Every Sunday, young people dressed in a variety of styles including gothic lolita, visual kei, and decora, as well as cosplayers spend the day in Harajuku socializing. The fashion styles of these youths rarely conform to one particular style and are usually a mesh of many. Most young people gather on Jingu Bridge, which is a pedestrian bridge that connects Harajuku to the neighboring Meiji Shrine area. 
Harajuku is also a fashion capital of the world renowned for unique street fashion. Harajuku street style is promoted in Japanese and international publications such as Kera, Tune, Gothic & Lolita Bible and Fruits. Many prominent designers and fashion ideas have sprung from Harajuku and incorporated themselves into other fashions throughout the world.
Harajuku is also a large shopping district that includes luxury international designers, Harajuku native designers, and affordable shops catering to youths.
The area has two main shopping streets, Omotesandō and Takeshita Street (Takeshita-dōri). The latter caters to youth fashions and has many small stores selling Gothic Lolita, visual kei, rockabilly, hip-hop, and punk outfits, in addition to fast food outlets and so forth.
Omotesandō has recently seen a rise in openings of up-scale fashion shops such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada. The avenue is sometimes referred to as "Tokyo's Champs-Élysées". Until 2004, one side of the avenue was occupied by the Dōjunkai Aoyama apāto, Bauhaus-inspired apartments built in 1927 after the 1923 Kantō earthquake. In 2006 the buildings were controversially destroyed by Mori Building and replaced with the "Omotesando Hills" shopping mall, designed by Tadao Ando. The area known as "Ura-Hara", back streets of Harajuku, is a center of Japanese fashion for younger people — brands such as A Bathing Ape and Undercover have shops in the area.
Harajuku as it is now is traces its root to the end of World War II. U.S. soldiers and their families began to occupy the area known as Harajuku. It became an area where curious young people flocked to experience a different culture.
In 1958, Central Apartments were built in the area and were quickly occupied by fashion designers, models, and photographers. In 1964, when the Summer Olympics came to Tokyo the Harajuku area was further developed, and the idea of “Harajuku” slowly began to take a more concrete shape.
After the Olympics the young people who hung out in the area, frequently referred to as the Harajuku-zoku, or the Harajuku tribe, began to develop a distinct culture and style unique to different groups and the area. From this distinct style grew the culture of Harajuku as a gathering ground for youths and as a fashion mecca.
The term "Harajuku Girls" has been used by English-language media to describe teenagers dressed in any fashion style who are in the area of Harajuku. This fashion infuses multiple looks and styles to create a unique form of dress. One of these styles, Kawaii, came to fame in the 1990’s. Kawaii became a popular phrase that meant something was cute or pretty. Kawaii was a form of resistance in that the style and culture associated with it were not seen as attractive by an older generation.  This idea of Kawaii was a distinct youth culture separate from the traditional one in existence.
The cyber-punk look takes its influence from gothic fashion and incorporates neon and metallic colors.  However, it isn't as popular as it was in the 1990s.
Lolita Fashion was created in Osaka. It is a play on Victorian era princess fashions and ripped gauzed gothic fashion. Like Kawaii, Lolita also revolves around being cute and innocent.  By wearing and promoting these styles performers allowed the fashions to flourish because fans were eager to replicate their idols.
Punk style in Harajuku is more of a fashion than a statement.  Its fashion mainly consists of dark colors, plaid, chains, and zippers. Punk style is also one of the more gender-neutral fashions in Harajuku. 
Ganguro is a style that symbolizes the average American teenager. The term translates to ‘black-faced’. The basic look is what Westerners would call a ‘California girl’, with bleached hair, dark skin, fake eyelashes and nails. No one really is sure how Ganguro came to be. Many assume it originated in the early 1990’s, when singer and performer Janet Jackson was popular.
Ura-Hara is another section of Harajuku, which caters to a mostly male population interested in a hip-hop, graffiti, and skater fashion and culture.  Ura-Hara is seen as the opposite of Harajuku in that it’s more hidden and reserved. 
In addition to Harajuku is its counterpart, known as Visual Kei. this refers to the style of bands and their fanbase. The term Visual Kei literally means a ‘visual style of music’. The melodies of the music these bands perform often resemble eighties rock, heavy metal, or techno; in some cases, the sound is a good mix of the three. The fashion began in the 80’s, when American metal bands were popular. Japanese fans loved how their idols would dress frantically and paint makeup wildly on their faces, so they began to emulate their style. This mimicking is also known is costume play, or cosplay.
