eating and buying lots of crazy and cute things, even making okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) for the first time...
J: We definitely learned and saw more than if we had just toured by ourselves. If I remember right, the tour went like this...
Meet Up @ Omotesando Apple Store
Address: 4-2-13, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Meeting Time: 10:30 am
You will gather at the Omotesando branch of Apple, which is the largest Apple store in Japan. We recommend arriving a little early to snap some photos. The tour will start at exactly 10:45 am, so don't be late! Upon arrival, look out for the sign below, which will be held by your tour guide.
Why Everyone Needs a Tour Guide
Since all of the tour guides are local Japanese people, not only will they be able to interpret for you, but they'll also be able to introduce you to spots that only locals would know.
Even better, while walking around and taking in the sights, you'll be able to learn more about different aspects of Japan - culture, history, cuisine, and so on - that you wouldn't be able to learn online or through a book.
Experience Niigata in Tokyo
J: I think our first stop was a Niigata antenna store. If I remember right, the prefecture is well-known for its summer festival and Murakami beef, which is rumored to be cheaper but more delicious than Kobe beef! But what's an "antenna store" again?
T: Our tour guide, Asami, said that they're stores that sell local specialties from the rest of Japan. So, the Niigata store that we visited sold products that you'd normally only be able to find in Niigata Prefecture.
J: That's right! She loved cute things and showed me this adorable bag shaped like a rice ball...
J: Remember when she picked up this gigantic bottle of sake (rice wine) that was a really cute pastel blue color?
T: Yeah. Asami was really gung-ho about it, saying that Niigata Prefecture was especially well-known for its high-quality rice. My family enjoyed it so much that they're saving some for a special occasion!
Revel in the Architecture
T: It's a picture of Omotesando Hills! It's a big shopping mall, right? I never really understood why it was so popular...
J: I can't believe you forgot! Our tour guide said that it was a huge apartment complex until it was renovated by a famous Japanese architect, so it's architecturally significant. You might not be a fan, but it's a paradise for architecture buffs like me!
Gawk at the World's Wackiest Clock
J: Remember when we came across that crazy clock? I still can't believe that it was a real clock! Each of the smaller clocks showed the time of a different city. We could see Hong Kong, Paris, Shanghai...
T: It was a huge mess of cute bits and bobs! How did they even put it together? Asami made a game out of it by asking us to spot our city's clock. I don't remember if I won...
Learn How to Flip Your Own Okonomiyaki!
J: Remember when our tour guide said that I had to pour your drink for you because I was younger than you?
T: At least she didn't make you pour from a certain height! I felt very chuffed.
T: Look at my amazing flipping skills! I'm so glad that Asami managed to take this picture. Without her, we wouldn't have been able to take as many amazing photos!
J: I still don't know how you did it. I would've made a big mess!
J: Now this is an amazing photo. I uploaded this on Instagram after we got back to our hotel and everyone loved it!
T: This was a really cool hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I don't think we would have found without our tour guide's help! It has an English menu, so let's go back next time to try out other dishes.
J: I remember us posing in front of all the wacky wall art after we finished our meal. Every Instagram picture looked like we were in a cartoon tropical forest!
The Most Popular Street in All of Japan
T: I think the highlight of our trip was visiting Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dori). According to our tour guide, it's actually Japan's most popular street! No trip to Tokyo would've been complete without one visit.
J: I actually still own those ridiculous glasses that we bought from that random sunglasses store. It's a big hit on comedy nights!
The Sweetest Crepes You'll Ever See
J: The best part about Takeshita Street was definitely the cute desserts. I had actually never eaten a crepe before then! It tasted delicious.
T: Did you know that the crepe picture actually got us a ton of likes on Instagram? People can't resist the cuteness!
J: It was really funny hearing Asami rant about how the crepe store we went to, Angels Heart, was actually the oldest crepe shop in Harajuku. She pulled out a bunch of facts, but I'm still not fully convinced...
T: She was raised in Tokyo. She definitely knows more than you and half the people on the Internet!
Chew on a Rainbow
J: Now this was the picture of the day. You with your rainbow cotton candy mustache!
