Tokyo travel tips, day 2: busy Takeshita street and quiet alleys of Harajuku


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I am enjoying your log. The pictures are great. I love how the Japanese make such use of small spaces. Walking down the street you can always see a small container garden or a beautiful tiny oasis of plants. My travels generally take me far enough from Tokyo that it can be a bit difficult to communicate in English as my Japanese vocabulary is only about 50 words. Thanks again for posting your experience.


Japanese people have had a long love affair with Eggs n Things. The one in Honolulu is basically a required destination for the scores of Japanese tourists the island receives. In fact, as a Californian, I’d never even heard of Eggs n Things, and my first encounter with the brand was in Tokyo.


thanks so much for this-- we are heading to Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka) in 3 weeks and I’ve been enjoying your posts.


Love this kind of articles.


Reading the 2nd day just makes me wish i had the means to travel to Japan even more. Definitely sounds like you have a really great time in the country and i appreciate you sharing.

Question, do you research and plan before you go to Japan on places and things you’d like to do? Last time i went somewhere i just sort of went by the seat of my pants and did very little planning, which works great for me since it wasn’t very stressful but i kind of feel like i missed out on opportunities to do and see things.


Between Kyoto and Osaka, check to see if your tour is visiting Nara. The highlight of the area is Todaiji Temple

Famous for its 65’ bronze Buddha

and the “Piranha Deer*” which roam the grounds.

These adorable little ruminants accost visitors for food. Most notably crackers you can buy for them at vendors. The deer know not to go after the vendor but simply wait until you purchase the crackers and then descend upon you with overpowering kawaii and occasional tugging at your clothes and headbutts.

  • My name for them. Not the official one given.


Those Nara deer will eat your pockets out. Very used to people and demanding food.


I would recommend some kind of planned one day tour in the cities you would want to visit. In many cities, the stuff to see is some distance from each other and transportation may be daunting. Then hit or revisit areas which sound interesting.

Tokyo is a sprawling city with a lot of stuff which can be missed without some prior planning.

Kyoto doesn’t need too much planning but a tour helps you to get to spots which are not in the main touristy area of the old city such as the Emperor’s former residence and Sanjūsangen-dō aka “House of 1000 Buddhas” (which is really freaky interesting)

Osaka is the most relaxed city there I have been to. The main shopping/restaurant area “Dotonburi” is great for just strolling around and seeing what hits you as interesting. Osaka Castle and the Aquarium are easy enough to get to.


There’s a great Ozu film called “The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice.” You might want to see it sometime and remember your meal of tea and rice.


Oh yes! They are aggressive in an adorable sort of way.

The last time I was there, I was doing a picnic with my in-laws. My sister in law was talking and had a banana in her hand. A deer walked up behind her silently and snatched the banana, peel and all!


Cool, i’ll definitely keep that in mind :smiley:


I was there one day last summer when Google recommended the shortest route from here to there to be Takeshita St. It was 3PM, just as the hordes of schoolgirls were getting out of class. Suddenly, my life was transformed into a kawaii wonderland.

Nowhere else in the world is that much cute concentrated in such a small area.


We kind of half-planned the trip. We knew we wanted to go to the mountains one day, visit an onsen, see asakusa, go to the grilled meat alley in Shinjuku, walk around harajuku. But once we were there we did a lot of searching on “interesting Tokyo neighborhoods” and the like.


Definitely not just the Japanese ones…


I like the Japanese attitude toward smoking:

  1. Generally discouraged in public areas, with dedicated usually-enclosed smoking areas, which often have active air circulation systems.

  2. Restaurants and other private places? Free to make their own rules.

Makes sense to me!


I’m really enjoying these, @frauenfelder.



That picture gave me a near PTSD flashback from when I used to live in “ura-hara” down the other end of Takeshita-dori across Meiji-dori. Having to go upstream through that mob to get to the JR station was a hateful thing.

The pictures a bit below where you talk about Rockin Jelly Bean etc is my old neighborhood.

Johnny’s is a talent management agency which handles the big ticket boy bands.


We’re doing a similar trip to DinkumThinkum but doing Hiroshima in between Tokyo and Kyoto. Its for our honeymoon and about 10 weeks off! Is Nara that great? We can’t really change our plans now but I decided we could miss out Nara since I really want to go to Miyajima Island which is close to Hiroshima. We have four days in Tokyo and two each for Hiroshima, Kyoto and Osaka. I figured Kyoto is worth two days or more by itself and we’ll have seen parks elsewhere and crafty deer at Miyajima Island. The 65’ Buddha looks to be the real pull and with our limited time I hope we made the right decision!