Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Kawaii Things To Do In Tokyo

There's certainly no shortage of kawaii (cute) stuff in Tokyo. You can find a ton of cuteness without even searching for it. But if you are planning a trip to Tokyo and are looking for some of the best places for cuteness overload, here are my suggestions.


Get a Lolita Makeover at Maison de Julietta

My best friend Lauren and I had lolita fashion makeovers at Maison de Julietta in Laforet in Harajuku. It was such a fun experience! Lolita fashion can be extremely expensive so if you want to wear an adorable dress without spending a huge amount of money, a makeover is a great alternative.

My Experience: Spring Break Part 2: A Lolita Fashion Makeover and Starry Parfaits
Official English Website: Maison de Julietta
Official Japanese Website: Maison de Julietta

It's worth taking a look at the Japanese website because they have info about special deals and events that aren't on the English page.


Pet Kitties at a Cat Cafe

Cat Cafes are places where you can relax, spend time with adorable kitties, and maybe enjoy a snack or drink. The focus tends to be more on the cats rather than food. I've visited two cat cafes and one didn't have any food or drinks that I can remember and the other one just had a drink machine. I had a great time at both of the cafes.

My Experience at Nekorobi: Tokyo Part 2: Cat Cafe Nekorobi
Nekorobi's Official English Website: Cat Cafe Nekorobi
My Experience at Asakusa Nekoen: Spring Break Part 12: Sakura, Kitties, and Karaoke
Asakusa Nekoen Official English Website: Askusa Nekoen




See Pandas at Ueno Zoo

Pandas! So cute! There are plenty of other cute animals in Ueno Zoo as well. Actually, the pandas weren't even my favorite, though they were adorable.

My Experience: Winter Break Part 1: Ueno Zoo and Harajuku
Official English Website: Ueno Zoo



Paddle Around in a Swan Boat

Ueno Park has a nice pond with boat rentals. There are swan paddle boats, regular paddle boats, and row boats. The swan boats are the cutest, but the row boats are more fun in my opinion. A bit easier in a skirt too, lol.

Ueno Park is a nice place to visit on any pretty day, but it is super beautiful during sakura (cherry blossom) season. Though it is also very busy then. But surprisingly the wait for the boats was not long when I went.

My Experience With Swan Boats: Christmas Break 1: Tokyo - Imperial Palace and Ueno Park
My Experience With Row Boats: Spring Break Part 13: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Japan Guide Info: Ueno Park



Take Ridiculous Purikura Photos 

Purikura are photo booths where you can draw and add all sorts of stuff to the pictures. It will print the pictures for you at the end. Way cuter than any photo booth I've ever seen in the US.

The machines can be found in almost any arcade. Many of the larger arcades in Tokyo have a whole floor or even more dedicated to purikura. Some, including the Sega arcade near Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, even have costumes you can rent

No Puri No Life's Guide: How to Take Purikura



Win (Or Attempt to Win) Adorable Plushies in UFO Catchers 

UFO Catchers (often called claw machines / crane games in the US) are machines filled with prizes where you control a claw/grabber thing to try and win a prize. They are difficult, but not impossible. Unlike the machines in the US, the Japanese ones are often filled with really cute plushies and other stuff actually worth the money to try. The plushies I won were good quality.

My Experience: Winter Break Part 6: Christmas - Church, Kyu Furukawa, and Arcades

Also, make sure to check out gachapon machines! Put in a few hundred yen coins (usually 300) and a receive a toy in a capsule. You don't get to pick the exact one you want of course, but at least you are guaranteed to get something. They're generally nice quality. I know this is a post about Tokyo, but I want to mention that the Yodobashi Camera store in Kyoto has an AMAZING selection of gachapon machines.



Visit Disney Sea 

Disney is American, but Disney Sea is definitely worth a visit even if you have been to Disney World or Disneyland. Even though the characters are American, the park still has some interesting Japanese things such as their obsession with a teddy bear named Duffy.

The park is very elaborate and you should take time to explore the park. It has some really good rides, but the atmosphere is even more impressive.

Tokyo Disneyland is a lot of fun too, but not as worthwhile if you've been to other Disney parks or have limited time in Tokyo.

My Experience: Winter Break Part 5: Christmas Eve at Disney Sea
Official English Website: Tokyo Disney Sea



Enjoy Sakura Season 

My favorite season in Japan is actually fall, especially November. The weather is beautiful and the trees turn beautiful colors. But the cutest season is spring when the cherry trees (sakura) bloom. The weather is nice when it's not raining, but every spring I have spent in Japan has been pretty rainy.

There's a huge obsession with sakura. Stores sell sakura-themed items. Many restaurants have adorably pink sakura sweets and drinks. Some are just kind of sweet, but some are actually really good. Every year Starbucks has sakura drinks. They vary a bit from year to year (I really liked the strawberry sakura drinks one year but didn't care for the caramel sakura ones the next year) but the cake seems to be the same every year and it's tasty.

Enjoy a picnic or folic under falling pink petals in Shinjuku Gyoen or watch the hanami (flower viewing) parties in Ueno Park. If you're wanting a picnic, Shinjuku Gyoen is the better place because you will actually be able to find a place to sit. It seems like you need to reserve space ahead of time in Ueno Park.