T: Hey! It was a very delicious mustache. Each color had a different flavor, like purple tasting like grapes, and I enjoyed every bit of it!
T: These lollipops of animal and character heads weren't as popular, so we didn't know they existed... but they were adorable, weren't they?
J: I wish we bought more! We're so lucky that our tour guide introduced them to us... apparently, they're popular in Japan, but weren't as raved about overseas!
Complete Your Harajuku Initiation With Photo Sticker Booths!
T: It was my first time doing purikura (photo stickers), but I remember completely failing at doing all the cute poses that Asami said most Japanese high school girls do...
J: I guess we'll just have to go again to take better ones! In the meantime, let's keep practicing...
J: I'm still mad at you for giving me a mustache and googly eyes!
T: That was payback for taking that rainbow cotton candy mustache picture!
T: I didn't even think about doing purikura, so I'm glad that our tour guide brought it up. They make an excellent and adorable reminder of all the fun we had in Japan!
J: It helps that they're relatively cheap. I wish we could do it again!
Feel Small Underneath the Gigantic Laforet Harajuku
J: I still kind of regret just looking at Laforet from afar. It's one of Japan's largest shopping malls! Think of all the crazy shoes we could've bought!
T: We'll get to go another time. I really want a trendsetting, Japan-only piece, and I know that I can find it there! Maybe I can find cute one in pastel pink?
Savor Instagram-Worthy Sweets
J: Ah, it's a perfect shot of the desserts we ate! Props to our tour guide for taking this and ordering for us! Which one was your favorite?
T: Even now, I think my favorite was their hot matcha (green tea) drink. I really liked the flower marshmallow that blossomed when you put it in! It looked so cute that I had to take a picture!
T: I think I got a really good snap of the flower blooming. Don't you think so?
J: I think my favorite dessert was the fig and chocolate mousse cake. I was expecting something more mellow, but the fig really stood out and the chocolate mousse was extremely creamy!
J: I've heard lots of praise about Dominique Ansel Bakery from all over the world, but I wasn't really sure what to get. Luckily for us, our tour guide knew what would taste and look the best!
T: Next time, I want to try their frozen smores, cronuts, watermelon sandwiches... oh no, I think I'm getting hungry!
The Final Goodbye
J: Do you still have the little charm that Asami gave us as a farewell present?
T: Yeah, I do. I keep it in my bag since it's both a good luck charm and just a nice reminder of the tour! Plus, it has a ridiculously cute pattern.
T: We also had to sign a map that showed where we came from, right? How messy do you think the map is now?
J: Not sure, but it'd be a huge coincidence if someone I knew went on the tour and signed their name next to mine!
Thoughts on the Tour
T: This was a really fun tour that took us all around Harajuku and Omotesando. I feel like the reason why we got the right mix between amazing but hidden places and super famous areas was because of our tour guide, Asami. Not only did she interpret for us, but she taught us a lot of facts about each place and about Japan in general, so I felt like we learned a lot as well. Her friendly personality made the tour a real blast!
J: While we did need to walk, everything was quite close, so it wasn't anything streneous. In fact, after stuffing my belly with okonomiyaki, I needed the workout! Thanks to Asami, we got to look at and try out all of the cute foods that Harajuku and Omotesando had to offer. I'd love to do the tour again. I want to meet up with Asami again, and I'd also like to try out some more of her recommendations!
Book Your Tour Here! (With Coupon Code!)
Fee: 18,100 yen per person
Duration: 3 hours
*Accommodates both solo travelers and groups
*Babies, toddlers, and children get special rates. Please inquire with them when booking!
*Same-day bookings are possible
You can get 5% off if you enter the following coupon code in the payment screen:
*Only available for the first 30 sign-ups
*Can be used from March 30, 2018 - June 30, 2018
*Can be used for any experience on WOW! JAPAN Experience+
*Please note that the usual parting place is at Harajuku Station
*The order of the places shown in this article is different from the actual tour
Rather than going to all the usual tourist spots, why not get down with the locals and really explore Harajuku and Omotesando? Not only is this walking tour a fun and healthy way to learn about these areas, but alongside an actual Japanese person, you're sure to discover the wacky, crazy, and cute spirit that it offers!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.