Kawaii Things To Do in Tokyo: Harajuku, Shibuya, Nippori, Shimokitazawa and Ueno


Konnichiwa Kawaii Travelers!

Kaila here! I am currently on a blogging spree to make up for the months I went inactive last year. For this blog post, I will share some information about my favorite places in Tokyo: Harajuku, Shibuya, Nippori, Shimokitazawa and Ueno!

Please look forward to our “Kawaii Purikura Guide in Tokyo” that we will be sharing in the future as well! ^_^


FIRST STOP: HARAJUKU (原宿)

Harajuku
If you are a huge fan of kawaii culture like we do, a first stop in Harajuku is highly recommended! Don’t go to other places first, lololol. Just kidding! ; )

Whenever I would tour my friends around Harajuku, I’d bring them to purikura machines (neoprint / photo sticker booths), favorite kawaii boutiques, Harajuku crepe & tapioca shops, cutest cafes, and other colorful places (such as Design Festa Gallery).

If I want to be transported in another and more peaceful place, I would just go and walk to Meiji Shrine and enjoy the fresh air and lush green trees. Harajuku = Modern + traditional Japan mixed perfectly!

I love Harajuku because it’s such an inspiring place! Just seeing people pass by flaunting their colorful selves and chid-like beauty is already inspirational for me. Harajuku makes me want “to be me”.


SECOND STOP: SHIBUYA (渋谷)

shibuya

If you’re tired of Harajuku already (maybe after a week of visiting that place, or maybe never…. hahaha), you can just go walk to the Shibuya neighborhood / ward. I think that it’s good exercise after you much on the yummy Harajuku crepes / desserts. Just follow the JR Yamanote Line / rail tracks (Shibuya direction, of course) and enjoy the scenic view! You will be surprised to see a lot of hidden spots + cool graffiti along the way! :)

For my list of recommendations, here’s the list below! Many thanks to the kawaii buddy Ashley for the photos and help!

Things to do when in Shibuya:

  • Take a photo at Shibuya Crossing (only when the green light is on! Haha!)
  • Shibuya Center Gai
  • Take a photo with the iconic Hachiko statute
  • Shop at SHIBUYA 109
  • Tower Records (and Tower Records Cafe)
  • Dine at Genki Sushi for a fun sushi experience
  • Try the desserts at Fujiya Cafe (matcha parfait, strawberry shortcake, and so much more!)
  • Have dinner at “and people cafe” (a super cozy & whimsical cafe)
  • Visit Parco Art Museum (Shibuya Parco)
  • Have a memorable experience dining at Alice in Wonderland Restaurant
  • Recommend MALLS: Shibuya Hikarie, Shibuya Mark City, Parco, Seibu, etc.
  • For unique Japanese souvenirs, go to LoFT & Village Vanguard.
  • Take purikura with friends / family at CLUB SEGA. You can also try on kawaii costumes to level up your purikura game!
  • Walk around Koen Dori / Spain Slope (more info: www.japan-guide.com/e/e3007.html)

SPECIAL: Spend the Halloween with friends in Shibuya! It will be the most memorable / craziest Halloween experience you’ll ever have!


THIRD STOP: NIPPORI (日暮里)

Nippori

Nippori can be easily accessed using JR Yamanote Line. If you’re into creating, crafting, and designing, then this is indeed your fabric paradise. I used to do a lot of Kawaii D.I.Y. before so Nippori was my second favorite after Harajuku. :)

Dubbed as “Fabric / Textile Town of Tokyo”, this place will make you go crazy with all the cutest buttons, #OnlyInJapan fabric prints (lolita-themed, character patterns, wagara style, etc.), and everything you will need for your fashion design project.

Most students who attend fashion schools in Tokyo frequent this place because the stores have everything that they need. Let’s not forget the quaint streets and small cafes around the town that makes it more charming to visit.

Before visiting this place, make sure you bring enough money! You’ll never know the extent of your hoarding, haha!

For more info, you may read our separate article here.


FOURTH STOP: SHIMOKITAZAWA (下北沢)

Shimokitazawa

If you want to spend a quiet and relaxing afternoon in Tokyo, I highly recommend Shimokita. Lots of stylish & unique cafes, one-of-a-kind fashion boutiques and vintage shops, artsy corners and instagram-worthy sceneries.

I toured my friend Abbey here when she visited me and we dressed up in a schoolgirl-inspired #ootd. It was a fun day! :)

Read more about our Shimokitazawa adventure here.


FIFTH STOP: UENO (上野)

Ueno

Ueno is absolutely one of my favorite places in Tokyo because it has everything that I love: nature and trees, cheap food stalls, toy stores, museums, beautiful facade, kawaii panda-themed food / merchandise, purikura machines, UFO catchers, outlet stores, and more!

What makes it my instant to-go place when I just want to go out is that it’s a very interesting place to document / take photos of.

During summer / spring / special weekends, there are lots of food stalls where you can eat yakitori, matsuri food, crispy chicken karaage, watame (cotton candy in cute packaging!), kawaii character-shaped lollipops, jaga bata (grilled potato with lots of butter), and more!

Ueno park is one of the loveliest spots to visit when it’s the peak of Cherry Blossom blooming.

If you’d like to see more photos of Ueno, here’s my summer photoset from before.


If you enjoyed this kind of post, please do let us know! Do look forward to our next kawaii travel round-up series for Akihabara, Daikanyama, Shinjuku, Shin-okubo, Koenji, Nakano… and more!

