From Harajuku’s Cat Street to Shibuya
From Harajuku (part 1, part 2), we walked through Cat Street to Shibuya. It was a long and tiring walk! But after we reached the end of Cat Street, it just didn’t make sense for us to walk back the street to take the train. It was nearer to walk on to Shibuya. -.-
Cat Street (Hipster District)
One of the lesser known streets you can explore in Harajuku is the Cat Street. It has a vibrant street fashion culture to attract hipsters here to shop and get style inspiration. The place reminded me of a improved and magnified version of Haji Lane. Nevertheless, this is a good place to escape the thick crowd at Harajuku’s main tourist spots. So you get to enjoy your shopping in a more relaxed and less crowded environment.
The long street runs perpendicular to Omotesando Avenue and parallel to Meiji Dori (St.). You can start your journey from a bronze statue of a woman that’s beside Island Vintage Coffee and near to Kiddy Land (Omotesando Avenue).
You can find a range of shops that caters to your wants: from big mainstream brands to niche brands, from high-end pieces to affordable ones. However, the street is generally getting upmarket over the years.
When we arrived, it’s dark and some shop were already closed. I would recommend that you come earlier in the day. We didn’t really shop at Cat Street except for the cosy small shop you see in the photo above. They have many items that are pretty and affordable. The price range is surprisingly lower than the average we had seen around Japan. We bought some items and later realised they’re Made in China. No wonder. For Japanese who pride themselves with Made in Japan stuff, it’s not surprising that the only patrons in the shop are tourists. Hoho.
For those time-pressed, you can focus on a few stores based on this blog’s recommendation. With so many shops along Cat Street, I wished I had seen this list of shops before we went. A quick summary of the stores mentioned in the blog, starting from shops near the entrance:
- Journal Standard: Men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Carries its own brand and other brands including Adidas and Levi’s denim. Spot it as you past by the bronze statue.
- Opening Ceremony: High-end bold pieces for a quirky and unique individual style. Unconventional, cool and chic. Carries originals and other designers such as Band of Outsiders and Kenzo. Check out this place for fashion inspiration. Also found in New York and Los Angeles. It’s close to Journal Standard.
- Beauty & Youth United Arrows: Can be found throughout Tokyo. It carries brands such as Acne Studios and Lee and its own wide range of fashion style, from sophisticated look of sleek trousers and feminine loafers to a funky flair of leather jackets and skinny jeans. Moreover there are also home décor items and silverware. Writer’s must visit store ( 5-17-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku).
- W Closet has a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. It carries both basic and unique pieces of shoes, sweaters, long coats, etc. Their clothing is easy to wear, comfortable and reasonably priced. Writer’s must visit store.
- too cool for school: A Korean cosmetic shop that you can also find in Singapore. But if you want to compare prices, it’s near to W Closet.
- American Apparel: The US shop with its usual items such as basic sweatshirts, t-shirts and accessories. Near the end of Cat Street.
Other than shopping, what should a hipster street has? Cafes and good food! :P
Cat Street has them as well as vending food machines. For coffee lovers, enjoy a cup of coffee at Streamer Coffee Company that’s famous for is their latte art. They have outlets in other parts of Tokyo and Japan too. For more information, refer to What to Eat in Harajuku and Shibuya Tokyo?.
- 8am to 6pm (Mon-Fri, PH) 10am to 6pm (Sat, Sun) (Shibuya Branch)
- 1-20-28, Shibuya,Shibuya-ku
But if you’re looking for food, you can try The Great Burger. We had our dinner at this warm, nostalgic and playful atmosphere. The burger was super awesome and yummy!! Try if you like burgers. It’s in a quiet side street of Cat Street. For more information, refer to What to Eat in Harajuku and Shibuya Tokyo?.
- LO 1030pm. 11:30pm – 11:00pm (Weekday); 9:00am – 11:00pm (Sat-Sun, PH)
- 6-12-5 Jingumae Shibuya-ku
If burger is not your thing, you might want to try Luke’s Lobster that’s selling fresh lobster and seafood rolls (in bread). It’s near the entrance of Cat Street and it’s super crowded! We almost gave up The Great Burger for this. But the potential wait was simply too long for the cold and hungry us. Too bad we missed it because it has really good reviews online! For more information, refer to What to Eat in Harajuku and Shibuya Tokyo?.
- 11:00am – 8:00pm (Cat Street Branch. It has another Tokyo branch in Shibuya.)
- 6-7-1 Jingumae
Shibuya is a popular and colourful shopping and entertainment district. With many departmental stores and shopping complex like Tokyu, Seibu, Shibuya 109, Shibuya is a heaven for shopaholics.
Once you exit Cat Street, walk a bit more and you’ll be at Shibuya train station. Right outside of the station is a bronze statue of Hachiko.
But who’s Hachiko? Hachiko is the name of a dog known for its remarkable loyalty. It was said that Hachiko waited daily in front of Shibuya Station for his master to return from work. One day, his master died and never returned to the station, but the dog continued to wait for him at the station every day for the next nine years.
So after taking photo with Hachiko, we walked to the nearby Shibuya Crossing. Having seen so many awesome photos of Shibuya Crossing, I was excited to finally be in the center of the buzz. If you don’t know, Shibuya Crossing is the famous intersection where all the traffic lights changed colour at the same time. Hence, when the traffic light for pedestrians turned green, all traffic stops and pedestrians surged from all sides.
A good spot to observe this scrambling crossroads of life is at the second floor of Starbucks at the intersection. However Starbucks designed the store in such a way that you have to pass through their counter to buy something before you can go upstairs. Smart move, Starbucks.
Around Shibuya crossing, you will find Shibuya 109 and the entrance of Center Gai.
- Shibuya 109 is a 10-storey shopping complex with more than 100 boutiques of disposable fashion for teenage girls. However, the prices are quite high and loud music can be heard blasting on every level in the building. | 10:00am to 9:00pm (Shops); 10/11:00am to 9:00pm (Restaurants); Yoshinoya (24 Hours)
- Center Gai is a narrow pedestrian street lined with boutiques, game centers, fast food outlets, night clubs and bars.
Lastly we walked a distance from the Shibuya crossing to the Spainish Slope. It’s a staircase leading up to Parco departmental store. According to some online source, it was so named because the narrow pedestrian street resembled a Spanish street scene. So I was curious to see it, but it was a waste of our time and energy to find this.
Personally, we prefer the character of Harajuku and Cat Street as compared to Shibuya’s city standard looking place. How about you? Otherwise, do you have other places to recommend in Shibuya that will change our minds? Tell us below or on our Facebook Page or Instagram. Moreover, bookmark this page > Overview Itinerary: Hokkaido and Tokyo (Winter/Spring 2016)