Experience the Homeland of Kawaii Culture at Cute Cube Harajuku!
Harajuku is the heart of youth culture in Tokyo. This area continually produces cutting-edge trends and is packed full of colorful, pop-inspired fashion, cosmetics, and sweets stores. In this article, we'll introduce CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU, a shopping center that circulates Harajuku's kawaii (cute) culture from its location on Takeshita Street, Harajuku's main street. Enjoy a uniquely Harajuku-style experience as you visit all the stores and cafes here!
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* This article was written in collaboration with CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU.
What Is CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU?
Shinjuku and Shibuya are known as the leading shopping and entertainment districts in Tokyo. Harajuku, located between the two, is a hugely popular shopping and hangout spot for young people who enjoy distinctive and original fashion styles. Spanning around 350 meters between Harajuku Station and Meiji Street, Takeshita Street is full of colorful, cutting-edge fashion stores. The street is always lively with people who come to enjoy all the exciting things Harajuku has to offer, including fun Instagram-worthy spots and trendy sweets and variety stores.
CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU, located on Takeshita Street, is jam-packed full of Harajuku's kawaii culture. With a distinctive exterior that looks like it was built from pink and white cubes, the concept of this shopping center is "to spread a kawaii culture that brings together and connects people, goods, and ideas."
Looking up at CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU's rooftop from Takeshita Street, you will see a sculpture called Colorful Rebellion "OCTOPUS" made by the leading kawaii culture artist, Sebastian Masuda. Covered in colorful balls and cubes, this sculpture embodies the unique spirit of the Harajuku area.
Inside CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU, you'll find a full lineup of Harajuku-style stores, including adorable sweets you won't be able to help but photograph, boutiques where you can shop for Japanese fashion, Japanese character goods stores, and more. This article will give you a run-down of some highlights at CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU.
CHICAGO | B1F
Among the many secondhand stores in Harajuku, one of the top recommendations is CHICAGO, which is located in the basement floor of CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU. You'll be amazed at the wide variety of reasonably priced items and secondhand clothes from America, Europe, and Japan filling up this vast store. There are 7 locations nationwide, and the Harajuku branch is its 4th shop. Their biggest asset is their extensive inventory of products, with a rough total of 100,000 items regularly in stock across all of their stores. In the shop front, they display the latest trends in Harajuku among Japan's youth. The shop can even be said to play a large role in new fashion trends!
One of the main draws of CHICAGO is the secondhand kimono and happi (traditional Japanese coat worn at festivals) that can be purchased here. They're particularly popular with tourists visiting from abroad, and they can go for as low as 1,000 yen! They also have clutches, tote bags, and geta (traditional wooden sandals) made with kimono fabric; all of the shop staff are skilled at fitting kimonos, so you can get some help coordinating a full kimono outfit before heading out to walk the streets of Harajuku.
The staff are also able to speak some English, and they even offer tax-free services. Stop by CHICAGO to discover clothes from around the world!
Croquant Chou ZakuZaku | 1F
Takeshita Street has a wealth of choices when it comes to street food, but Croquant Chou ZakuZaku is particularly popular. The delicious aroma of their freshly baked pastries displayed on their counter stops many a customer in their tracks. "Zaku-zaku" is Japanese onomatopoeia for a crispy, crunchy texture, and just like the name suggests, the texture of these pastries is their highlight.
The Croquant Chou ZakuZaku is the store's signature item (250 yen each, or four for 980 yen). Another feature of this store is their commitment to ensuring that each pastry is fresh. The Croquant Chou pastries are made in the in-store bakery and filled with custard cream made with milk from Hokkaido Prefecture only after the order has been placed. These pastries are baked with sugar and egg white-coated almonds for a super crunchy crust that pairs perfectly with the fresh, smooth texture of the custard cream. Another popular item is the ZakuZaku Soft Milk (450 yen). This soft-serve ice cream has the rich flavor of Hokkaido-sourced milk and is topped with an almond and Croquant crumb for a uniquely crunchy accent.
These sweets are the perfect snack to accompany you as you explore the streets of Harajuku. Don't forget to check out the limited-edition flavors, too! These are made with seasonal fruits or other special ingredients and change around once a month.
