Harajuku has a long history and it is one of the rare places in Tokyo that is not only very modern but also retains much of the traditional.
Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line is a wooden station building built in 1925. Go through the Takeshita-dori Exit and walk to Takeshita-dori Street, crammed with shops for clothing, accessories, and souvenirs, as well as crepe shops, cafes and restaurants. Many people, most of them young people, flood into the street every weekend, and it is often difficult to make your way through.
For a rest from the press, it is a good idea to turn onto the side street leading to Togo Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to the memory of Admiral Togo, who defeated the Russian fleet in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Unlike noisy Takeshita-dori Street, it is calm and quiet there.
When you come to the intersection of Takeshita-dori Street and Meiji-dori Street, the Laforet Harajuku department store building is on the right. It is said that this is where Japanese fashion is created and then spreads outward to the rest of the country. Laforet Museum Harajuku on the sixth floor is an all-purpose hall hosting exhibitions, concerts and other events.
Walking across Meiji-dori Street, you come to the GAP store, which leads to "Ura Harajuku" ("Backstreet Harajuku"), lined with unusually attractive shops. One of the side streets, “Cat Street” is a highly recommended fashion street with many apparel shops. Each shop features originality and creativity. And the shoppers who visit shops here are also highly fashionable in appearance, as well.
Turn into the first narrow alley leading off Harajuku-dori Street and you will suddenly see a colorful and unusual construction. This “must-see” building is the gallery of “Design Festa,” where biannual original art exhibitions which display a number of experimental avant-garde works of art are held. It has a cafeteria, too.