Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japan Day 3 in Harajuku and Omotesando

By Leo

We wore out feet and legs out today, but it was a ton of fun, mostly exploring Harajuku's Takeshita Dori and the lovely Omotesando Dori.

My day started out with a 5:30 a.m. run in our residential neighborhood in east Shinjuku, with heavenly cool weather and very few people out at that hour. I ran for just 30 minutes but ran hard and felt amazing.

Our family started our outing, after a breakfast at home, by playing at the great playground just a few feet from our apartment:

Chloe and Noelle climbing one of several fun structures in the playground near our apartment. We got lucky with this playground being practically right next door to us.

Here's Seth, who had a blast climbing and sliding.

We then took a couple of trains to Harajuku station, the home of Tokyo's young, hip and fashionable, with some of the trendiest teens as well as some of the famous gothic anime-inspired outfits. This is the entrance to Takeshita Dori, a tiny street just packed with people and tiny shops. We looked at a few clothes shops and got some ice cream crepes. Yum.

Eva and I in front of the Girl Loves Boy sign. Eva insisted we take a photo here. :)

After our stroll through Takeshita Dori, we turned onto Omotesando Dori, which is often compared to Paris' fashionable Champs Elysees. I've never been to Paris, but Omotesando is undoubtedly a very nice street, wide and tree-lined and packed with people and filled with some of the trendiest upscale shops in town. Chloe is pictured above in the fairly new and expensive Omotesando Hills shopping complex -- we stopped here to check out the restaurants but they all had long lines so we actually ate at Shakey's. :)

After lunch, we went to Kiddy Land. Oh my goodness. The kids (and Eva and I) loved loved loved this store. It was heaven for children, and adults with children inside them. Toys of ALL kinds were here, from all the cutest Japanese characters (seriously -- tons of cute toys) to Legos and Star Wars and Ugly Dolls and anime and Snoopy and magic tricks and puzzles and much much more. Above, Noelle fell in love with a toy puppy.

Here's Maia posing with a costume in Kiddy Land.

And Eva with one of the goth/anime chicks.

Justin with a transformers helmet.

These monkey dudes were the cutest imo.

Here we were at the end of Omotesando Dori, tired and trying to decide how we were going to go home. We ended up taking three different subway lines.

At the end of the day, we stopped at a great supermarket and stocked up on some foodstuffs (with amazing fruits!) and got some bento boxes and sushi for dinner. The kids really loved it. I had a salad and some veggie sushi -- delicious.

See more: All photos for Japan Day 3


  1. "These monkey dudes were the cutest imo"
    Um, sorry to mention this, but they're Cheburashka, the Russian national toy, first described in Edward Uspensky's stories.
    More info hereчебурашка(in Russian) and here - in English

  2. *And they most certainly AREN"T MONKEYS!!!
    (which is what I meant to say =)

  3. @hejjhog: I stand corrected. :)

    Thanks for the info! The story behind the character is fascinating!

  4. how funny that the other two comments were on exactly what I was going to comment on! :)

    I'm enjoying travelling with you!

  5. Ha, also wanted to mention Cheburashka :-)
    Enjoying your stories, Leo!

  6. Would love to know more about how easy (or otherwise) it is to eat vegetarian in Japan.

  7. @Rebecca: It's very tough to eat vegetarian in Japan. Do a google search and you'll find some listings for veggie restaurants or at least restaurants with veggie options. There's a Google Maps with plenty of listings.

    But most restaurants -- almost all -- have some kind of seafood or meat in dishes. Once I ordered what I thought was veggie pasta, only to find thin slices of meat on top.

    There are some pages with some phrases you should learn to communicate your preferences and to ask questions -- they're essential.

    I actually ate some seafood while I was there for the first time in yrs -- it was too tough to eat completely vegetarian at most restaurants.

  8. Hi, I just wanted to point out that the "goth/anime chick" in your 8th image above is a lady named Maki. She is the designer for a fashion brand called "Angelic Pretty"