Japan trip – Harajuku

This being the last day of our Japan trip there was only time for one more place out of a few others we have yet to explore (Nikko, Kamakura, Harajuku),  Though Nikko with its beautiful Chuzenjiko Lake would be my choice, Harajuku too beckoned with images of its quirkily dressed youngsters.  According to my guide, these kids would usually dress up in their fancy best and gather there every Sunday. 
Nikko which is located further up north would require quite a bit of travelling, about 2 hours from Shinjuku Station and an additional hour to reach the lake by bus.  In view of the travelling time, one should start off early and preferably stay overnight to fully enjoy its attractions.  As much as I was tempted to select Nikko, the thought of those extra 3 hours each way and for a day’s trip didn’t seem such a great idea.  Harajuku was just a couple of stops from Shinjuku and about 10 mins away so Harajuku it shall be.
As I did not check the train line properly, we ended up on the wrong train going in the opposite direction.  I knew Harajuku was only 2 stops from Shinjuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line so was wondering why the train wasn’t stopping as it zipped past a couple of stations …. and where was that digital display with English announcements of station stops above the train doors?  When the train finally stopped at one of the stations, we quickly alighted and took the train on the opposite track back to Shinjuku Station.  Finally got the right train from the right platform and got to Harajuku.
On exiting the station, we crossed over to the opposite side of the road.  Now should we turn to the right or left?  As mentioned in my earlier post, I should have got a proper Tokyo map and not rely on those tourist guide booklets which merely provide some general info and direction.  In the end, we just took a chance and followed the crowd to the left …. and ended up at one really crowded street with shops on both sides which stretched into the distance.  Unknown to me at that time, we were right smack in the popular teenage shopping area of Takeshita Dori. 
As we explored the various shops along this stretch, I was wondering where those Harajuku kids could be.  I did catch sight of a couple of them among the crowd but most were just the usual shoppers.  Takeshita Dori is just one shopping stretch and if one has the energy, one can walk all the way to the more upmarket shopping area of Omotesando (which my online guide referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees).  Some of the other listed attractions are the Ota Museum and the Togo Shrine. 
A word about Japanese fashion …… tights and hats are very common apparel among the ladies. 
                      Harajuku Station                        One of the more interesting shops offering fanciful clothing
Eye-catching shop with its wares displayed on the outside wall and up the stairs to its 2nd level.  Tried one of these crepes with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream
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