Wednesday 20 March 2013

[Day 1] Exploring Harajuku (原宿) and Takeshita Street (竹下通り)

[Continue from previous post HERE] After about an hour of rest and relax (unpacking, shower and etc) in our hotel room, we were out again to exploring Tokyo city. And since we need to wake up early for tomorrow's day trip, Uncle Alan suggested we should just explore somewhere nearer to our hotel such as Harajuku (原宿) where the famous Takeshita Street (竹下通り) is located.

From some of my read up, it is best to visit Harajuku on a Sunday because many young people would gather around Harajuku Station and engage in cosplay (costume play) where they dressed up in excentric costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, etc.

And since we were only heading towards Harajuku (原宿) area, we do not intend to waste our 2-Days Metro Tickets. Instead we bought their single-trip ticket from Shinjuku (新宿) station to Harajuku (原宿) Station which is about 2 stations away at ¥130 (SG$1.70; Adult) and ¥60 (SG$0.78; Child).

The JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku (原宿) @ Shinjuku Interchange

Harajuku (原宿) refers to the area around Tokyo's Harajuku Station, which is between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. It is the center of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping for adults and some historic sights too.

At the corner of the shopping mall at Harajuku, we saw The Gindaco (銀だこ) which is a popular chain of restaurants specializing in Takoyaki (たこ焼き) and they can be easily found in many shopping centers and train stations in Japan. You could either takeaway the Takoyaki or eat it at their limited seats counter while looking at how their prepared the takoyaki.

We bought this Mentai Cheese (チーズ明太子) @ ¥600 (SG$7.80) for 8 pieces or you could order a smaller pack at ¥500 (SG$6.50) for 6. Those piping hot grilled octopus balls were topped with plenty of cheesy mayo together with Hakata Mentai. Super addicting and it taste so much different from those we had in Singapore too. After this we also bought their だんらんパック16個入り (16 pieces pack) at ¥1000 (SG$13.10).

THE GINDACO (築地銀だこ 原宿店)
日本 〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前1丁目14−24
Telephone: 03-5775-1788

Opening Hour:
11:00am - 22:00pm

Takeshita Dori (竹下通り - Takeshita Street) is the symbol of Harajuku (原宿) and birthplace of many Japan’s fashion trends. Although Takeshita Street is quite narrow but it includes major chains such as The Body Shop, McDonald, Daiso, 7-Eleven and etc as well as boutiques, cafes and fast food outlets targeting Tokyo’s teenagers.

Crowds at Takeshita Street during Sunday night around 5.30pm (18 November 2012)

Pasta Viking (バイキングパスタ) is an "All-You-Can-Eat" within 60 minutes buffet restaurant that consists dishes like; pasta, pizza, salad, pancakes, ice-cream and etc for around ¥1050 (SG$13.80) for lady and ¥1155 (SG$15.10) for man (pricing might be changeable). So if you could finished your meal within an hour, this could be a great steal to pay less than SG$15.00 for buffet meal.

Pasta Vicking (バイキングパスタ)
B1F, 1-8-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
東京都渋谷区神宮前1-8-3 石川ビルB1F
Tel: 03-3404-3740

Opening hours:
11:30am - 21:30pm

The main reason for Cousin Calvin and Wilson to visit Takeshita Street was because of this Official AKB48 store and they were to there to find some CDs and books.

Spotted a 4-story Daiso (¥100 shop) outlet at Takeshita Street but we only managed to walk around the 1st level as we are heading off to somewhere else. Now I felt a bit regretted for not looping back some props for my plating and etc :(

While waiting for cousins to get their stuffs at AKB48, I was surprised to see celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's causal dining Wolfgang Puck Express right opposite. Wolfgang Puck Express is located in Takeshita street, right across the train station and their menu mainly focuses on burgers, pizza, pasta, salads, and other fast foods.

WOLFGANG PUCK EXPRESS - Harajuku Takeshita Street
1-17-1 Yoshitomi Building 1F
Jingumae Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001 Japan
Telephone: 03-5786-4690

Opening Hour:
11.00am - 11.00pm (Daily)

Along the way we could hardly see any fastfood restaurants in Shinjuku area or around the streets that we went as compared to Singapore. So when my boy saw his favourite fast food chain at Takeshita Street (near AKB48 and Daiso stretch) he was very excited to go in and have a look at their menu.

From a glance above, you would notice that their value meals were slightly more expensive than us like example, McChicken Meal is pricing at ¥650 which is around SG$8.50 per set. Sad to say their McChicken was not very up to standard with soggy and oily deep-fried meat between the sandwich bun. And also with ¥650 you could get a bowl of decent Tempura Tendon shown below too.

After an hour and a half of shopping around Takeshita Street (竹下通り), we were all tired and hungry so we decided to grab a light dinner before heading back to the hotel to rest for the night. While searching for some bites, we stop by Tendon (天丼てんや) which is a famous tendon chain stores in Japan selling Tempura Tendons and soba noodles in less than 1000 yen.

Since we had had rice earlier that afternoon, we decided to go for soba noodles for dinner so we ordered their Soba All Star (オールスター天そば) @ ¥780 (SG$10.20). It consists yuzu fragrant hot soba plus assorted tempura like green beans, bamboo, lotus root, shrimp, scallops and squid. But if you prefer udon, choose their Ten Udon Star (オールスター天うどん) @ ¥730 (SG$9.60).

Love their handmade Soba which is so springy when bite and soup broth is light and refreshing with hint of yuza flavour. This light noodles goes well with the deep-fried tempura which balance the greasy aftertaste of the fried stuffs and also the pipping hot broth warms our body from cold night.

天丼てんや (原宿)
原宿TKビル 1F 4丁目-31-11
Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
Telephone: +81 3-5474-1618

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and to have a good rest in order to prepare ourselves for the Mount Fuji Day Tour on the next day. [To be continue........ Day 2 (19 Nov 2012): Day Tour to Mt Fuji and Grape Farm]


  1. Hi actually they phased out a similar McChicken and now they have Juicy chicken fillet(the one you had, it is supposed to be deep fried and oily), Big chicken rich cheese (no. 16 this is good) and the cheap Chicken crisp (no. 11)


    1. Hi Ellie,

      Ohhhh but then on a second thought it is really too oily and soggy :( Nvm, but i would sure give your recommend on no.16 and 11 a try on my next visit :)


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