Japan is one of my favourite countries in the world. The food scene there is just amazing, and I keep finding more and more places to visit over there. On November 24th I travelled to Japan to visit some of the amazing places everyone had recommended, and that I had read about. This post is dedicated to some of my places to visit when in Harajuku. It's best to google all these places to get the best address for them, as I found it a little hard to translate the Japanese address on here for you. Before visiting it is also ideal to check the opening hours of many locations across Japan, for some reason they like to close on very random days of the week, and have numerous holidays year long. So best to check that they're open before travelling to them, and not to make the silly mistake I did. The most iconic place to visit in Harajuku is Takeshita street, so be sure to take a stroll through here to see what its all about.
Where to begin with this place, first of all a couple of tips on times and days of the week to visit. When visiting on a weekend, expect to wait about 20 minutes in line for a spot, or most nights around 7.30 there can be a bit of a wait. General rule for most places in Harajuku is that there is guaranteed to be a long line during peak periods and weekends. But definitely worth the wait. Harajuku gyoza-ro were probably the best gyoza I have eaten in my life, and so cheap. Just 290 yen for a plate of 6 gyoza, you really can't go wrong. I preferred the 'origional' gyoza, and would also recommend the bean shoot with meat sauce. Although the bean shoot dish isn't very presentable, it packs so much flavour and is delicious. I found going to Harajuku gyoza-ro in the late afternoon was the best time to visit to avoid long wait times. As well as pretty much every venue in Japan, wear an outfit with layers that you can take on and off easily, during the winter period the heaters are full blast everywhere.
Eddy’s Ice Cream
This place was probably one of the coolest ice cream stores I have ever visited. Hidden in the back streets of Harajuku, Eddy’s ice cream can be easily found by the pink town house like building its located in. Once again a short wait in line, but once inside you’re spoilt with choice by the colourful ice cream cones and pretty decorations. Of course I picked the pink chocolate dipped ice cream cone covered in a rainbow coloured corn flake like crunchy mixture. There’s two choices of flavours, vanilla, strawberry or a combination of the two. The ice cream to be honest is nothing to write home about, but here its all about the oversized decorations. I chose the pink heart, the unicorn and the swan cookie. The ice cream overall was about 1600 yen, but so worth it for the photo. Overall a fun place to visit when in Harajuku.
Totti Candy Factory
When walking down Takeshita street in Harajuku theres pops of colour everywhere. One thing that catches your eye are the amazingly oversized colourful fairy floss everyones holding. This place is a must see, if not to purchase one, but just to see them make it. The rainbow fairy floss is about 800 yen, and each colour represents a different flavour. Totti candy factory also has an assortment of different candy which you can pick and chose from and pay by weight. They also have a selection of different cake pops which are shaped into different animals, also very cute.
J Box Long Potato
Pretty self explanatory really, this place serves long fries, and they're really good. I got mine with tomato sauce, mayo and cheese. They're made from a mixture of mashed potato and egg, and are pushed through a plunge into hot oil which gives them their length. These fries are a good snack for on the go or take away, as they do not have any seating, just a little hole in the wall.
Luke's Lobster Rolls
The best seafood rolls I've ever had. The buns are lightly toasted and buttered then filled with whatever meat you choose. With a choice of lobster, shrimp, or crab. The lobster rolls start at 980 yen for a regular or 1580 yen for a US lobster roll, just with more lobster. They serve a couple of sides like coleslaw, chips, and have a few drinks on offer. I'd recommend getting the regular lobster roll and the shrimp roll, enough for an adult for lunch or dinner. They have a few locations across Japan including Omotesando, Shibuya Park Street, Hiroo, Lumine Yokohama, Shinsaibashi and Kobe.
Afuri Ramen would have to be one of my favourite ramen spots in Japan. They have a few locations across Tokyo, but my favourite location was the one near Harajuku Station. My favourite ramen here was the yuzu shoyu ramen. A soy based broth with a light taste of yuzu, a Japanese citrus, the combination of the two was delicious. I recommend to order it with the pork, its delicious, and a little charred when cooked over the hibachi grill. If you're super hungry or just wanting a light snack, I'd recommend ordering the aburi Koro chashu gohan (rice, grilled pork, daikon and yuzu). Another delicious combination of grilled pork and yuzu. These guys are always busy, so coming in peak times may have a little bit of a wait. They also have a vending machine service for taking orders and paying for meals. You put the money into the machine click what you'd like to order, and give the waitress your ticket. Once there's a spare seat available the wait staff will indicate for you to take a seat. I was in Tokyo for just over two weeks and ate here about every second day, so definitely highly recommend Afuri Ramen.
When visiting in the winter months, close to Christmas, Japan puts on some stunning illuminations across the country. One of my favourite illuminations was the Omotesando illumination. Once you walk out of Harjuku Station you can't miss it, a whole strip of trees along the main road are covered head to toe in pretty fairy lights. Top tip, it's a little tricky to get a photo with the lights. So I just stopped in the middle of the street, when the pedestrians were crossing and got a photo in the middle of the road, just be safe and careful if you take this approach.
That's a list of my must see places when visiting Harajuku, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you and am happy to share any advice I can help you with in regards to travelling to Japan.