Do you know Line? It is a popular application in Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as some other Asian countries.
It's an instant messaging application similar to Whatsapp, Viper and Imo.
Many Asian tourists visit the Line store in Harajuku.
Look at this giant teddy! You can take a picture with him.
The top three best-sellers in the store according to the staff are:
3. Castella (sweet cake) - 786 yen per bag
2. Mugs - 1296 yen each
1. Eye masks - 990 yen each.
To check out the unique Line character goods, visit the store.
The address and number of the store is below, alternately see our map for the exact location.
JPR Jingumae 432 / 4-32-13 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo, Japan
On December 25, 2014, a new visitor center opened in Harajuku. The new “Moshi Moshi Box” is a joint project between the Shibuya Tourism Association and Harajuku Shop Association. Asobi System (of the Kyari Pamyu Pamyu company) and the Shibuya tourism association collaborated on this information center. They will help you get information, give advice and offer free maps and guides of the areas around Harajuku. The visitor center is located on Meiji Dori directly across the street from the end of Takeshita Dori. The landmark is the shocking pink wall decorated with many bizarre dolls and a big clock showing times in cities around the world.
The Moshi Moshi Box will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. As you can see in the picture above, you can buy some unique Japanese souvenirs for your family or friends.
The Harajuku area is a shopping area and there are many sweets shops and clothing shops. Harajuku is often teeming with people, so if you need help navigating the crowds try this Moshi Moshi box.
You can use the internet via the free WiFi here.
You can also exchange cash from your country's currency to yen.
These are sushi sox. I strongly recommend you to buy it as a souvenir.
Do you think these look like sushi? These are not sushi. These are pairs of socks.
As the shopping district that symbolizes Japanese pop culture, Harajuku is a must-visit for any tourist.
Enjoy shopping and exploring Harajuku!
Colorful pulsing lights, larger-than-life decorations and zany music are all part of Kawaii Monster Cafe. If you want to experience Japan's wacky youth pop culture, this is the place to come.
While the decor and ambiance is amazing, the food is pricey. Consider filling up at the cheaper Tenya restaurant beforehand to save money.
The entrance to Kawaii Monster Cafe is designed to look like a monster's face, and is located on the 4th floor of the YM Square building. At the entrance lobby you will be asked to choose a seating zone from four options and then one of the friendly staff (pictured below) will guide you into the dramatic interior (pictured above).
Depending on which zone you've chosen, you might be seated under a psychedelic mushroom, inside a teacup or next to a giant horse head (no joke).
The menu comes on an electronic tablet and is full of weird and wonderful options. I recommend the matcha flavored milkshake with real strawberries and kiwis (shown in the picture below). The cafe's official website also shows a limited selection of other menu items. To take a look, click here.
Even the restrooms feature chandeliers and bouncy balls!
Kawaii Monster Cafe is fairly new, it only opened in August 2015, but they are already planning a Halloween party for the 31st of October.
It's true that some of the decorations are quite creepy...
This is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, and worth a visit. Weekends can be crowded but during weekdays you'll usually have your pick of seating. Why not experience some wacky culture and give yourself a break from reality?
See our map for the exact location of Kawaii Monster Cafe.
For more information see the cafe's official website.
If you want to buy souvenirs in Shibuya, why don't you drop in at this shop?
The name of shop is "MARUARA-WATANABE"「丸荒渡辺」
The shop is next to the Loft department store and opposite the Forever 21 clothing store.
Inside, it is jam-packed with all sorts of Japanese presents. The aisle is so narrow that there is just enough space for one person to squeeze through.
A child's miniature jinbei (a type of summer clothing) costs 2625 yen. The larger child's size costs 3000 yen.
Earrings featuring origami paper cranes are available for 1260 yen.
An adult yukata (a kind of light, summer kimono) is 3780 yen.
There's even a souvenir mouse pad!
The store is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays it is open from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Closed on Wednesdays.
There's no better place in Shibuya to stock up on gifts for friends and family than this quirky little shop tucked in between the more modern stores.
See our Map for the exact location or visit the English page of their website here.
Sat, Sun & holidays 13:00~19:00
16-8, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Karaoke is something you do when you come to Shibuya with your friends. So what do you do if you come to Shibuya alone?
The answer is... karaoke!
That's right, there is a type of karaoke where you can sing all by yourself! It's called One-kara.
At One-kara you can sing all the songs you like without being interrupted by friends wanting their turn. One-kara is also great for those who are a little too shy to sing in front of a crowd.
One-kara has designed its karaoke venue to look like the inside of a spaceship. The doors are straight out of a science fiction movie (see picture above) and the whole atmosphere is sleek and modern. In keeping with the space theme, the karaoke booths are referred to as 'cockpits'.
