walking through Harajuku, Shibuya
One of the best things about exploring a country on your own is the awesome feeling you get when you discover something amazing (or weirdly awesome). While in Tokyo, we decided to book a tour for a day just to experience the really tourist-y stuff (shrines, temples, gardens and castles) and allocated certain towns to different days to explore on our own. On our third day we took the Yamanote (山手線) JR line to Harajuku. The train ride was only 10-15 minutes from Shinagawa station.
vintage store 'chicago'? (only one of the thousands of jam-packed racks)
If you're a big fan of vintage or itching to get something unique and cheap, there are a number of cute vintage boutiques scattered throughout Harajuku St. These stores are located in the 'alleyway' streets (or corner streets) off the main roads.
Chicago is located opposite the Marc Jacobs store and has 2 levels; the lower level for men and the upper for women. The mens clothing selection is amazing and everything is reasonably priced! Shorts and shirts can be as little as ¥700 and they even have sales where you can get 3 shirts for ¥900. Amazingly enough they also sell a large range of mens and womens yukatas and kimonos from ¥525.
dresses from H&M, G2? and Romatic Standard
G2? is the first vintage store we stumbled upon and they stock a mix of both new and used clothing. It's only women clothes and they also stock a bunch of vintage bags, shoes, accessories as well. Prices aren't as cheap as chicago but the range of stuff they have is amazing! From authentic captain sailor hats to hawaiian ensembles!
Romantic Standard is a MUST even if you're not a vintage fan. The store is split in 2 sections; one is filled with supremely girly clothing (think frills, lace and pastels) and the other is for the 'cool' look (black, skulls, studs, etc). Prices are affordable and cheap. The best thing about this store is - they have the largest collection of sailor-type dresses i've ever seen! and the cutest crochet bibs and collars, and most adorable print shirts and skirts and I JUST GUSHED IN THIS STORE!
shoes from Topshop, 24/7 Love, dazzlin
One of the issues I had was Japanese shoe sizing. Most stores only carry sizes S, M, L (in this case, japanese brand stores) but department shoe stores that carry imported shoes will have the normal Euro sizing. As I have small feet I just assumed a Size S for shoes :)
OH and another notable vintage store- NADIA. It's easily recognisable (pink!) and I came across 2 stores while exploring Harajuku. They carry an amazing stocking collection (but pretty pricey at ¥2300) and their vintage leather is quite cheap! However it doesn't carry as much stock as the above mentioned stores.
daruma, lucky cats! (never give up!)