If you ask people what food comes to mind when you say “Harajuku,” crêpes will probably come up — no food is more synonymous with the teen mecca.
Pro tip: Go deeper into the colorful, wacky streets of Harajuku on a guided tour.
Filled with cream, sugar, custard, and strawberries, these portable snacks are a perfect complement to the buzzy, fluffy, cutesy, hormone-filled streets of this hyper, high-pitched neighborhood. Most of the crêperies are located on Takeshita Street, the main youth culture thoroughfare starting right outside Harajuku station, though there are some in surrounding streets as well.
Crêpes Harajuku style are made to order in front of you, with a thin, pale yellow, eggy batter quickly poured and cooked on a griddle, then expertly folded and filled with your topping of choice. The most popular is some variation of cream and fruit, but endless varieties exist, including savory wraps with things like tuna, pork cutlets, hot dogs, and curry. Some of the sweet ones have an entire slice of cake chucked in the mix! Crêpes start around 3-500 yen, with prices rising as you pile on the toppings.
Running in Harajuku since 1976, this shop has since gotten so popular that they have expanded nationwide, and even have locations in China. There are dozens to choose from, and this stand has the rep of loading up the fillings. Try the Ichigo Cheesecake Special: vanilla ice cream, strawberries, cheesecake, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream.
Address: 1-6-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Café Crêpe Angels Heart
Just across from Marion Crêpes is Angels Heart, an equally crowded establishment. They boast freshly made, piping hot crêpes, again with dozens of toppings choices. How about a caramel chocolate brownie filling, for 500 yen?
Address: 1-20-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Café Crêpe Harajuku (Strawberry House)
Uh-oh… do we have a battle? Café Crêpe Harajuku is claiming to be “the oldest crêpe shop in Harajuku since 1977.” However, since Marion claims to have started in 1976, perhaps they win, according to math. Not sure what’s happening there. Anyhoo, the shop, at the bottom of the La Foret building, is also apparently called “Strawberry House.” Their number one seller is the banana chocolate whipped cream crêpe, but the matcha ice cream and matcha cheesecake selection look good too for those who are matcha sweets-inclined.
Address: 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Santa Monica Crêpes
Another crêperie with an embarrassment of choice — over 100 — Santa Monica is styled to look a bit like a retro LA diner, but mostly just resembles the other shops on the block, with loads of pink, neon, and people lined up waiting for their crack in whipped cream form. A selling point of this particular shop is their “crêpe brûlée” line, with a crackled caramelized sugar coating on top of everything else. They also have tapioca (bubble) tea.
Address: 1-16-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
This leetle shop is more diminutive than most, but they still claim to serve over 100 varieties of crêpe out of their pocket location. Their website posits: “Crepes are a casual treat. Enjoy them anytime, anywhere.” Why not sample the adzuki bean, strawberry, and cream selection?
Address: 1-17-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Gluten free folks rejoice! This new crêperie boasts crêpes that are gluten-free, made from 100% domestic rice flour. Otherwise, they’re filled with all the usual goodies: chocolate, whipped cream, bananas, strawberries, ice cream, nuts, caramel… yep, it’s a gluten-less sugar dazed heaven.
Address: 1-15-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Yup, even 31 Flavors is getting into the action. Their Takeshita Street location has a line up of ice cream-fortified crêpes that are not sold at the BR down the block. Why not try the Custard Strawberry Banana Double Ice Cream Chocolate Whip? That is, if you can say it.
Address: Cute Cube 1F, 1-7-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Breizh Café Crêperie
For those hankering after something a little less fluffy and more earnest, Breizh Café Crêperie is only a few blocks away and serves up Brittany-style buckwheat crêpes filled with more traditionally French fillings, like crab, béchamel, and spinach, or caramelized apples, salted caramel with cinnamon, and crème fraîche.
Address: 3-5-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
There’s more to Harajuku than sweet eats, though. This guide to free things to do there will open up your itinerary (without opening up your wallet).