One of my favourite things about Tokyo is the totally different vibes of each area. Harajuku, Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu might be right next to each other on the map, but they are worlds apart.
Our first destination for the day was Takeshita Dori in Harajuku, where all the cool kids shop. As you can probably imagine, this hub of teen style makes for some amazing people watching opportunities. At 400m long, it’s not a big street, and it’s usually packed with teens checking out (and creating) the latest trends, as well as the tourists who come to gawp at them.
The shops are mostly independent and pretty varied, with some offering clothes, others dedicated to particular genres of popular culture, past and present – including a tamagotchi shop which sold everything but actual tamagotchis. Bad news for Paul, who spent most of our time in Tokyo looking for one, but good news for me as I managed to buy a stuffed tamagotchi glasses holder for my step-dad (Kuchipatchi, I believe).
After grabbing lunch from a 7-Eleven, we headed down to…
…where we stuffed our faces in the sun.
The bridge outside Yoyogi Park is where cosplayers gather at the weekends to see and be seen, but they weren’t around on the Sunday that we visited. The weather was changeable that day, so perhaps they were put off.
Despite the lack of cosplay action, there was plenty going on in the park. A lot of people had gathered to practice dance routines or do photoshoots, as well as some people walking around with strange radio devices with huge aerials – we never figured the last one out.
Back by the entrance, we found the Tokyo Rockabilly Club jiving away to their boombox. It was strange to see people performing in public just for the joy of it, rather than for money. They were more than happy for people to stop and watch for a while, and even to take pictures. Check them out if you ever go, it’s fun.
Attached to Yoyogi Park, but with a separate entrance, is Meiji Jingu, one of the most popular sites in Tokyo for visitors. While we’d visited a couple of other shrines, this one was on a different scale, set in a 200 acre park.
There was a wedding taking place while we were there and it was lovely to see everyone dressed up in their finery, although it was somewhat ruined by some American twat deciding to jump around dancing on the steps while his friends filmed him. He was very politely moved on.
Given the number of visitors, this shrine was a lot less serene than the others we visited, but it was still a very interesting place to have a look around.
Have you been to Harajuku and had more luck seeing the cosplayers than us? Got a favourite Japanese subculture? Let me know in the comments!