Visiting Trendy Tokyo in Harajuku With Kids

What is a visit to Tokyo without an escapade to Harajuku, one of the quirkiest neighborhoods in Tokyo? And especially if you’re traveling to Tokyo with children, they’ll love it! Click this pin to discover how to visit Harajuku with kids + the best things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo. #harajuku #tokyo #tokyotravel #japan #travelwithchildren
What is a visit to Tokyo without an escapade to Harajuku, one of the quirkiest neighborhoods
in Tokyo? And especially if you’re traveling to Tokyo with children, they’ll love it! Click this pin
to discover how to visit Harajuku with kids + the best things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo.
#harajuku #tokyo #tokyotravel #japan #travelwithchildren

Thanks to Gwen Stefani, Harajuku became popularised in mainstream Western culture with her Harajuku Girls backup dancers.  Harajuku is a very trendy area in Tokyo which is located in the Shibuya ward.  It runs from Harajuku station right in front of the Meiji Shrine on the edge of Yoyogi Park through Omotesando and their little side streets, including the can’t miss Takeshita Street and Cat Street.  The area is known for both youth culture as well as seriously high-end international shopping.   Only in Japan can counter-culture and luxury culture mix so seamlessly.

We loved the area so much we spent several days roaming through the back streets and even attending the Harajuku Halloween Parade.   I’ve distilled our experience though into something that you can do in one day because you may only have one day for trendy Tokyo and Harajuku with kids in tow.

Here are some fun options that you and your kids will both enjoy:

Around Ometesando

The Japanese like to think of Ometesando as the Tokyo version of the Champs Elysses. There are a lot of international stores on this street as well as great architecture.  For example, check out the Prada flagship store which was built by a Swiss architectural firm to look like stacked glass blocks.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
The largest Prada store in Japan

The Gyre Mall is another cool building built by a Danish architectural firm where each floor is twisted so that it forms a spiral.  The stores inside also range from luxury such as the Chanel store to trendy concept fashion stores.  It’s also got one of the only two Museum of Modern Art Store outside of New York in the world.  In case, you’re wondering the other MoMA outpost is in Korea.  As I’ve mentioned before, my kids love the MoMA design stores for finding cool gifts.

With children though, the highlight of Gyre Mall has to be located in the basement.  There is a branch of that other New York favourite, Magnolia Bakery, with its scrumptious cakes.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku

The children’s store, Kiddy Land, is several floors of children’s delight. It’s got lots of stuff from the popular children’s Japanese characters such as Doraemon and Little Twin Stars.  We found some unique gifts for friends and cousins to take home.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
5 floors of cuteness

The Ometesando Hills shopping mall was designed by Japanese starchitect, Tadao Ando. It’s worth visiting even if you don’t shop in the luxury stores.  The design is built half-underground on a triangular spiral.  I know that makes no sense until you see it for yourself.  Sort of like the Guggenheim Museum, the building is a work of art in itself.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
Amazing architecture at Ometesando Hills

Around Cat Street

There are lots of cafes and stores on and off Cat Street which is a pedestrianised street.  For example, there is an entire store devoted to children’s North Face clothes.  I also loved the vintage clothes stores.  Its quite easy to find because Cat Street dead ends onto Omotesando street by the Gyre Mall.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
Vintage clothes with an added contemporary touch

The first side street that goes off Cat Street at the Omotesando end will take you to a fantastic gyoza restaurant, Gyoza Lou.  It only serves up fried or boiled dumplings but they are delicious!

The Roastery is a great coffee shop with plentiful outside seating where you can hang out and watch the street life.  Of course, while you are watching people, be prepared to have people watch you.  I saw a whole bunch of Japanese people giggling at my son and his friend making faces at each other and mucking around like kids do.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
trendy coffee store and people watching at The Roastery

Beauty & Youth United Arrows is a great Japanese store that stocks lesser-known international fashion. I also liked their range of homewares.

My kids absolutely loved Rainbow Spectrum. This store has got cheapish cool things sort of like the Danish stores, Tiger, but with a Japanese sensibility.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku

On a side street right behind Cat Street, you will find the Harajuku branch of R.a.a.g.f (the rabbit animal cafe we tried to visit).  The rabbits were absolutely adorable and the staff very apologetic when we tried to visit on a busy Sunday without an appointment.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
really fat and cute rabbits

The Choosy Cat Cafe right next door to R.a.a.g.f. was less friendly than we expected especially for the uber-polite Japanese culture.  With this sort of sign, I’d be afraid to knock on the door even if I didn’t have the children with me.  By the way, they don’t allow children aged under 13 in this cat cafe.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
You do not want to mess with these cat people.

Around Takeshita Street

Takeshita Street is pedestrianised as well.  The street is easy to find because it is pretty much across the street from the JR Harajuku station.  Be prepared for sensory overload as there is a lot happening.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku

Another place you can let your children buy random things without breaking the bank is Daiso which is a (mostly) 100 yen store.  My kids were delighted with the cutesy Japanese erasers and stickers they found.  No way can you get that sort of stuff in England or the USA for the equivalent of 50p.

We had lunch at Wolfgang Puck Express. Not very Japanese I know but the kids were angling for a burger.  Harajuku is also famous for its crepe stores of which there are plenty on the street.  They have plastic displays of each type of crepe variety that are startlingly realistic.

plastic crepes on display in Harajuku
How realistic do these look??

