Japan is famous for its unique traditions and Tokyo is often discussed as the city of the future - so you can understand the world's desire to experience for themselves how the two are combined. Tokyo is a city that doesn't disappoint.
The city does an amazing job fitting so much into the densely populated, earthquake-prone area - with its 13 million+ population Tokyo will never leave you bored.
At night the neon-lit streets still look like an 80's sci-fi film set, straight from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. It's crowded, things are written backwards, the trains run on time, there is no litter and barely any crime - prepare for the ultimate culture shock.
Style and Culture
Where should you go?
This was one of the most exciting areas for trends! Harajuku (原宿) is the area around Tokyo's Harajuku Station, between Shinjuku and Shibuya. It is the centre of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and exciting fashion styles - it's pretty cool.
Some of our fave recommendations are: Pancake days, the hedgehog cafe, design festa gallery & takeshitadori!
There was also a huge selection of luxury streetwear stores, a lot of which seemed to be pioneering of a lot of the western street wear trends we have seen recently.
In the West you probably have already heard Gwen Staffani (somewhat controversially) singing about 'Harajuku Girls' but Harajuku is much more 3 dimensional than that - it is an exciting area which has many subcultures of both Men and Women.
Here are some of the subcultures you might expect!
Cosplay, or 'costume play' involves assuming the persona of a well-known character from a movie, game, band or manga (comic book). This one is pretty big in America & the UK too.
Embodying a modest look based on Victorian-era fashion. The typical Lolita wears a cupcake-shaped knee-length skirt with petticoats and knee-high stockings, though the style often includes full-length skirts, corsets and headdresses.
Inspired by the punk-rock era, the punk style features all the hallmarks of rebelliousness: leather, piercings, chains, zippers and boots, with clothing generally in dark colours or plaid.
A term transliterated from the English word “gal,” gyaru style is typified by an overtly childish, girly look, often seen as a caricature of the typical American teenager. Bleached or dyed hair, and garishly decorated makeup and nails are de rigueur.
Ganguro style (roughly translated as black face) takes the girly-glam gyaru style to a whole new level. You can tell a ganguro girl by her deep artificial tan, hair dyed orange, blonde or silver and black-lined eyes surrounded by white eyeshadow. This look is often accessorized with facial gems and stickers, false eyelashes, platform shoes and brightly coloured clothing.
What should you go see?
The street style.
Like many islands, being isolated from the rest of the world for so long has allowed Japan to develop a unique culture. Today they pull more and more influences from the western world, this combined with their own style and traditions makes for an amazing and fresh fashion scene.
Here are some of our favourites spots:
The Japanese have a knack for taking a simple, often dull concept; reinventing it and turning it on its head. One of our favourite things to do is take a walk around all the cosmetic and convenience stores and marvel at all the alien packaging and product.