Harajuku is vibrant for trendy teenagers, high fashion and tourists
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The style of the shrine is simplistic but with a graceful feel and a reminder of the hidden culture of Tokyo amidst the bustle of fashionable Harajuku. The enormous Torii gate is a reminder of your mortality because the splendor and strength that it signifies, clearly shows the frailty of this life.
Very close to Meiji Jingu is Yoyogi Park and it provides a spacious place to walk and sit down from time to time. In Yoyogi Park you will often see students who are training their lines and rehearsing openly and you have a vibrant feel of youthfulness. Yoyogi Park fits in well with the ambience of Harajuku and like the Meiji Jingu shrine it provides a place to escape and relax but without the religious feel of the shrine.
You will see lovers holding hands, people walking their dogs, students rehearsing, tourists relaxing and a host of other things, including many joggers and local people making the most of this splendid part of Tokyo.
However, for the young and trendy it is fashion which is the magnet for so many teenagers and young adults. Takeshita-dori is a very narrow street and full of fashion boutiques and places to sit down and drink. If you want to feel the energy of young Tokyoites and see fashion close up then this is the place to visit and the crowds seem to throng all day long.
True to the nature and vibrancy of Harajuku is the fashion scene itself because while the Takeshita-dori is thronging with youthful crowds it is clear that the backstreets of Omotesando and Omotesando Hills are very different.
Omotesando Hills is very exclusive and high fashion can be seen and again the age range and style of fashion is very different from the boutiques that can be found along the Takeshita-dori. In this part of Harajuku you are entering a different world because every major fashion company can be found and the walkway is very graceful and open.
If you visit the Meiji Jingu shrine first you have entered the rich culture of Japan and the spirit world of the gods of Shinto. However, after leaving this place and entering the vibrant Takeshita-dori then Tokyo becomes a beacon of youthful energy and modern fashion. Yet when leaving the Takeshita-dori and walking towards Omotesando Hills you have re-entered a different high culture, but this time it is the richness of high fashion and famous international and domestic fashion houses.
Yet true to the nature of Harajuku you have the back streets of Omotesando and this is where I come alive. For you have many small fashion companies and you have a reel unique feel about this part of Harajuku. However, the pace of life is slower and you can escape the madding crowds of the main fashion areas of this part of Tokyo.
Harajuku fashion is also unique and Harajuku girls take a pride in their unique fashion sense. The contrast of seeing a gothic Lolita girl near the Meiji Jingu shrine sums up Harajuku well because it is a mixture of the old world and the buzzing nature of teenage fashion.
If you are a first time visitor to Japan then Harajuku is well worth a visit because of the contrasts which are on offer. If you are a local Tokyoite and love fashion then Harajuku will already be famous and an “in place” to visit.
Whatever your reasons are for being in Tokyo it is abundantly clear that you can feel a nice youthful energy in Harajuku alongside a diverse area where you can relax and experience both culture and tranquil places to walk.