Lights, Camera, Fashion!

Johanna Jarvis, Class of ’27, is a Graphic Design major studying at Tamagawa University this Spring/Summer 2024. Up next on the side adventures… and one of the most popular tourist cities of Tokyo… Harajuku! Harajuku, known for its popularity in showcasing fashion, has now proven itself to live up to its title. Upon preparing for ...

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Lights, Camera, Fashion!

Johanna Jarvis, Class of ’27, is a Graphic Design major studying at Tamagawa University this Spring/Summer 2024.

Up next on the side adventures… and one of the most popular tourist cities of Tokyo… Harajuku! Harajuku, known for its popularity in showcasing fashion, has now proven itself to live up to its title. Upon preparing for this trip, I wanted to make sure I hit all the spots I’m most interested in, and this was a big one! I remember being constantly inspired by many styles and clothes consistently featured in Harajuku such as themes like Gyaru makeup, Decora, Visual Kei, Punk, and probably the most known… Lolita. Though I don’t know much about how these styles came to be, I adore their style, which consists of bright color, good layering sense, and great accessory usage! I experimented with things like this during the Covid-Quarantine era, and I learned that I like the enjoyment of dressing up! The things I bought from my inspiration were mostly accessories, such as excessive amounts of barrettes/clips, belts, “out-of-the-box” earrings, and some unique clothing pieces. The only con I would say to these styles is that they’re VERY expensive if you become a frequent wearer, only because such outland-ish, unique pieces are pretty expensive in material, and can add up in cost if you’re buying multiple. This gives great perspective to give respect to the efforts the Harajuku fashionistas must put in to show up and show out!

So, as for the trip, we first visited Harajuku’s lesser-known, cheaper option: Shimo-Kitazawa. This town is known for a TON of thrift stores, antique clothing shops, and provides many American clothing and graphics in their weekly markets as well. Be wary though, most of these stores resell American clothes for around $30-40 just for a simple $5 thrifted T-shirt back at home… You can imagine the frustration I had when I realized I couldn’t buy a simple white T-shirt for cheap without a 2-hour search! Here, we got a good amount of clothes, and some unique pieces were on the cheaper side! Another alternative to these places are Hyaku-en Shops (or Dollar Stores). Some smaller ones you may pass by while in smaller towns, and they sell clothes for as low as 200 yen! 

Then, and what we’ve been waiting for… Harajuku! We started off exploring Meiji Shrine and HEAD’S UP. It’s a LONG walk to the main shrine! I wore platforms to go with my outfit and Yoyogi Park was a life-saver in terms of a seating area. At the shrine, though we couldn’t fully explore due to a wedding at the time, we received some Meiji paper fortunes. I believe mine was a little too on the nose and I got salty ahaha….

As for Harajuku– Takeshita Street is quite literally THE street of Harajuku, where you walk onto it right as you leave the station. Though the crowd may seem intimidating, don’t be afraid to strike though when needed! This street could be absolutely overwhelming, so sometimes our method of getting where we need to be is to practically race past everyone. Though it seems trivial, it was well worth it in the end! There were so many different places for wata-ame (cotton candy), candied fruits/tanghulu, and crepes! I tried my first ever crepe, strawberries with chocolate ice cream and syrup, and it was DELICIOUS. Words cannot explain the amount of sugar taking over my brain on Takeshita Street. Another fun thing I loved were the stores that had the accessories for some of the Harajuku styles I mentioned earlier! I saw such cute platform shoes, a perfect mix of sneaker and platform– but they didn’t have my size. Most stores only go up to around 25 cm for shoes, and I’m near 26-27. Though I decided not to sacrifice my toes for the shoes, I still very much enjoyed the vibe and compliments while there!


My recommendation: For any fashion lover or sweet tooth (like yours truly), if you’re ever in Japan, go visit Harajuku! You’ll be able to try and see things you won’t be able to try and see anywhere else! Until next time!

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