Day 10: Harajuku to Shibuya
Day 10 is the first of many designated “shopping days”. Specifically, we were devoting the day to explore the span between and including Harajuku to Shibuya. We started from Takeshita Street, which was already full of people early in the morning. Passing by the Harajuku AKB48 shop which we did not have a booking for on this day, we continued on, stopping at whichever shoe or clothing shop that looked interesting. The shops lining Takeshitadori mostly comprised of clothing stores selling youngish fashion (as far as I could tell. Japanese fashion is generally crazy), cheap shoe stores, fast food, and cafes. Further in, we noticed intimidating men of (probably) African decent standing around, some holding menus of some sort and others with a drink in their hands. Upon further observation, we realized that they were touters for a particular “American” fashion clothing store whose strategy was to approach anyone who looks badass enough and lead them to the store. Next on the agenda for the otaku amongst us was the Evangelion shop which turned out to be located just off Takeshita street, in a separate alleyway shared with a sex store.
The Evangelion shop’s first floor was dedicated to Radio Eva merchandise while the second floor housed everything else and some overflow from the first floor. The price tags attached to most of the items left much to be desired, especially when I’m not an avid fan of the series. However, the variety of items was surprising. Some of the more unexpected include car mirrors, plushies, gloves and reading glasses. I purchased a mug for a friend and a glass cup for myself, but came away with more as the cashier threw in a can of Eva coffee for free.
We decided to give Sweets Paradise and Harajuku Crepes a miss as we were not hungry yet and would return to Harajuku at a later date for our booking with the AKB48 store. Shibuya was only 15mins away by foot and its shopping area was much bigger so we started off in that direction. Fortunately, the route we picked was not devoid of shops and we found a Uniqlo to browse and purchase much needed clothing from.
It was not long before we arrived at the fabled crossing at Shibuya. The mayhem that occured everytime the pedestrian lights turned green went on as usual while we stood to the side and worked out a route through the area.
We gave up after realizing that none of us had any idea about this popular young female-oriented fashion district and so I suggested having a look in Shibuya 109 and the various Lumine shopping malls, as per Itano Tomomi’s recommendation.
Shibuya 109 is a daunting place to shop in. It was full of well-dressed women browsing at every single store. Some would even take a bit of time to stare and scoff at the dirty gaijin invading their sacred shopping ground. However, since this mall’s target market consists mainly of teenage girls, goods tended to be reasonably priced but some of the indie brands had extremely…bold…designs. If you’re a young girl with lots of money and the courage to wear outrageous clothes, Shibuya 109 is a must.
The various versions of Lumine caters to slightly different budgets, all of which are higher than average. Although much classier than Shibuya 109, the pricetags were too scary to look at and we did not stay long.
The rest of the afternoon was spent lost in Shibuya walking off in the wrong direction where there was nothing to see. We had dinner at Lotteria, an up-class fast food chain, and returned to the hotel that evening. The yearly Kouhaku Uta Gassen would be aired tonight and we were eager to relax in front of the TV and watch it.
Things learnt today:
- Try not to be too badass in Harajuku. A black dude might pick you up and take you to his store.
- Evangelion shop is fun. You might just find something you like even if you don’t care much for the series.
- Shibuya’s worth a visit but if you don’t have a party member who’s crazy for shopping, there’s no reason to stay too long. The experience would probably be much enhanced if you had a local take you around here.