Lots of love,

Kaila & Ashley




Ameyoko Street Food (Ueno, Tokyo)


Hello everybody!

Today’s quick blog post isn’t really “kawaii” but I just want to share one of my favorite places in Tokyo (specifically in Ueno), Ameyoko. <3

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If  you are foodie or you just want to take a break from all the Japanese food, you might want to visit Ameyoko!

We escaped the summer heat by visiting this place at night time.

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Just to add a kawaii touch to this entry, here’s a photo of Inside Out plushie heaven from a random UFO catcher we spotted while walking towards our foodie destination. <3

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Artsy photo taken by @justin_dj

When in Ameyoko and craving for something heavy + spicy, Doner Kebab is a must-eat!

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Korean milk tea / drinks for refreshments!

If you are craving for authentic Chinese / Turkish / Korean street food, Ameyoko will satisfy your tummy!

For more Ueno blog entries, you can check this tag from Rainbowholic Blog.




Ueno & Yanaka Walking Guide + Shitamachi Museum


If you want to explore an area in Tokyo for around 4-5 hours, I would recommend Ueno because it is such a hugeee place to roam around. You can have time for nature (and ZOOO), museums, shopping, eating and so much more. And you can walk to Akihabara (Tokyo’s Electric Town) if you get bored too, haha.

When my friend Abbey arrived from airport, we only had the rest of the afternoon to go exploring. I didn’t drag her to go to Shibuya / Harajuku / and the like because I know that for a first-timer, she would definitely want to spend a whole day in Harajuku + Shibuya area. You could say that “Ueno” is a good starter for a Tokyo trip.

Fresh from Narita, we decided to stop by Ueno first. There are lockers inside the train stations and we decided to leave Abbey’s luggage inside the Keisei station area. (From Narita, we took the “regular” train because it’s cheaper. More info about this here.)

Ueno (上野) is a district in Tokyo‘s Taitō Ward, best known as the home of Ueno Station and Ueno Park. Ueno is also home to some of Tokyo’s finest cultural sites, including the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, and the National Museum of Nature and Science, as well as a major public concert hall. Many Buddhisttemples are in the area, including the Bentendo temple dedicated to goddess Benzaiten, on an island inShinobazu Pond. The Kan’ei-ji, a major temple of the Tokugawashoguns, stood in this area, and its pagoda is now within the grounds of the Ueno Zoo. Nearby is the Ueno Tōshōgū, a Shinto shrine to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Near the Tokyo National Museum there is The International Library of Children’s Literature. Just south of the station is the Ameya-yokochō, a street market district that evolved out of an open-air black market that sprung up after World War II. Just east is the Ueno motorcycle district, with English-speaking staff available in some stores.

Ueno is part of the historical Shitamachi (literally “low city”) district of Japan, a working class area rather than where the aristocrats and rich merchants lived. Today the immediate area, due to its close proximity to a major transportation hub, retains high land value but just a short walk away to the east or north reveals some of the less glitzy architecture of Tokyo.

Ueno Park and Ueno Station are also home to a large percentage of Tokyo’s homeless population. Though nearly invisible in other parts of Tokyo, the homeless population in Ueno can be found sleeping or communing in large numbers around the “ike” (ponds) of this district.

Source: www. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ueno,_Tokyo

 

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Never miss out on any kawaii bread! Make sure to take one kawaii panda with you, haha!

These are from “Wholesome Bakery” ~

Ueno Flier

While walking around, I found this English guide with all the information. I think that this is a great guide for tourists!

You can check more pamphlets in pdf here ~

Ueno Shitamachi Souvenir

Ueno Yanaka Area

Ueno Calendar

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When in Ueno for the first time, I highly suggest Shitamachi Museum. I’ve been there once and it’s a great place to have fun learning about historical Shitamachi.

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This museum was established to teach future generations about the culture of the shitamachi. The shitamachi was originally an area of Edo* where the common people lived. The word shitamachi is composed of the word shita meaning “down” and machi meaning “town,” and one can often see it translated into English literally as “downtown.” However, shitamachi is not the same as the English word downtown, which refers to a city’s central businessdistrict. The shitamachi name originated from the actual level of the land in the area.

In Edo, the land to the south-east of Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace) was lowlands, and the land to the north-west was a plateau, and during the formative years of the city, the lowlands became the place where artisans and merchants lived. This lowlands area near Edo Castle became known as shitamachi. There were many unique qualities that defined the shitamachi and still exercise an influence over the area today. For example, the shitamachi’s high population density resulted in the building of crowded tenement houses called nagaya. These nagaya were made of wood and built very close together, which rendered the region highly susceptible to fire.This living environment bred a people with a unique disposition and way of life. The culture of the shitamachi is the culture of Tokyo’s common people, and it contributed greatly to the culture of Edo just as it contributes to Tokyo as a city today.

People’s lifestyles change when their living environment changes, and old culture is naturally lost over time. In 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo and the city began to modernize, but traces of the old ways remained in the shitamachi. The massive destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the wartime fires of 1945, and the reconstruction following these disasters are what really changed Tokyo. The 1960s saw a development boom spurred on by the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and this era also saw a dramatic increase in the use of electric appliances, all which further sped the degree of change in the city. The initial movement for the establishment of this museum began during that time.

During this period of rapid change the people did gain convenience and comfort, but they began to lose or forget many other things. The desire to somehow preserve these things for future generations was the basis for founding the museum. Many supporters from within Taito-ku and beyond contributed a variety of items, and the Shitamachi Museum opened in 1980.

Source: www.taitocity.net