CANDY･A･GO･GO Harajuku Main Branch | 1F
If you're looking for some cute Harajuku sweets to buy as a souvenir, look no further than CANDY･A･GO･GO! A lot of the customers here love interacting with the friendly staff dressed in the store's adorable, Harajuku-style uniforms.
The colorful, pop-inspired interior is full to the brim with around 80-150 different types of candy that have been carefully selected from thousands of types from all over the world. The sweets sold here includes candies, gummies, chocolate, cookies, and more, which are sold by weight at 594 yen per 100 grams. You can buy candy starting from 20 grams, so you can also enjoy making a set of all your favorite sweets. There are so many types of colors, flavors, and fun designs to choose from, so you're sure to have a great time browsing all the fun and playful products displayed here. If you're not sure what to get, ask the staff for their recommendations! In addition to their regular lineup, there are often special sweets designed to celebrate seasonal events like Christmas and Valentine's Day, so there will always be something new to enjoy whenever you stop by.
Show this article to the staff to get 10% off your candy purchase!
(Only at CANDY･A･GO･GO Harajuku Main Branch / Applies to the price before tax / Offer available until December 31, 2020)
sanrio vivitix HARAJUKU | 1F
This is a teen-oriented store run by Sanrio, the company behind the world-famous character Hello Kitty, and features an overwhelming lineup of adorable characters. The selection of products here has been designed to target high schoolers and middle schoolers.
Particularly recommended among the items including stationery, clothes, accessories, and sweets, are the Harajuku-exclusive items. Designed to evoke Harajuku's famous take-out sweet stores that often attract long lines, these exclusive goods feature popular Sanrio characters wrapped in Harajuku's iconic crepes. These exclusive items are so popular that they sometimes sell out, so if you see them in store, don't miss your chance to pick one up!
Another popular product is the Car Light Keychain (600 yen plus tax) designed with a Sanrio character in the driver's seat. The fact that the headlights really light up is a fun touch! (Please note that products may sell out or be discontinued.)
There are translation devices in the store that can accommodate a number of languages, so even if you don't speak Japanese, you could try chatting to the staff about their recommendations.
LONG! LONGER!! LONGEST!!! | 1F
This shop is highly recommended for those looking to try out some foods with stunning visuals. Their takeout menu includes various items such as cheese toast and bubble tea, but they are best known for their lineup of foods and sweets that are the longest in Japan, perfectly represented by the shop name "LONG! LONGER!! LONGEST!!!" One of their most popular items is their Tornado Potato that comes in three sizes: Long (32cm, 500 yen), Longer (42cm, 650 yen), and Longest (52cm, 800 yen). You should order the size that best matches your preferences, but it's definitely worth catching a glimpse at the Longest size, which is truly the longest of its kind in Japan! Each one consists of a whole potato that is cut into a tornado shape using a special machine. They are deep fried just after an order is placed, which ensures an incredibly satisfying texture with a fluffy inside and crispy, freshly fried exterior. You can also enjoy them by sprinkling on your choice of three types of seasonings: BBQ, consommé, and butter & soy sauce.
The Harajuku Cheese Corn Dog (700 yen) is another popular item here. It's so popular that they've even sold a record of 2,000 of these in a single day! You'll have a fun time eating these corn dogs, which have a delightful crunchiness from the crouton-crusted exterior and a heap of gooey hot cheese stuffing inside. There's a sauce corner (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, chili) in the shop as well, which you can use at your own leisure to change up the flavors. The top sauce recommendation from the shop staff is a combination of chili and mayonnaise. This corn dog is so delicious that people keep coming back for it, so how about giving it a try if you're looking for a small bite to eat while roaming around the streets of Harajuku?
SPINNS | 2F
Harajuku is visited by many of Japan's fashion-forward youth for its plethora of clothing and accessory shops. If you want to learn about the latest trends in Harajuku, why not visit SPINNS, an apparel store that sells secondhand clothing? The store mostly stocks women's clothing, and with the concept of "Attitude Makes Style", they promote Harajuku's trending clothing, culture, and style while at the same time introducing their sense of style to the rest of Japan.
