Tokyo is not only the capital of Japan but it is also the Japanese capital of fashion and potentially one of the trend-setting capitals of the world.
Fashion shows move off the cat walk and onto the streets of the cities district’s. Showcasing bright, expressive and culturally impacting styles that are fascinating to all that observe it. Two of the major districts in Tokyo for fashion are Shibuya and Harajuku. They are filled with fashion conscious shoppers daily, each expressing their style that matches the district they are in.
Shibuya is the most active shopping district in all of Tokyo. It is the home of department stores and attracts a large audience of pre teens and teens. It is known for three of the most popular shopping streets in Tokyo: Spain Zaka, Koen Dori and Center Gai. Center Gai is the hub for the fashion subculture of Gyaru. People who identify as Gyaru go for a fashion glam look, usually sporting beach style hair and tans.
Shibuya attracts a lot of young people that are still trying to find their styles or are more interested in a glam-based look. Many of the styles that Shibuya cater to are very similar to Western clothing, with trends constantly changing.
Shibuya is known for its iconic shopping centre Shibuya 109 or “ichi maru kyu”. In the video I have linked below by a YouTuber called “Ines Japan” you will be able to see how large Shibuya 109 is and the many different styles it caters to.
From this video you can see how versatile the shopping options are in Shibuya, but it is still mainly targeted to a younger audience, where older shoppers usually like to avoid.
Harajuku is internationally known for its young, energetic and extreme fashion choices. This district attracts crowds of youths from ages 13 – early 20’s, each expressing their own individual interpretation of the fashion subculture that they wish to portray. Harajuku has made its way into many Western main-stream music, inspiring artists such as Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and (most famously) Gwen Stefani.
Harajuku’s streets are lined with inexpensive stores that are home to Kawaii (cute) clothing, Lolita fashion options as well as a multitude of other flamboyant options for their shoppers. In the back streets of Harajuku shoppers can find vintage clothing stalls packed with accessories and other items, this can range from older victorian clothing items (Gothic Lolita) to 80’s inspired items.
Many international fashion designers keep an eye on the Harajuku district, as it is the source for a lot of trends that can sometimes be seen entering the international fashion market.
Both Shibuya and Harajuku are fashion forward districts in Tokyo city. Each allowing the population to buy clothing and to have a space to express themselves through the outfits that they were. If you are looking for a more modern, Western feeling to shopping Shibuya is definitely the district for you, but if you are interested in the many styles and fashion expressions of Japan, you should go to Harajuku.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment if you have any questions about this topic, I would love to give you some more information if you need it. Next post will be about the culture of Kawaii and how it has influence over Japan. Thanks for coming 🙂