If you don't understand Japanese, don't worry. The One-kara staff will make sure that the karaoke machine in your booth is set to English. There are plenty of English songs available on the machines, including recent popular hits.
In order to sing karaoke at One-kara you need to create a membership card. The cards can be made in a few minutes using the machines pictured in the center of the above photo.
The machines are just in front of the reception desk so if you get stuck just ask one of the reception staff to help you. You will also need a form of identification in order to complete the registration. People visiting Japan should bring their passport. People who are living in Japan can bring their alien registration card (外国人登録証).
This picture shows the price system. If you go to One-kara between 5 a.m and 5 p.m on a weekend you will pay 960 yen for one hour of singing. This will be expensive if you want to stay for a couple of hours. If you don't bring your own headphones you'll also have to pay an additional headphone rental fee of 300 yen.
If you want to sing for two or three hours, the cheapest time is from 6:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m on a weekday. During this time you will pay only 500 yen for an hour of singing and the headphone rental is free.
If you really love karaoke, another option is to come during the morning on a weekend. You will pay only 1800 yen for a six hour block from 6 a.m to 12 p.m.
If you missed the last train home, you can pay 1500 yen on a weekday night or 1800 yen on a weekend night plus the headphone rental fee after 10 p.m, and stay in your karaoke 'cockpit' until 9 a.m the next morning. This is a great option for people who love singing and those who don't want to stay at a manga
There is a free drink bar inside where you can drink coke, Japanese tea, juice and hot coffee.
Inside it looks like this. All the karaoke booths have locks so you won't be disturbed while singing and your belongings will be safe while you get drinks from the drink bar
Just don't forget to bring your key with you when you leave your booth because the doors lock automatically.
Once you enter your booth all that's left to do is to sing anything you like.
No one can hear your voice, so you can practice however you like or just belt out songs to relieve stress. You could sing the Beatles... or Taylor Swift.
The rooms which have sofas in them are called "first class" rooms. They cost 50 yen more per 30 minutes than normal rooms. I recommend these rooms for people who want to relax while singing.
There is also an instrument room that has a drum set. You can enjoy karaoke while playing the drums.
The first class rooms and instrumental room are only available at the Shibuya branch of One-kara.
So if you are in Shibuya, check out One-kara.
The building is near the Loft store. Look out for the yellow sign with a large 1 on it.
If you are visiting Shibuya for the first time, be sure to stop by at the tourist information center pictured above.
This train car was part of a train called "aogaeru" that ran on the Tama line 60 years ago.
It is open from 10:00 to 18:00.
There is free wi-fi and you can also enjoy stamping a cute stamp of Hachiko.
The staff speak both English and Japanese and there are maps of Shibuya available for free in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian and Spanish.
The people working here are very kind and can answer all your questions about where to go and what to do in Shibuya.
The information center is air conditioned so it is cool in summer and warm in winter. Some people use it as a meeting spot.
Inside there are pictures showing how Shibuya looked many years ago. You can compare the present Shibuya to the old Shibuya.
You can also learn about the story of Hachi, the faithful dog.
This is a great place to experience both the nostalgia of old Shibuya and the excitement of new Shibuya!
Tourists often ask me to recommend good Japanese restaurants near Shibuya station.
My recommendation is this!
That is, my recommendation is Yakitori-don.
Flame-grilled chicken, liver and leek drizzled with a special marinade on a bed of hot rice is a super combination.
In addition to a side dish of salty pickles, there is also a bowl of miso soup, which will warm your heart as it wraps you in its gentle aroma.
The price is 1020 yen including tax. You are sure to be more than satisfied.
The name of the restaurant is TORITAKE. It is also famous for its eel-don rice bowl, which pairs well with alcohol.
From the Hachiko Square exit of Shibuya station, it is a roughly 3 minute walk. The restaurant is right beside Mark City.
Toritake is open until late, from 14:00 a.m. in the morning to 1:00 a.m. at night.
It's a big place covering three floors, from the basement B1 floor to the 2nd floor, but even so, if you come on weekends during peak lunch or dinner time you may have to wait a for a seat.
Whether you are eating alone or come with your family, visit Toritake and try the Yakitori-don.
Although those who dislike liver will miss out on the fabulousness of the yakitori-don, you can still savor the atmosphere of a real Japanese pub while feasting on one of the other options... all for a reasonable price.
Writing this blog has made me super hungry and I might have to make a late-night stop at Toritake to calm my growling stomach!
I heard a rumor that in Kyoto real samurai exist even in the modern era. Samurai and Ninja have become endangered in modern times, but rumor has it that real samurai and ninjas work for the government as activists and undercover agents.
As soon as I heard the rumor, I hastened to get on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto to verify whether the rumor was true or not.
This is the true story. I went to the place where they exist, Toei Kyoto Studio Park in Kyoto.
