by Wiradhitya Nugraha - Date: 2007-04-26 - Word Count: 1408 Share This!

Harajuku, the common name for the area around Harajuku Station, between Shinjuku and Shibuya. Local landmarks include the headquarters of NHK, Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park.

It is a wild and crazy place best seen on a Sunday or any other holiday for that matter. It is located just 1 station north of Shibuya and some consider it to be the extion of Shibuya. You may be suprised to find teen dressing up in cosplay, anime, or other gothic type costumes right out side the station or street performers acting out for a little extra money. The area known as "Ura-Hara" (back streets of Harajuku) is a center of Japanese fashion for younger people, with brands such as Bathing ape and Undercover having shops in the area. Harajuku street style is promoted in Japanese and international publications such as Fruits. Harajuku offers a means as a city center to various other locations and is a must see.

Harajuku refers to the sector around the station of Harajuku in Tokyo, a station north to Shibuya on the Yamanote line. It is Japan's center of most extreme teenage cultures and mode, but also offers shopping spot for adults and historic sight.

The focal point of Harajuku's teenagers culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast food outlets geared towards the fashion and trend conscious teens.

Japanese are still great west trends consumers, so when you hang around the boutiques of Takeshita street in Harajuku you'll in big chance see many teenagers wearing mod clothes. Harajuku is a Vatican for artists, freedom spirits, and burgeoning fashion trends that provides a space of free expression from the conservative Japanese culture. But Japanese fashion has no doubt to make a one step further, dressing-up in costume is seen as a main idea of fashions, so no-one will bat an eyelid at a nice and beautiful girl wearing a plastic fried egg round her neck as a fashion statement.

One nice thing about Japanese and their Harajuku fashion, is that it's not a matter of shops and brands (like Gap) instructing what people wear, but teenagers instracting what the shops will start selling.

Nowadays there are many clothes and websites which sell harajuku fashion and lolita fashion, but the spirit of this japanese style has come up from teenagers not being in deeep confusion to customise and accessorise their own clothes, and to wear crazy outfits with a sense of humour to retaliate against social expectations of nice clothes, nice jobs, nice attitudes.

In order to feel the culture of the teenage at its more extreme, come to visit Harajuku on Sunday, when many young people meet around the station of Harajuku and engage in cosplay ("costume play"), dressed up in crazy costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, etc.

Stores, cafes and the restaurants for all ages are found along Omotesando, a broad, tree lined avenue, sometimes indicated under the name of Champions-Elysees of Tokyo. The hills of Omotesando, a recently opened complex of stores along the avenue, had attracted huge attention.

However, Harajuku is not only about teenage culture and shopping. Meiji Dori, one of the principal shrine of Tokyo, is located just at the west of the railway ways in a large green oasis divided with the Yoyogi Park, a roomy public park. Beautiful paintings of ukiyo-e are performed in the small Ota Memorial Museum of Art.

Harajuku is now internationally famous, that's why anyone wearing harajuku style being photographed as much as the London punks who hang out in Trafalgar Square in tartan trousers and mohicans, waiting get paid by tourists to pose for photos. And that's no problem? When you're a punk you have fewer job options because of the extremity of your dress code, and however you have to make money.

If you decided to harajuku style you are required to be full dedicated. It is only as serious as you expect it to be. You may prefer not having a regular job or attending school and be fully dedicated into the band scene, but essentially the look of harajuku style is based on clothes and make-up which can be removed as you want, so it is extremely ok if you want to be a part-time Harajuku girl Punks with mohicans and piercings have to be punk (to some degree) all the time, but teenagers who harajuku-style, no matter they are boys or girls can wear ordinary outfits then dress up harajuku-style at the weekend. Pure pop fashion, but achieve a lot of fun!

For Japanese youth culture "cool" and "nice" - Harajuku, northern Shibuya, is the number one central of mode, recreation, maniac, ridiculous and crazy "crib" to "chill out". Come on Sunday and you'll watch them all!

Anyone who makes it to Harajuku is in for a treat because the fashions are unbelievable. Like Camden in London, but a lot more weird. In 2001, believe it or not, the look was like the Amish folk in the Harrison Ford film 'Witness'. In 2002, the look was grunge for the boys and Lolita Goth (also known as Goth Lolita, GothLoli, Gosurori and Loli-Goth) for the girls.

Lolita fashion is a style of dress that originated in Japan. Lolita is inspired by the clothing of Victorian women and children. It often aims to imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls. Other influences include goth style, horror movies, the punk subculture and anime characters.

Harajuku burst the first time on the scene in 1964 - the Olympic year. The Olympic gymnasium and the village being located very close, the prospect for meeting someone famous in the street attracted many people attention. Today, the sector includes the Takshita Street, The Avenue of Meiji Dori and The Aavenue of Omotesando Dori.

The Takeshita Dori Street is opposite to Takeshita Dori Exit of Harajuku Station. Here, the stores sell the most extraordinary mixture of the goods reflecting the Japanese concepts of "nice", "cool and American" and "rebellious and British". In other words a strange mixture of Hello Kitty, hip-hop and infamous British punk. As for the customers? Well, any shape of fancy dress accepted.

Turn right at the bottom of Takshita Dori Street, walk along Avenue of Meiji Dori as far crossroads, then turn left into avenue of Omotesando Dori. Sunday, the avenue of Omotesando Dori is fulled with street performers. Look out for the resident Rockerbilly Band.

Timing is certainly amiss, but quiffs rise high. Thus as well as the two men in the costumes which lose the major part of their day speaking with pink rabbits, it is certainly a curiosity. At the end of the avenue of Omotesando Dori, you will find Aoyama, an elegant sector full with the expensive stores and boutiques.

For however more street performance on sunday head up to Yoyogi park. It's near Harajuku station. The plaza of NHK broadcasting is across it. You'll be in Shibuya only five minutes walking over the plaza.

Harajuku became famous in the Eighties due to a great number of street performers and an extravagant dressed teenagers who crowded there on Sunday when Omotesando traffic was closed. This led to the vibrant "Hokoten Band Scene". This was stopped at the end of the Nineties and of the number of performers, visual Kei fans, rockabilly dancers and punks firmly decreased since.

Harajuku is as much a mythical entity as it is ground Zero for Tokyo street style; its mysterious borders blend with nearby, upmarket Aoyama and bustling Shibuya. Here, in its tangled back alleys, lives the New Japan where left-wing artistic types mix with fashion-conscious teenagers in one oxymoronic mélange of youth culture. Meanwhile, the beau monde fights for turf on Omotesando- a concrete catwalk and Tokyo's Champs Elysées-as creatives toil away in the quiet back streets of Aoyama and sports enthusiasts take in a game on the grounds of Meiji Jingu's Outer Gardens.

Today on Sunday one can see many Gothic Lolita also many foreign tourists taking photograph of them on the way to Meiji Srine. Some tourists are astonished to see so great exposure of the Japanese youth dressed in often shocking outfits. Close to the train station there is Meiji Shrine, which is a popular attraction of tourists, just like the Yoyogi Park.

Also close to the Takeshita Street, a street furnished with the shops of mode and the various goods, mostly for young teenagers, and Omotesando, a very long street with the coffees and the upscale mode boutiques, popular with residents and tourists.

Related Tags: fashion, harajuku, harajuku clothes, harajuku clothing, harajuku district, harajuku fashion, harajuku girl


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