Shibuya is fast, bright and fashionable. This is the where the fashionable, stylish and colourful youths of Japan mingle and parade their newest looks. It is here that the legendary Shibuya 109 sits with its jaw-dropping 10 floors where shops after shop of fashion retailers target the youths of Japan. Shibuya 109 is also where the 2014 ‘Fukubukora’ sale (also known as ‘lucky bag sales’ during which retailers pack bags of items and sell it at a discounted price) took place. Throngs of girls, women and even men flocked down to Shibuya to be part of this fashion madness. Shibuya is definitely the haven for street fashion photographers and observers as day after day, it presents its eclectic mix of fashion mavens who confidently strut down its streets.
Wild, wacky and slightly outlandish to those who sport plain tees and berms, Harajuku is the hangout for the more adventurous fashion mavens looking to make a statement. Surprisingly, the only ‘Harajuku Girls’ that exists are the ones following Gwen Stefani on her tours but what you would find here is Harujuki Street style. Considered to be the centre for Japanese youth sub-culture, you would enter the world where Punks, Goths, Lolitas, and Cosplayers mix and mingle. Check out Yoyogi park, which lies in the Harajuki area, on Sundays where yet another of Japan’s fashion sub-culture groups hang out. the Rockabillies, come together with slicked back hair, vintage dresses and leather jackets reminiscent of the 50s greasers (motorbikes in tow), providing an interesting scene for both tourists and locals alike.
Touted as one of the best places to photograph Tokyo, indeed Harajuku would be an interesting place for one to experience a hodgepodge of Japan’s many fashion styles.
For those looking to be part of the Harujuku Street Style, head down to Takeshita Street, famous for selling wild subculture fashion. Similar to Harajuku would be the equally well known Shinjuku area, so make sure you visit that too if you’re into more colourful and wild fashion.
A stark contrast from Harajuku’s gaudy and buzzing atmosphere, Omotesando has a classy coolness about it. It is here that the glitz and glamour takes place. Sometime’s referred to as the ‘Champs-Elysees’ of Tokyo, high-end brands grace the streets of Omotesando, from Dior to Prada to Louis Vuitton. This street is definitely not short of interesting architecture and colourful shop displays as the shops attempt to catch the attention of the rich and wealthy. Along with the shopping, you will find restaurants that serve food on the higher end of the price range. While the main clientele are urbanites in their mid-30s and older, a 5 storey ‘Kiddy Land’ opened its doors in 2012, housing thousands of unique toys for children. Make sure to come during Saint Patrick’s Day because it is here that they yearly parades are held in the beautiful tree-lined street of Omotesando.
Japan’s biggest shopping district comprising of large shopping malls, restaurants (Sukiyabashi Jiro – the restaurant featured in the acclaimed documentary film ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ is located here) and art galleries, it is here that you’ll find high street brands such as TopShop and Zara to luxury stores like Hermes and Chanel. Somewhat similar to Omotesando, Ginza however, has a broader range and variety of stores and shops to choose from. At the turn of the 19th century, a popular phrase going around was “waste time in Ginza” because of the large amount of stores in this district. What it was really referring to was the amount of time wasted just window-shopping alone. As you walk past store after store, you would find yourself looking at bright lights, colourful displays and sometimes slightly bizarre arrangements that the fashion stores put up to market their products. Ginza is bright and beautiful and most definitely the one stop destination for the avid shopper to satisfy all shopping wants and needs!
Shimokitazawa or Shimokita for short is Tokyo’s little hipster district. With vintage and second hand shops scattered all over Shimokita, it is common to find a more muted kind of fashion that is a stark contrast from the clean and shiny suits of Omotesando and the loud colours of Harajuku. Yet, there is still a strong sense of individualism in the kinds of fashion that’s being sported and spotted here. With alleyways that are lined with indie cafes and bars, you can imagine the kind of people who hang out here to be classified as the ‘cool cats’ of Tokyo. They have an unassuming quirky coolness about them that is made even more prominent by their distressed denims, patched up leather jackets, overalls and bowler hats. Murals often grace the walls of Shimokita, adding to the artistic and bohemian vibe of the district. As you walk through the streets and alleyways, be sure to soak in atmosphere as you wander through the unique, kitschy and quirky shops of Shimokita.