What is Harajuku?

Harajuku is not only an area in Tokyo, but a fashion trend that has become well-known throughout the world. Learn more about this Japanese culture.
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Harajuku is actually the name for the area around Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line of the commuter rail in Tokyo.

The Harajuku region is known for its shopping and fashions. It has also become famous for the teenage girls who come dressed in cosplay outfits or fashions they invent.

The focal point of Harajuku's teenage culture is Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined with many trendy shops, fashion boutiques, used clothes stores, crepe stands and fast-food outlets geared toward the fashion-and-trend conscious teens.

To experience the Harajuku culture, visit the area on a Sunday. This is when most of the young people gather in their unique fashions.

You'll see many different styles including, gothic, cosplay, visual kei, rockabilly, hip hop and punk.

U.S. singer Gwen Stefani was so impressed with the Harajuku culture that she recorded her hit single "Harajuku Girls." She felt the culture gives youth a way to express themselves.

Gwen Stefani went on to create a Harajuku Lovers clothing line featuring Kawaii-style characters she designed -- Love, Angel, Music and Baby. She now has a children's line of the clothing.

Here are some tips for dressing in the Harajuku style: Wear what you think looks good. Don't worry about what others think. If you like it, then go for it!

Go wild with your hair and makeup.

Don't forget to layer. This is one of the hallmarks of this style of dress.

Accessorize -- add jewelry, purses, hairbands and any other items that you think will complete the look.

In addition to the unique teen culture, the Harajuku area is known for its attractions and shopping. Meiji Jingu, one of Tokyo's major shrines, is not far from the station and is located near Yoyogi Park.

Not too far from Yoyogi Park is Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Built for the 1964 Olympics by famous architect Kenzo Tange, it is now used for ice skating and volleyball competitions, concerts and other events.

Visitors should also check out the Ota Memorial Museum of Art and the Nezu Museum. Both have impressive Asian art collections.

Omotesando, an avenue sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees, is where you can find cafes, restaurants and famous designer shops.

Also located on this street is Kiddy Land. This six-floor toy store is one of the most famous and popular in Tokyo.

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