Here you can observe some films and period dramas and walk freely around the Toei Kyoto film set of the Edo period. This is the entrance:
When you enter the set, you can savor the atmosphere of an old Japanese village.
Samurai don't seem to be around here...
Oops, they were not samurai. They were samurai panels.
I was beginning to doubt the rumor that real samurai exist in contemporary Japan. All the time the rumor must have been a lie...
Just when I was about to give up, all of a sudden a samurai appeared in front of me.
OH MY GOSH!!
I thought, "this is it" like Micheal Jackson!
Oh, another two samurai also emerged!
They started shouting at one another and fighting with sharp swords!
I was so excited!
The fight finished. Who is the winner???
I asked them after the fight whether they are real samurai or not.
"Yes... We get a monthly salary for this show."
I don't know whether they were real samurai, but I realized that even samurai find it hard to survive financially in this contemporary period.
There was also a female Ninja.
All the workers were so friendly and kind... but I felt that the studio park was a bit expensive.
If you have finished visiting the shrines and temples in Kyoto and have extra time and money on your hands, you might consider it. Otherwise, I recommend giving this a miss and hunting down samurai and ninja in the pages of the nearest manga comic.
I loved these guys' smiles though:
Meiji Shrine is behind Harajuku station. If you head to the shrine from Shibuya Station, it takes about 15 minutes on foot. Alternately take the JR line from Shibuya station towards Shinjuku, and get off at Harajuku station. Harajuku is just one stop from Shibuya station and the train ride takes about 2 minutes.
Meiji Shirine is a Shinto shrine. Shinto is Japan's ancient original religion. The shrine is dedicated to emperor Meiji who passed away in 1912. Meiji Shrine is surrounded by a large park with many big trees. If you want to feel the energy of nature, you should visit this shrine. But keep in mind that the distance from the entrance to the shrine buildings is 1.2 km. On foot it takes about 10-15 minutes to get to the actual shrine from the first Torii gate.
The pillar of the Torii gate is 1.2 meters in diameter. The height of the Torii gate is 12 meters and it is about 17 meters wide. It's a really big structure and in fact this Torii gate is the biggest wooden Torii gate in Japan.
After walking for a few minutes from the first Torii gate, you will come to a display of many sake barrels. Every year some businesses in Japan gift these barrels to Meiji shrine. Sake is used for purification and is often drank during important ceremonies.
This is the middle Torii gate. Meiji shirine has three Torii gates in total. In the olden days, people believed that the path through the very center of the Torii gate was reserved for use by Gods. We humans had to pass through the gate closer to the two side pillars. These days most people don't know this and everyone walks through the gates wherever they like.
At the washing area we can rinse our mouth and hands in order to purify ourselves in preparation to meet the Shinto Gods. But don't drink the water!
These two camphor trees are called "couple trees". It's a nice place for couples to take a photo as a souvenir of their trip to Meiji Shrine.
Ema are pentagon-shaped wooden plagues which are offered to temples or shrines as a token of gratitude, or when making a wish for the future. You can buy these at the shrine, write your wishes on them, and hang them in the designated areas near the shrine. I hope all your wishes come true!
Click here to eToranomon Hills is an upmarket high rise building in Minato ward that houses a hotel, apartments, offices and four floors of restaurants and shops. See our Map for the exact location.
On the second floor of this stylish tower you will find a coffee lovers' paradise, a coffee shop with the plain and simple name, Toranomon Koffee.dit.
Quite simply, Toranomon Koffee serves the best coffee I have ever had. Ask your barista for recommendations if you are unsure about what to order. I had the cafe mocha and my partner had the cappuccino.
Be warned, once you have tasted these delicious drinks it's hard to go back to the cheap convenience store coffee!
The coffee is a little on the pricey side, but it is definitely worth it. Even people who don't drink coffee will be converted by the smooth taste!
The cappuccino goes for 430 yen for the regular size, or 450 yen for the large size. The cafe mocha only comes in one size (which is pretty large) and goes for 560 yen.
Just next to Toranomon Koffee is a conveniently placed outdoor terrace area with chairs and tables where you can relax with your cup of joe. If you'd like some reading material to go with your coffee, visit the book store on the third floor before heading to the coffee shop.
Toranomon Hills is also a great place for families. There is a large outdoor garden, with a play area and sculptures on the lawns.
If you are looking for somewhere to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, or if you are looking for a sophisticated place to spend a lazy afternoon, Toranomon Hills is for you.
The art displayed throughout the building makes window shopping, or even just strolling around the floors, feel like a trip to an art museum. For more information about the art on display, see the Toranomon Hills official website.
Why not treat yourself and visit Toranomon Koffee the next time you are in Tokyo? If you are really looking to splurge, you could even consider staying in the hotel.
For more information about Toranomon Hills, see their official website.