Spend a Day in Harajuku to Revel in Japan's Kawaii Pop Culture!

Many apparel and variety stores gather in Harajuku, a youth-centered, trendsetting part of Tokyo, offering all kinds of adorable, pop-inspired items. Even the food vendors here offer menus full of photogenic dishes. Omotesando, situated right next to Harajuku, is another area known for its plethora of clothing stores, cafes, and more, catering to people of all ages. These amazing shopping and gourmet areas together will allow you to enjoy everything cute and hip about Japan within a single day, so follow along as we take you on a stroll through Harajuku and Omotesando in this article!

POMPOMPURIN Café: Dive Into the World of Cute Characters

There are many shops in Harajuku for people to enjoy Japan's "kawaii" or cute culture, but one particular recommendation is POMPOMPURIN Café which is themed around the popular Sanrio character Pompompurin. Step inside and you'll be amazed by the elaborate decor, with everything from the sofas to the wallpaper and lighting having a Pompompurin motif, resulting in an incredibly relaxing and freeing space. The menu is extensive and beloved by fans of cute things. Their food selection consists of items like curry rice and omurice (rice wrapped in a fluffy omelet), while their dessert menu includes dishes such as parfaits and pancakes. As for drinks, you'll find items such as shakes and sodas on offer here.

(c)1996, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. S603021


We especially recommend the Pompompurin Colorful Flower Curry (1,390 yen plus tax). This incredibly photogenic dish has a secret: its pastel coloring, reminiscent of the urban streets of Harajuku, is actually achieved without using any artificial food dyes! It has a spinach and beet curry roux with a bit of a kick and an authentic flavor that even adults love. The bright and colorful flowers surrounding Pompompurin are made out of vegetables like radish and carrots, while the hat is made out of a mushroom, and even the flowers Pompompurin is holding are edible! Features like these, on top of the adorable look and overall high quality of the dish, are what makes this curry incredibly popular. As for desserts, their most popular item is the I Am Purin♩Pompompurin (600 yen plus tax). The custard pudding inside the adorable cup etched with the face of Pompompurin is delightfully smooth and not too sweet. One of the joys of this dish is getting to eat the chocolate beret!

POMPOMPURIN Café has English and Chinese menus, so tourists can easily drop by and make an order. However, they are so popular that they are almost always crowded, especially during lunch time. If you want to leisurely while away your time there, we suggest visiting after 5:00 pm, which is when the cafe will be relatively empty.

SPINNS: Transform Yourself Head-To-Toe in the Latest Harajuku Fashions

Since Harajuku is a prominent spot for the latest Japanese fashion trends, it's almost a must to shop for clothes while you're in the area. Within the commercial facility CUTE CUBE that faces Takeshita Street, Harajuku's main road, you'll find an apparel store that mainly stocks secondhand women's clothing. Known as SPINNS, this shop has a colorful interior that hides all kinds of secondhand items, including outers, tops, and pants, as well as the shop's original goods. It is mainly frequented by those in their teens to early 20s.

SPINNS does have some staff who can speak foreign languages like English, Chinese, and Korean, though they are not always present. Their bestsellers among the international crowd are T-shirts plastered with Japanese kanji characters or clothing from world-renowned sports brands. On top of having reasonable prices, they are a duty-free store.

In addition to clothing, their lineup of products includes iPhone cases, accessories, and other trinkets, so you will truly be able to create a complete head-to-toe outfit here. 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. You'll always discover something new at SPINNS, so stop by to look for that item for you!

CANDY・A・GO・GO Harajuku Main Branch: Make Souvenirs Out of Colorful Whimsical Candies

If you're looking for some Harajuku pop-inspired candies to bring home as souvenirs, head over to CANDY・A・GO・GO. The colorful interior stands out amongst the shops that line the ever-crowded Takeshita Street, drawing in throngs of customers and adding to the overall busyness of the street. At the front, you'll find staff dressed in cute outfits cheerfully welcoming customers in.

You'll find around 80-150 different types of candies carefully selected from thousands of kinds from all over the world lining the shelves of this store, including candies, gummies, chocolates, cookies, and more. They are sold by weight, with 100g costing 594 yen. You can buy candy starting from 20 grams, so you can also enjoy making a set of all your favorite sweets. With so many colors, flavors, and designs to choose from, you're sure to enjoy browsing through all the fun and playful sweets on offer here. In addition to their regular lineup, there are often special sweets designed to celebrate seasonal events like Christmas and Valentine's Day, so every visit is sure to be exciting and enjoyable.

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)

APEACH OMOTESANDO (KAKAO FRIENDS): A Relaxing Pink-themed Shop & Cafe

Take a break from your exploration by visiting APEACH OMOTESANDO. This cafe is themed around Apeach, one of the Kakao Friends characters created for the South Korean messaging app Kakao Talk. It is the only permanent and official Kakao Friends shop in Japan, and stocks various goods that you can't get anywhere else. Many of the more popular items sell out really quickly.

The first floor is full of pink Apeach goods such as accessories, cosmetics, and various trinkets. One particularly popular item is the Chibi Apeach Face Mini (850 yen plus tax, bottom right of the top picture), a pillowy soft cushion that's just the right size to bring home as a souvenir.

The second floor is home to a cafe where you can enjoy adorable drinks and sweets that fit Apeach's pink theme. Our recommendation is the Apeach Donut (420 yen plus tax). The donut itself comes from DUMBO Doughnuts and Coffee, a popular donut shop in Azabu-Juban, and is topped with framboise sauce, whipped cream, and meringue shaped to look like Apeach. It's the epitome of cute and will have you taking plenty of pictures. There's also the Apeach Frappe (620 yen plus tax, left), a refreshing frozen drink made with peach extract, yogurt, and milk. The topping for this frappe is bavarian cream mixed with peach jelly and designed to look like Apeach's face. All this said, the most popular drink is the Apeach Latte (550 yen plus tax, right), a not-too-sweet drink made with espresso, milk, and sweet pomegranate syrup.

APEACH OMOTESANDO's location on a small road just off Omotesando makes it the perfect place for leisurely and peacefully whiling away your day. Why not visit in-between your Harajuku or Omotesando explorations to revel in the adorableness of Apeach?

KIDDY LAND: A Character Goods Store with Amazing Variety

This shop is a must-visit if you're looking for Japanese character goods to take home as souvenirs. Some examples of items you can find here are those of popular characters from anime, manga, and game series such as Sanrio, Ghibli, and Super Mario; beloved local characters from all across Japan; and internationally renowned characters from foreign series like Star Wars and Marvel. Everything from children's toys to household wares, figurines, and other items adults would enjoy can be found in every floor of the building, from the basement floor all the way to the fourth floor. With a wide selection that caters to people of all ages, it is no wonder that it is always crowded with people.

Getting to see so many character goods in one place is a rare opportunity in not just Harajuku and Omotesando, but perhaps in all of Tokyo. KIDDY LAND is the perfect place to find items of characters you love, and you may even discover brand new characters to like. The Harajuku branch stocks items you can't get anywhere else as well as special goods for seasonal events like Halloween and Christmas, so make sure to check them out when you visit the store.

There are staff who can speak English and Chinese as well as translation devices on hand, so you can easily make your way through the store even if you can't speak Japanese. On top of being tax free, they have reasonable prices, making this shop a great place for convenient and inexpensive souvenir shopping.

A Brief Overview of the Commercial Facilities in This Article

About JRF

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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Kanto Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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About the author

Chisa Nishimura
I am from Kyoto and enjoy watching movies, reading books, going to art museums, and running.
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