Harajuku is famous for a number of reasons. West of the station is the Meiji Shrine, a large Shinto shrine dedicated to the memory of the deified Emperor Meiji who died in 1912. It’s a major tourist site and definitely worth seeing, but one that I ticked off on my first visit twenty years ago.
North east from the station is Takeshita Dori, a pedestrian street that is ground central for teenybopper fashion in Tokyo. To the south east is Ometesando, another major shopping street lined with boutiques.
And south west is Yoyogi Koen, Tokyo’s equivalent to Hyde Park or Central Park.
My Google map is here.
However, we’d just come to eat Ramen at one of my buddy Shinsaku’s favourite noodle shops…
Kyushu Jangara Ramen Harajuku (High Elementary B), 1 Chome-13-21 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001, kyushujangara.co.jp
Kyushu Jangara Ramen is a small chain with seven locations around Tokyo. Their ramen style is from the island of Kyushu where people favour a pork broth base known as Tonkotsu, which also just happens to be my favourite. Veggie and vegan broths are also available here.
This branch is very popular and we had to wait for fifteen minutes or so on the staircase leading up to the restaurant. It was worth the wait though for the spicy deliciousness served up. You can choose to add on toppings such as boiled egg, char siu pork, scallions etc and we had pretty much everything. I had a rack of pork Gyoza dumplings on the side as well.
After eating we went for a stroll across Yoyogi Park. Back in the 90s the paths through the park were lined with musicians playing live to passers-by every weekend. You would see hi-energy pop groups in front of big troops of boisterous kids all doing the hand jive in unison. Or a saxophone player playing to no one in particular. Even the neo-fascists would turn up to regale anyone who would listen (no one did). As I recall, the city government decided to ban or place restrictions on all this as it was perhaps getting out of hand, but Google tells me you can still occasionally hear solo musicians playing.
On the day we went, only the rockers were still there, doing their thing in front of portable speakers. It was fun to see they’d got their kids jiving as well. Rock & Roll, as they say, will never die.
On the other side of the park you’re getting into the outskirts of the northern end of Shibuya. There’s a good little bakery here if you fancy a bit of dessert…
Nata de Christiano’s (Elementary B), 〒151-0063 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, 渋谷区Tomigaya, 1 Chome−14−１６ スタンフォードコート103, takeaway from 10am, www.cristianos.jp
As regular readers will know, I adore Portuguese custard tarts. Egg custard in crisp puff pastry, dusted with icing sugar and sprinkled with Ceylon cinnamon is one of my favourite things in life. Cristiano’s do a pretty good version. Ever so slightly overdone on the day I went but still very tasty (B).
Into deepest, darkest Shibuya next…