Harajuku is known far and wide as being one of the most interesting, quirky, fun and probably bizarre place in Tokyo to visit. It comes top in most to-do lists and travel magazines and websites, but perhaps not as commonly touted is the fact that Harajuku is a treasure-trove of culinary fun!
To start off this date, simply get off at either Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line or Meiji Jingu-mae Station on the Chiyoda/Fukutoshin Lines. The Harajuku area is also within walking distance of the elegant and beautiful Omotesando area, the relaxing and peaceful Yoyogi Park, pumping Shinjuku and the more hipster Ura-Hara backstreets (lit. “behind Harajuku”). It is a perfect place to head for an afternoon of sights and sounds but… what could be more important than those yummy, yummy treats!
Besides the colorful Harajuku girls’ costumes and blaring lights and souvenirs, Harajuku offers the most fashionable foods and snacks that more often than not have an interesting twist. Stroll down the famous Takeshita Street with your date and have a taste of the unending delights!
Here is a list of some of the more interesting and trendy foods to try:
- Number one is of course Harajuku crepes – a delicious treat that the area is known for. You can’t miss the crepe stores and stands that line the main Takeshita area, where you can find hundreds of different combinations of flavors, from fruit to chocolate to candy to savory, topped with towers of whipped cream! These crepes are not like the floppy ones you find in Europe that taste good but don’t necessarily look too appetizing. Harajuku crepes are served upright in a cone and are impressive beautiful masterpieces in themselves. Pick from a pre-made combo or choose your own toppings!
- Giant rainbow candy floss! If you really want to hit the Harajuku vibe, grab yourself an enormous stick of rainbow candy floss from Totti Candy Factory.
For a slightly cheaper alternative (although both options are pretty cheap for what you’re getting), choose between two types of three-colored cotton candy rather than the whole multicolored one. Whichever you go for, the cotton candy is so big that you definitely can share one between two (and we all know that’s more romantic anyway). Make sure you eat it in the area beneath the main store, though, so that you don’t end up making everyone you walk past a sticky mess.
If you’re not into cotton candy, there are also lots of adorable cake pops (which taste marvelous too!) and pick-n-mix sweets available to indulge in instead.
- If you are a fan of chips/crisps, then definitely make a stop by Calbee Plus, which make a whole variety of interesting chips with different sauces on top for just 300-400 yen! Some popular options include maple syrup and cream cheese, chocolate and ice cream, but if you feel more like savory after the crepes and candy floss, maybe go for something like cheese-topped or hot and spicy.
They are very generous with the toppings here too, and the chips are covered all the way through instead of just the top layer.
- Who doesn’t love soft serve ice cream, and even more so – soft serve ice cream with a twist (no pun intended)! Harajuku is the best place to go for interesting soft serve ice cream (“soft cream” or sofuto kuriimu in Japanese), a treat that is hugely popular anywhere you go in Japan. You can get rainbow ice cream, where each twist is a different color, or luxurious ice cream topped with real gold leaf (and this for as little as 900 yen). You can even find tower soft serve in Harajuku – ice cream that wobbles at a precarious 30 centimeters high or more!Zaku zaku, which in Japanese means “crispy” or “crunchy”, is a chic store with a shiny black front, where people queue to get a bite of the crunchy croquant chou cream pastries and fresh ice cream that gleam from behind the windows.
- A sunny day is not complete without a bubble tea in hand. A hugely popular drink, especially amongst young people is boba, or bubble, tea. A great spot to get your fix in the area is Gong Cha, a store where you can choose your tea blend, the sweetness and ice quantity of your drink and all the additional flavors, such as the classic tapioca pearls, milk foam, honey and so much more! For a Japanese twist on the originally Taiwanese beverage, choose a matcha base.
- If you bore of the commercial, candy-pop busy area, head to Ura-hara, the backstreets of Harajuku where there is an abundance of chilled indie cafes and small eateries in amongst the trendy vintage stores and designer mini-outlets. Simply walk through Takeshita-dori Avenue and cross Meiji-Dori and you’ll recognize the authentic and trendy area (with a completely opposite vibe to the previous zones) immediately.
Wherever your tastebuds lead, the entire Harajuku area is sure to have something for you. Bon appetit, or as they say in Japan, itadakimasu!