This shop mostly gets customers who are in their teens and early 20s, so they set their prices at a level that even students can afford. Even better, they're tax free! Some of their staff can speak foreign languages such as English, Chinese, and Korean, although they aren't present all the time. In addition to clothing, their lineup of products includes iPhone cases, accessories, and other trinkets, so you'll never get tired of shopping here. You'll always discover something new at SPINNS, so stop by to look for that item for you.
POMPOMPURIN Cafe | 2F
Japan has a plethora of cute characters, and there are even some adorable character cafes, too. The POMPOMPURIN Cafe based off the popular Sanrio character Pompompurin is located on the 2nd floor of CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU, and it's one of the character cafes you'll definitely want to take time to visit! You'll be stunned by the shop decor - from the sofa to the wallpaper and lights, everywhere you look, you'll see Pompompurin! Enjoy the adorable and unique atmosphere of this cafe!
The interior design is one thing, but you're probably wondering what the food and drinks are like. They have a varied menu with foods like curry rice and omurice (rice wrapped in an omelet), as well as sweets such as parfaits and pancakes. The drink menu also comes with many options, such as shakes and sodas!
(c)1996, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. S603021
One of their top dishes is the Harajuku-exclusive Pompompurin's Colorful Flower Curry (1,390 yen plus tax). This Instagram-worthy dish was designed with the trendy Harajuku streets in mind, and it's made without the use of any food coloring. The spinach and beet curry roux has a bit of a kick and an authentic flavor that's popular with customers. The quality of the dish is very high, and it looks super cute to boot, with colorful and vibrant flowers bobbing in the roux made out of vegetables like daikon radish and carrots, and a little mushroom hat. The most popular dessert here is the I'm Purin♩Pompompurin (600 yen plus tax), a smooth and moderately sweet custard pudding delivered in a cup with Pompompurin's face drawn on it. You can even eat his beret!
There are English and Chinese menus, so ordering for foreign tourists will be a cinch. The cafe is very popular, and lunchtime can get quite busy. If you want to spend a more relaxing time here, it's recommended to come past 5 pm as it's relatively less packed during these hours.
Harajuku Kawaiiya | 3F
Head to Harajuku Kawaiiya for a relaxing break from all your sightseeing. This spacious cafe serves a range of drinks including tea, coffee, and fruit juices.
A highlight of this cafe is its limited-time collaborations with a range of popular characters and brands. Later, a collaboration is planned between the cafe and popular anime, comic, and game chain store, Animate. These collaboration events are available only for a limited time, so the details will depend on when you visit. If you're looking to experience Japanese subculture, don't miss one of these events while you're in town!
SMART EXCHANGE Currency Exchange | B1F
There's a currency exchange here that operates from 10 am to 9 pm, so you won't have to worry about running out of cash while shopping. The machine accepts 12 foreign currencies (USD, EUR, CNY, TWD, HKD, KRW, GBP, SGD, AUD, THB, MYR, IDR), and you can withdraw money in 60 seconds with no extra service charges applied. Check out this link for Q&A and more information on how to use this service.
You can get even better rates by using this coupon QR code.
From delicious sweets to unique items, there are so many exciting things to enjoy at CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU. While you're exploring Harajuku, don't miss the chance to stop by for a cute, pop-cultural experience you won't find anywhere else!
CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU
The commercial facilities mentioned in this article are managed by Japan Retail Fund Investment Corporation (JRF).
JRF has been listed on the Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (securities code: 8953) since March 2002. It was the first investment firm in Japan to specifically target and invest in retail property assets.
As the largest J-REIT that specializes in retail properties, JRF strives to secure stable distributions for its unitholders and steady increases in the value of its property portfolio through selective acquisitions of prime retail properties.
For more information: https://www.jrf-reit.com/english/index.html
* This article was made for the purpose of promoting Japan Retail Fund Investment Corporation (JRF). It is not an invitation for investing in JRF’s securities or other financial instruments. Please make investment decisions at your own discretion and risk.
Asset Management Company: Mitsubishi Corp. -UBS Realty Inc.
(Financial Instruments Business Operators: Kanto Local Finance Bureau (FIBO) No. 403, Full Member of The Investment Trusts Association, Japan)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.