Nothing says fun quite like Takeshita Street — one of the busiest and brightest shopping streets in Tokyo.
Situated in the heart of Harajuku, it is made for window shopping. Cutesy clothes overflow from shopfronts and gaggles of school kids meet up to devour sweet street food. Hard to imagine? Take a virtual wander using this guide and see what piques your interest.
Takeshita Street: Why is it so popular?
In the 90s, Takeshita Street was the place to go for counterfeit American and Japanese brands, so it’s always had a colorful — yet fashionable — reputation. Well-known and featured in every guidebook, it’s the heart of all things trendy and “weird” in Tokyo. Although there are chain stores dotted around, the street is also filled with independent stores and smaller brands. This means there are a lot of options. Thanks to that, many of the smaller stores are used to see what trends will be popular, so you can often find it here first.
Shopping: The main attraction
If variety is the spice of life, then Takeshita Street is certainly flavorful! There are entire stores dedicated to gachapon (capsule toys), creative accessories, wacky popcorn handbags, and shoes that look impossible to walk in. But there are also some brilliant tiny shops that are very open to people browsing, so don’t feel intimidated if they look too trendy to enter.
Wonder where the Harajuku girls get their clothes? Probably in a bespoke store that stocks something memorable. Come here for extravagant, frilly, maid-style outfits (Lolita) or the abducted-by-alien-kittens look. Some of the best finds are in these shops and aren’t always expensive either. Wander down an alley and see what you find.
Some of our favorites:
- W C: For bright and playful outfits that are affordable.
- Boutique Takenoko: If over-the-top styles tickle your fancy, then this is the place for you. But be warned, no photos allowed.
- ACDC Rag: Crammed full with a real mix: Gothic Lolita to punk and everything in between.
Move over Shimokitazawa and Koenji, Harajuku is the grandfather of vintage shopping in Tokyo. Although Takeshita isn’t brimming with cheap, second-hand options, there is Panama Boy, which sells used and re-made clothing, as well as unique accessories for reasonable prices. Check out Chicago for similar vibes.
Department stores and brands
Daiso’s Harajuku store has many floors of glorious ¥100-joy. There’s an extra range of souvenir items including fans, gifts, and traditional toys — making it a great place to bulk-buy mini-gifts. And it’s also worth noting that Daiso’s skincare and make-up are actually pretty good.
One of the biggest department stores on the street is SoLaDo, which is good for variety (and aircon) and also has impressive sales throughout the year. Harajuku Alta has plenty of toys and sweets and Cute Cube follows suit with — you guessed it — cute themed cafes and snacks.
Other: Accessories and cosmetics
Every fashionista knows the value of accessorizing. So believe us when we say that Takeshita Street has every accessory in every style you could ever dream of. Glitzy earrings? Yes. Big, velvet hair bows? Yes. Spiky choker? Yes. A never-before-seen combination of all 3? Definitely. Prices range between different shops, but rest assured that you’ll find plenty of fashionable cheapo-friendly options for way under ¥1,000. There are also plenty of cute socks, like the ones you’ll find at Tabio and Happy Socks.
There are lots of smaller pop-up shops selling a range of Korean and Japanese cosmetics and skin care dotted throughout Takeshita Street.
Food: What can you eat on the street?
The food on Takeshita Street makes as much impact as the clothes. Make sure to check out our article on the best sweet things to eat in Harajuku for a detailed guide, but continue reading for a quick summary.
Sweets and snacks
Of course, Takeshita Street is most known for its crepes — with competing stands on every corner and every filling you can imagine; whether you want simple strawberries and cream or whole slices of cheesecake and brownies, there’s something for everyone (even savory options, but that’s no fun). Sweet Box is one of our favorites.
You can take your pick from rainbow cotton candy from Totti Candy Factory, spun from several colors, or unbelievably long spiraled potatoes at Long! Longer!! Longest!!! — both of which are delicious. For another savory escape, try some Korean-style cheese dogs at Gamaro GangJung, which — in true Takeshita style — can also be found in a rainbow-colored variation. For more sweets, head to candy store CANDY A GO GO!, which is featured in the Avril Lavigne music video “Hello Kitty!”.
If you want a break, we suggest heading to the quirky Christie café just down one of the side streets. Themed around the much-loved author Agatha Christie, the cafe has an intense British feel with a lot of dark wood and books. You can enjoy tea, cake, and sandwiches and hopefully some well-dressed patrons too. For something heartier, Chiles Mexican Grill around the corner is also a great place to grab some food and a break.
Photos: What is there to see?
Takeshita Street used to be famed for shoppers dressed in very elaborate, niche styles. There are sadly far fewer around these days, no thanks to the hoards of selfie sticks and people. There are still some willing characters who will happily pose for pictures (when asked politely) and your best bet of seeing them is on the weekend, particularly on Sundays. Nearby events may lead to an influx of a certain style, or you may see other visitors letting their hair down. Keep an eye out and be polite and you can probably pose with them too.
Purikura photo booths
Feeling inspired for your own photoshoot? If you’ve ever wondered what you would look like as an alien, this is your chance. Focused on the slightly concerning aspects of Japanese self-image, purikura are highly “beautified” photo stickers taken in enclosed booths. You may be surprised to find that your eyes get wider, your face narrows, and your skin whitens. Enjoy the suggested cute poses and then decorate the end product to your heart’s content with hearts, stickers, panda faces, and literally anything you could ever imagine.
The booths cost ¥500, and you can choose a variety of layouts — depending on how many people you have in the group. There are even tables with scissors to divide them before you go. If you’re dedicated, do what every good high school student does and make your own photo album.
Purikura Land Noa
What to do near Takeshita Street
Surrounded by plenty of popular spots in Tokyo, it’s easy to slot Takeshita Street into your itinerary. If you need some culture there’s the shrine Meiji-jingū across the road. Omotesandō is a great shopping area too if you didn’t find exactly what you were after in this part of Harajuku. It has a wealth of great architecture, and plenty of other things to do.
Still stuck? Have a look at our DIY walking tour that goes from Shibuya to Harajuku to Meiji-jingū.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. This post was first published in 2017 and is updated regularly. Last updated in March 2023.