The Inexplicable Fun of Harajuku, Japan

A whole month has officially passed since our Japan trip ended and we have been dying to share more and document our adventures here on the blog!

The history of my heart towards Asia is a twisty one. Growing up, I traveled a bit with my family, but never to Asia. I had gotten a taste of Europe, the tropics, and south America and loved them all so much, but maybe that’s why I’ve never really desired to go to China, Japan, Thailand etc.—all of which are extremely exotic and desirable destinations that I have now visited! Before that, all I had seen of Asia were movie scenes with massive amounts of human beings crammed onto narrow streets or subways all walking in different directions. And as those closest to me know, I absolutely hate crowds and get much anxiety when in line, traffic, or packed stores and restaurants LOL. It all comes down to my introverted-ness and need for personal space haha.

Alllllll that to say, after the time we spent in China and Thailand, Tokyo quickly made it’s way to the top of my bucket list.

Ian was en route to a business trip in Thailand and Myanmar, and would’ve had a stopover in Tokyo anyway, so when deciding where to travel to this year, we chose to hit Tokyo for eight days and then have me fly home and have him continue on to his other two destinations. 

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My favorite place in Tokyo, and where we spent our first day, was a little street/district called Harajuku. Harajuku is most famously known for it’s “Harajuku Girls” (thanks Katy Perry) who dress up in colorful wigs, dramatic makeup, and kitschy outfits and just walk around the streets. The street is filled with shops selling all things cute (and pink), including clothes, accessories, treats, and souvenirs.

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We loved Harajuku so much that we ended up spending two days there instead of just one. It’s not for everyone, although everyone should spend at least one hour there, but for us, we have never found a place that makes us happier than Harajuku. Perhaps the three most memorable experiences we had there were our lunch at Kawaii Monster Café, Cat Café MoCha, and Totti Candy Factory. 

The photos below will help you visualize what it is I’m about to say. I would compare Kawaii Monster Café to Chuck E. Cheese, on steroids, for grown-ups, but some may think that’s a stretch. Upon arrival, you check in at a counter similar to how you check into a restaurant here in the west. Except the restaurant is hidden by a monster face shaped wall behind the hostess. After choosing which themed room you wish to dine in (via photos), the hostess then escorts you down the monster’s tongue (rug) and into his mouth (sliding door) where she hands you off to the Harajuku girls and boys who then seat you, serve you, and entertain you for the following 90 minutes.

The food and drinks are super colorful and cute and yes, yummy! Although you are seated in just one of the themed rooms, you are allowed to walk about the premises to take pictures and just gawk. Shortly after you order, the Kawaii Monster comes out and you can take pictures with him (or her?) as well as with the Harajuku Girls.

Then comes the music and show. Words cannot express the tremendous amount of joy I felt at this restaurant and show. I have never smiled and laughed so much in my entire life—combined! The girls were singing and dancing on this rotating stage which had sculptures/rides/statues resembling those rocking toys kids ride on at the playground, and when it came time to call a volunteer to the stage, Ian eagerly volunteered! This is when it really helps if you’ve seen our Instagram stories, because his stage performance was inexplicable. Lets just say, it was clear to us both that that exact moment in time was what he was sent on this earth to do. 

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Another one of the items on my bucket list was to “eat giant rainbow cotton candy in Tokyo” and after a short amount of research, we learned the place to get said cotton candy is a little shop called Totti Candy Factory. The shop is small, so there isn’t much to experience there, but it is incredibly cute and colorful and fun to watch the girl make the candy!

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Our second day in Harajuku (which was actually our last day in Tokyo) holds a close rival to “favorite experience” from the trip, and that is our time spent at Cat Café MoCha. This is an Alice in Wonderland themed coffee shop where you basically just sit and pet cats and sip coffee. You pay a certain amount per 10 minutes. I think it was around $2 per person to enter, but you are required to stay for at least 30 minutes. Coffee is optional and  $3 per person for unlimited refills (but it does come from a machine, so don’t expect quality), and if you want treats to feed to the cats, those will run you another $4.50.

If we ever visit again, we will definitely get the treats because you aren’t allowed to pick up the cats, and they seem to get so much attention that they aren’t very interested in snuggles lol. 

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Of course we did other things in Tokyo, which I intended on sharing today as well, but this post has just gotten too long! We will be writing at least two more posts about our time in Japan, including tips on how to get around town and also a photo journal of our two days in Mt. Fuji!