Friday, 11 April 2008

Day 2 Part 4 - Harajuku (原宿) / Kiddy Land

Harajuku (原宿) is a suburb that has been epitomised in popular culture as a hang-out for rebellious Japanese teenagers who like to create their own fashion style. Some fashion designers have claimed they have drawn inspiration from what they have seen on the streets of Harajuku.

On the way back from Shinbashi, we decided to stop over at Harajuku. The train station is an old one, and quite interesting in it's own way:

Behind the station is Yoyogi Park (代々木公園), where on weekends you can find lots of teenagers, and in front of the station is Omotesando Doori (表参道通り) which is a large tree lined boulevard with lots and lots of fashion shops.

This is the intersection between Omotesando and Meiji Doori (明治通り):

Omotesando seems to be one shopping centre after another, this one is called the plaza:

But there are also some truly amazing concept stores, this is the Ralph Lauren building:

The store that we specifically came to visit is of course Kiddy Land. This is their flagship store with 5 floors of toys [Note: as of 2010, this store is closed for renovation and won't reopen till 2012]

Kiddy Land is a toy store chain (we ended up visiting 3 of their biggest stores) - but with a difference - they specialise in selling "character goods" - novelty items and plush toys featuring a popular "character" (typically from anime, but not necessarily). For example, a collection of Snoopy plush dolls:

And this is a dancing Snoopy:

But of course the items we were eagerly anticipating are the ones from the Studio Ghibli animated films - we soon found them - lots of plush toys all from the movie My Neighbor Totoro (隣のトトロ):

A closeup of the Mei doll:

Even more Totoros (plus Panda Ko Panda):

And trinkets from the other movies, including Jiji the black cat from Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便)

Of course, as expected, there are lots of Hello Kitties:

And Rilakkumas:

And Doraemons (popular with young schoolkids, as Doraemon helps children who have difficulty with homework):

I like the puppy plush toys:

But let's not forget teddy bears:

Or even monkeys:

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版: 序), which is a remake of the original NEON Genesis Evangelion TV series as a set of films using the latest CG animation technology was released in 2007, so there has been a resurgence in figurines based on the show:

The movie poster was still in the shop (on the staircase):

Of course, they have Star Wars:

After Kiddy Land, we visited the (in)famous Takeshita Doori (竹下通り), which is a pedestrian mall lined with interesting shops (and people):

Pets Paradise features clothes for your dog or cat:

And this must be one of the biggest 100-yen stores we have ever seen (it's a discount store, as almost every item is priced at 100 yen - at that time roughly A$1):

An airline stewardess mannequin:

Gotochi Kitty Harajuku Edition:

Map showing where we walked in Harajuku:

View Day 2 - Harajuku in a larger map

Full album on Picasa:
[2008-04-11] Japan - Harajuku

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