Harajuku: forget kawaii fashion, welcome to vintage heaven

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Tokyo is well known as a shopping paradise. With a large variety of shops and long opening hours, you have many hours of fun ahead. The plethora on offer can be overwhelming, and if you are not looking for the obvious, a little guidance is crucial. Let’s have a look at where to find great vintage shops in Harajuku!  

 

Behind Harajuku: ‘Ura Hara’ area

‘Once known as the Lolita heaven in the second half of the ’90s, Harajuku has evolved into a multi-faceted fashion destination. The main avenue of Harajuku – Omotesando – is famous for its high-end brands.
‘Ura’ means ‘behind’ or beyond’ in Japanese, and behind the glossy Harajuku windows, many smaller streets filled with boutique vintage shops await!

See my track (Google Map) >>

 

First stop: Harajuku street

Get off the Yamanote loop line at Harajuku Station, and make your way down the crowded Takeshita street.
You are headed towards Harajuku street, the edgy little sister of Takeshita street, famous headquarters of crepe shops and teenage fashion boutiques. At the end of Takeshita street, cross Meiji Dori and enter this small, quieter, vintage shop heaven.
Don’t forget to look up as shops may be on the upper floors!
To visit: BerBerJin, Laboratory Vintage or Furugiya Playback.

 

Second stop: Cat street, the hip spot

Kimono Shop

At the end of Harajuku street, turn right at the lights at Jingumae 2 chome intersection, and follow the narrow street until you find the Deus Ex Machina Tokyo shop. Stop here for a coffee break, and enjoy the great atmosphere of the shop filled bikes and art prints. After your break starts walking down the famed Cat street. There are many vintage shops all along the way, and you can explore the many small side streets that offer plenty of options.

If you are looking for vintage jeans, retro Ts and kimonos, CHICAGO is a chain of thrift shops that have great options. One of the main shops is located on the side of the Ralph Lauren Omotesando shop. 2nd Street Harajuku deserves a visit as well.

For traditional Japanese dress, Kimono Kabukis is a specialized boutique in the area, and you can also find second-hand kimonos at an outdoor booth on the corner of La Foret Harajuku department store on weekends.

For more affordable finds, Jumble store or Brand collect are large thrift shop chains with contemporary brands, both Japanese and International.

 

From Harajuku to Shibuya

Shibuya

Crossing Omotesando and entering the second part of Cat Street walking towards Shibuya, you will find the famous RagTag, specialising in high-end options. RagTag is great for finding the likes of Comme des Garçons, Y3 or Sacai, and many international couture brands. The 3rd floor is dedicated to bags and high-end accessories.

Stop by Candy Showtime where you can witness traditional hard candy making, with many different intricate designs, from traditional to popular manga characters.
Further down Cat street, the Flamingo shop will welcome you for more vintage goodies.

The end of Cat street will bring you to Shibuya where you can keep on shopping in the many department stores, or stop for a well-deserved lunch or dinner.

 

Hunting for vintage treasures in Harajuku

Come and follow the guide for a vintage shopping tour of Harajuku! Walk the hip neighborhood’s small streets and find that unique piece to take home.

 

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Mar. 2020 Kimono Shopping Tokyo


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