Two Fashion Streets of Tokyo

Takeshita Dori of Harajuku vs Jizo Dori of Sugamo

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

There isn’t really anything like shopping street culture in my country. Yes, there are lots of shops, but there aren’t any age-oriented shopping streets or centres the way Japan has. Of course, fashion is for all ages and in Tokyo I found a fashion street aimed at youth and one for ladies of mature age.

On the very first day of my very first visit to Japan, my friend took me to Takeshita Street in Harajuku where I was really shocked by the large crowds of young people all dressed in the most imaginative of styles! All kinds of fashions were displayed in the shop windows with an incredible range of clothes, hats and accessories, and young people shouting out advertisements and invitations to purchase. The whole atmosphere of the street was lively, energetic and quite festive. We visited speciality stores for fans of J-pop groups like ARASHI, KAT-TUN, Kis-My-Ft-2 and others, all selling photos, posters and accessories of the ‘idols’. I don’t remember if I picked up something or not on my first visit, but I later returned to Takeshita for some shopping several times.

New fashions
New fashions

One of the most fascinating things about Tokyo is its ‘cosplay’ culture and the fact that you can always meet people (not always young by the way ) dressed for ‘cosplay’ on the streets. My first reaction was one of surprise but I soon became used to the sight and found it nice. You will find many cosplay outfit stores along Takeshita Dori as well as many cafés and other attractions for youth. You won't find many elderly people along Takeshita Dori.

Fashionable young people on Takeshita Dori
Fashionable young people on Takeshita Dori

You will find many, though, on Jizo Dori in Sugamo. Ironically, I visited Jizo Dori on the last day of my last visit and bumped against large crowd of people across many ages! A festival was underway with live music and lots of happy people. You know, I even spotted Jizo Dori underwear for sale that was bright red and believed to bring good health and strengthen to its wearer... I used to think it was a joke but it wasn’t - the colour red followed me everywhere! Along with that ‘unusual’ underwear, all sorts of goods were available and I picked up a nice bag, a purse made of Japanese silk, a jacket, as well as some souvenirs and treats. I wish I had checked out Jizo Dori earlier!

A nice souvenir shop
A nice souvenir shop

Young or old, Japan is a shoppers paradise with something for everybody. Takeshita Dori and Jizo Dori are just two of the more famous examples.

Getting there

Takeshita Street starts right across the road from the Harajuku Station exit on the JR Yamanote Line. Jizo Dori is a short walk form Sugamo Station on the JR Yamanote Line.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S a year ago
The red pants store, Maruji, is an institution on Jizo Dori.

Elizabeth S a year ago
Sugamo Maruji Japan’s Number One Red Pants!
Sleiman Azizi a year ago
Even if you don't buy anything, just visiting and catching the vibe makes for a fascinating experience.
Elena Lisina Author a year ago
Yes, but always pick something, at least in DAISO! ; )
Kim B a year ago
An interesting contrast!
Elena Lisina Author a year ago
Yes, and it is what surprised me as we don't have such districts here. Also, when I went to watch boy band KAT-TUN the audience was only female, no men or boys! That was amazing as we always have mixed public.