My friends tell me that Harajuku is known for its presence of fashion and clothing stores, and I can definitely see where they’re coming from with that. One can find stores for New Balance, “Skechers”, GAP, American Eagle, and much more. This was also the part of Tokyo with the highest concentration of foreigners that I’d seen thus far.
We took a couple turns near the station and ended up in front of the first toori gateway of Meiji Shrine. The pathway was wide and it took a while to walk to the shrine itself. Walking through the pathways, we were transported into a different world where there was almost no evidence of being surrounded by city. When we got there, we arrived next to a group of school children who were going through the traditional process of cleansing one’s hands and mouth before walking through the main shrine gate. When we entered, the shrine was being renovated so photos wouldn’t have really done it justice.
We had seen a ton of construction throughout our travels around Tokyo, much of it in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Part of the Olympics would be happening in Harajuku, and the sound of construction could be heard even through the woods that surrounded the grounds we were on.
Back in the city area, we walked through Takeshita Street, a very popular and crowded area filled with small shops and places to eat. We didn’t bother stopping anywhere as it was just too packed with people moving through or wanting to sell something.
We strolled around for a bit more and even went to visit Claire’s old apartment they had rented from their visit two years ago. Harajuku seems like an area where higher class citizens live and work as evidenced by the expensive vehicles and modern, slightly larger living spaces in the area.
Before we left, we went to visit one more shrine which wasn’t under construction. It was smaller, but no less well kept. When we visited, we were almost the only people there.
Later in the evening when we were back at our apartments, Claire left to meet a friend elsewhere, and Xara and I explored the area a bit. There was a soccer tournament running not far away from our apartments, and we could hear the chants from over a kilometer away.
We went to Shibuya where we were hoping to find Bucky who had met up with a friend at an arcade, but instead of finding him, we found a ramen shop. Xara had a bowl of ramen, and I had some dumplings. Afterwards, we walked down the street a bit until we found ourselves at Tower Records, a multi-level music shop where one can find nearly all kinds and genres of music.
Eventually, we headed from there to Ikebukuro were Claire and Justin were having a drink at a basement pub. Unfortunately, they hadn’t left any space for us to join them, so we ended up heading back to our apartments for the night.
It was a busy day. I had clocked in over 23,000 steps on my phone, a record that seems tough to beat, but we’ll see what else this journey has in store for us.