Tokyo Guide: Harajuku and Shibuya

Meiji Jingu was one of my favorite stops of the whole trip. If you are looking for a tranquil escape, head there shortly after the sun rises. The gates are absolutely breathtaking and will dwarf even the tallest person. When you reach the shrine, watch for the sun glistening off the copper-plated roof. It is beautiful!

We then headed to the Inner Gardens within Meiji Jingu (¥500 admission fee). It was a great opportunity to sit and relax. However, we soon found out that Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens are far superior.

After our serene respite in Meiji Jingu, we headed to Takeshita Street in Harajuku. We then attempted to visit Fethers Goffa, but unfortunately it was closed when we arrived. However, it was a great excuse to explore Harajuku beyond Takeshita Street. Plus, the exterior of the shop is gorgeous!

Next stop was Design Festa Gallery– an absolutely must-do. The building itself is a piece of art. Inside, you’ll find a variety of art and a postcard collection that rivals Itoya in Ginza. Make sure to bring ample cash! We would have done some serious damage at this gallery if they had accepted credit cards.

Although Koenji is known for its vintage clothing, my favorite spot was Chicago in Harajuku. We went to this branch twice during our trip. The selection is great. And their prices are even better! They offer tax-free shopping, but I would not do this again. The cashier filled out a form, which she then folded and stapled in my husband’s passport. She placed a small stamp overlapping the form and his passport. I am Type-A and anxious. I was uncomfortable with someone outside of immigration leaving marks on his passport. Additionally, we had to place the items in our carry-on luggage when we left Japan in case immigration officers wanted to verify our purchases. We saved $10. It was not worth it at all.

We then headed to Tokyu Plaza in Harajuku. The mirrors at the entrance to the mall make for incredible live photos! Talk about an Instagrammer’s paradise.

We finished the day in Shibuya, paying a visit to Hachiko and watching the scramble from Starbucks.

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