My daughter loved the Wego store. I mean woollen gloves with penguins on them – how could she be expected to live without them?  Of course, it meant we didn’t have to buy anything at the Hello Kitty store which is as pink and girly as you would expect.

a day in trendy Tokyo Harajuku
Why Hello Kitty!

At the other end of Takeshita Street, you will come across a major thoroughfare (Meijii Dorii). When you cross Meijii Dorri, you can continue exploring on Harajuku Street.

My Verdict on Harajuku with Kids

There are so many interesting places to nip in and out of that you will have no problem spending a day exploring Harajuku.  I really enjoyed the back streets and the pedestrianised streets because then the children could explore without my fear they would get run over.  Especially on Takeshita Street, you may want to go on a weekday because the weekends can be quite crowded.

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visiting the trendy Tokyo neighbourhood of Harajuku with kids

Harajuku is a must visit and one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Tokyo. Definitely you need to visit Harajuku, if you are traveling to Tokyo with children, they’ll love it! Discover how to visit Harajuku with kids + the best things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo. #harajuku #tokyo #tokyotravel #japan #travelwithchildren
Harajuku is a must visit and one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Tokyo. Definitely you
need to visit Harajuku, if you are traveling to Tokyo with children, they’ll love it! Discover how
to visit Harajuku with kids + the best things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo.
What is a visit to Tokyo without an escapade to Harajuku, one of the quirkiest neighborhoods in Tokyo? And especially if you’re traveling to Tokyo with children, they’ll love it! Click this pin to discover how to visit Harajuku with kids + the best things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo. #harajuku #tokyo #tokyotravel #japan #travelwithchildren
What is a visit to Tokyo without an escapade to Harajuku, one of the quirkiest neighborhoods
in Tokyo? And especially if you’re traveling to Tokyo with children, they’ll love it! Click this pin
to discover how to visit Harajuku with kids + the best things to do in Harajuku, Tokyo.
#harajuku #tokyo #tokyotravel #japan #travelwithchildren

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29 thoughts on “Visiting Trendy Tokyo in Harajuku With Kids”

    1. Yes it’s kiddy cuteness. Mercifully the stuff tends to be quite small or I’d have been tired carting it all around all day.

  1. Cat Street sounds right up my alley – Ive heard that Japan is a fairly big leader in designer shopping and outlet stores, so I would love to experience the shopping scene. And I’ve also heard about the cat cafes taking Japan by storm, so would love to travel to experience one too! Is the 13+ age restriction a common thing on cafes throughout the city?

    1. Well it’s usually restrictions for under 12s. Thus cafe adds another year in addition to their other restrictions. There are some cafes that let you get children in like the Nekorobi cafe I posted about earlier.

  2. Wow, I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, Tokyo looks incredible, so very different from anywhere else, this area looks great, its definitely somewhee I’d love to visit, thanks for the great information

  3. Even I would not have left the Wego store without gloves with penguins, super adorable. Was it just Choosy cat Cafe that they did not allow kids below 13 or is it everywhere?? I myself want to go to Japan just for shopping 🙂

  4. OMG, those crepes look amazing! I know it’s not very Japanese but I would totally have some. Other than that, I liked the wide staircase at the mall. Not very American. Americans prefer to use escalators. I guess the stairs won’t bother the Japanese so much 🙂

  5. Very trendy area indeed. I see there are a lot of fancy stores there, quite for my taste. I’ve never been in Japan or anywhere in Asia and I like reading about this part of the world. For the time being I am not particularly attracted to it, although there is a lot to see and do there.

  6. Personally I thought Harajuku just had way too many people. We went to Kiddyland and it was so crowded that you had to go in queues just to walk through the store.

    We also noticed that Harajuku had a lot of western and high end stores and was very touristy in nature, whereas Akihabara had all Japanese brands, less crowds and lots more grungy interesting stores, combined with some higher end department stores.

    1. Well we went to Harajuku during the week. The weekends are more crowded. We did make it to Akhihabara as well but I did have an issue with the kids. It’s got more sex stores and signs for that sort of thing which I had to keep the kids from noticing. We did inadvertently walk into a sex store when my daughter saw a bunny costume she liked. Briefly to say it was a highly inappropriate bunny costume.

  7. Harajuku was one of our favorite places in Tokyo as well. Some have life and fun there. We also ate at a really good Mexican restaurant there where they brought over Mexican chefs and a real mariachi band! Japan knows how to do things!!

    Great to read that it can be done with kids. I can’t wait to take my son to Japan. He will go gagga!!

  8. Oddly enough, as quirky and fun as Harajuku is, I never once thought about it as a place for kids! But now that I think of it, it’s totally a great place for children. I guess because I love quirky stuff, I always looked at it as a playland for adults lol.

  9. What an incredible place. I really want to plan a trip to Japan in the next years. I’m more interested in traditional ancient things, but this is also an interesting part of the culture to learn about!

  10. Quite a fun place for kids. I know mine would have had a blast though personally, I am more inclined to take her to some heritage and nature places . I guess that is the parent in me.

  11. This is a very informative post that gives valuable insights into Tokyo, specifically Harajuku. Interesting to note that this is considered to be the Japanese version of Champs’ Elysees. We have not been to Japan and also do not get to see too many blog posts on this country, so your post is definitely refreshing and informative.

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