The Harajuku culture has spread throughout the globe thanks to artists such as Gwen Stefani and the contents from her album Love. Angel. Music. Baby., as well as her Harajuku Girls dancing entourage, which performs along with Stefani on live performances and music videos. This also lead Stefani to create a Harajuku-related fashion accesories brand known as Harajuku Lovers.
American hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj regularly refers to herself as "Harajuku Barbie".
Countries like Colombia have embraced this culture and arrange meetings under the same fashion as their Japanese counterpart, frequently held at the surrounding area of the Virgilio Barco Library in Bogota.
For the young and fashionable teenager, spending time in Harajuku (原宿) on the weekends is practically a necessity. Even older folks will want to visit the area, though, to see Meiji Jingu shrine and Yoyogi Park.
The broad, tree-lined avenue leading downhill from the southern end of the JR station is Omote-sandō (表参道), which leads to the upscale Aoyama district. The street is full of cafes and clothing stores. For teenagers, though, the place to be is Takeshita-dori, which is a bustling narrow street several blocks to the north.
Nearby Yoyogi Park (代々木公園 Yoyogi-kōen) was the site of the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan, on December 19, 1910, by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, following which it became an army parade ground. During the postwar occupation, it was the site of the Washington Heights residence for U.S. officers. It later was selected as the site for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the distinctive Olympic buildings designed by Kenzo Tange are still nearby. In 1967, it was made into a city park. Today, the park is a popular hangout, especially on Sundays, when it is used as a gathering place for people to play music, practice martial arts, etc. The park has a bike path, and bicycle rentals are available. As a consequence of Japan's long recession, there are several large, but surprisingly quiet and orderly, homeless camps around the park's periphery.
JR Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line is the obvious way to get to Harajuku. The station is very conveniently located next to both the entrance to Meiji Jingu and the beginning of Omote-Sando.
Meiji-jingu-mae Station (on the Chiyoda and Fukutoshin subway lines) has exits onto Meiji-dori and right in front of the entrance to Meiji Jingu, next to JR Harajuku Station. The subway is better than JR for getting here from central Tokyo, but the Yamanote Line is easier if you are coming from Tokyo Station. The nearby Omotesando Station (on the Ginza and Hanzomon subway lines) is located further down Omote-sando near the intersection with Aoyama-dori. Omotesando station has a variety of boutiques and restaurants located in the underground station complex.
Harajuku is only 15 minutes away from Shibuya by foot, just follow the train tracks along Koen-dori from the scramble crossing. (You should pass Tower Records on your right and the Yoyogi National Gymnasium on your left.) If you have more time, see the suggested walking tour below.
If it's Harajuku's youth culture you want to see, don't even bother unless it's a Sunday. Each group stakes out its territory around Yoyogi Park (代々木公園 Yoyogi-kōen).
An interesting and recommended walk will let you experience Harajuku and Shibuya, and all of the trendy places in between.
Starting from the Takeshita exit (竹下口) of JR Harajuku station, walk straight away from the station down Takeshita-dori (竹下通り), where you will almost certainly run into the mingling pedestrian crowds. When you reach the first major crossroad, Meiji-dori (明治通り), turn right.
When you reach the tree-lined Omote-sandō, turn left. There are no obvious Omote-sandō street signs, but you will note a 2d story office with that name above the pink "Condominium" store on one of the corners. (And no, that business does not sell all sizes of condominium units.)
Omote-sandō is home to the highest of high-fashion stores, including Ralph Lauren, Coach, and Yves St. Laurent.
The approximate half-way point is where Omote-sandō meets Aoyama-Dori (青山通り). There is very little of interest beyond this point, so one option is to walk back down Omote-sandō and return to Harajuku. If you elect to go forward then turn right on Aoyama-Dori and you will eventually pass United Nations University on your right, and Aoyama Gakuin University on your left, before continuing down and finishing up at Shibuya's world-famous pedestrian crossing.
Allow yourself approximately two hours for this walk.
Harajuku and Omotesando are home to many upscale beauty salons, with prices to match.
Omote-sando has occasionally been dubbed the Champs-Elysées of Tokyo, which is true at least for the general price level of the trendy cafes and eateries along the road.
The must-eat item of Takeshita-dori is the Harajuku crêpe. It's a treat of a fresh-made crêpe rolled into a cone and stuffed mostly with whipped cream and other goodies such as strawberries, chocolate, even whole slices of cheesecake; the more adventurous options including tandori chicken. Just stroll down the street and you will see four or five different shops. Most flavors cost less than ¥500.
In terms of eating a meal in Harajuku, the vast majority of restaurants serve Western or Indian food. If it's Japanese food you're looking for, you're probably best off eating before or after Harajuku, or eating at the sushi place opposite Meiji-Jingu-Mae station.
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