My Experience: Spring Break Part 10: Sakura in Shinjuku and Ueno



Watch Candy Being Made at Candy Show Time

Candy Show Time is a small store that sells hand-made hard candies with intricate designs. You can watch the employees make the candy which is quite impressive. They also sometimes give out samples.

I'm not a huge fan of hard candy (when it comes to candy I prefer chocolate or gummies), but the candy is pretty good and there are many interesting flavors.

There are several locations in Tokyo, but the only one I have ever been to is on Cat Street, in Harajuku. There is also another location nearby on Omotesando, but I don't think I ever went in that one. Though I just read that it has some sort of candy kaleidoscope you can look through which sounds neat.

My Experience: Tokyo - Candy and Cuteness
Official Japanese Website: Candy Show Time



Eat Themed Food at Pom Pom Purin Cafe 

Many themed cafes pop up in Tokyo but are around for just a limited time, including Little Twin Stars and My Melody cafes. I always missed out on them. Either I wasn't in Tokyo when they were open or I didn't find out about them until they were gone. So I was very excited when the Pom Pom Purin Cafe opened up and I found out it was permanent!

The food and atmosphere are both super kawaii. The theme is very well done. Some of the items on the menu come with a Pom Pom Purin shaped cup that you get to keep.

My Experience: Final Tokyo Trip Part 2: Pom Pom Purin Cafe
Official Japanese Website: Pom Pom Purin Cafe



Eat Fancy Sweets at Q-Pot Cafe

Q-Pot makes jewelry that looks like sweets, and this cafe has sweets made to look like their jewelry which look like sweets. Haha. Anyway... their sweets are small, but cute and fancy. I went by myself, which was a bit lonely, but it would be a nice place to go with friends and get dessert and a drink after walking around Tokyo all day. You can also get takeout.

My Experience: Tokyo Part 1: A Rainy Day in Harajuku
Official Japanese Website: Q-Pot Cafe

Ahhhh! I just saw that they recently had some Sailor Moon themed sweets!



Visit a Maid Cafe

Maid cafes are restaurants where the girls working there dress as maids and act very cutely. The whole atmosphere is very kawaii!

The Maid Cafe I visited is the Maidreamin in Shibuya so it's the only one I can really recommend, but there are a lot of maid cafes in Tokyo, especially in Akihabara. The one I visited had very neat decor.

It's a very silly, but very fun experience!

My Experience: Spring Break Part 1: Tokyo Skytree, a Maid Cafe, and Bigbang Karaoke
Official English Website: Maidreamin Shibuya Digitized Cafe and Dining Bar



Eat a Starry Parfait at Milky Way Cafe 

Milky Way Cafe was one of my favorite places to get dessert in Tokyo. It's located in Ikebukuro, one of my most favorite areas of Tokyo.

The cafe is star themed. You can get a whole meal, but I've only ever had their parfaits. They have one for every astrological sign. There are plastic replicas in the window on the first floor below the cafe. So many kawaii and delicious looking parfaits! It might be a tough decision!

It's another great place to relax for a while after a day of a lot of walking.

My Experience: Tokyo - Ikebukuro, Ueno Park, Ginza, and a Cute Parfait
Official Japanese Website: Milkyway Cafe



 Eat More Fancy Sweets at Laduree

If you haven't already had a sugar overload, there's still plenty more cute stuff to eat in Tokyo. Laduree is another good place to visit. It's a French bakery specializing in macarons.

I only had the ice cream there (yum!) but enjoyed admiring the fancy sweets. I meant to go back and try something else but never got around to it.

I visited the location in Shinjuku. It's the only one I know of that has ice cream. If you're looking for the ice cream it's actually at a completely separate counter. If you're facing the main Laduree counter, head to the right (through a set of doors I think... maybe...) for the ice cream counter which is called Glaces.

My Experience: Tokyo Part 4: Shinjuku and Shibuya
Official Japanese Website: Laduree



Shop For Adorable Character Merchandise and Toys at Kiddyland 

It's certainly not difficult to find cute merchandise in Tokyo. Pretty much any souvenir shop will have something with Hello Kitty on it. But Kiddyland on Omotesando in Harajuku is a must-go store for people who want kawaii stuff. From Totoro plushies to Sailor Moon action figures, this store has plenty to make you want to spend too much money. One floor is dedicated (half and half) to Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma (and other Sanrio and San-X characters).

My Experience: Tokyo - Candy and Cuteness
Official English Website: Kiddyland



Experience Takeshita Street - Cute Stuff and Crepes!

If you've looked at any blogs about kawaii stuff in Japan I'm sure you've seen plenty about Takeshita Street in Harajuku. It's often described as some sort of crazy fashion and lolita wonderland. So the first time I went I expected to see a bunch of lolita girls. You'll usually see a few, but not nearly as many as some guides would have you believe. Some people will have some unique sub-culture fashion, but most people are dressed normally.  Also, it's extremely crowded on weekends and holidays. But it's not a bad place. It's actually one of my favorite places to shop in Tokyo. I usually enjoyed it best later in the evening.

It's kind of neat to see Takeshita at its peak (and get a neat pic at the gateway or from the stairs of the Bodyline store), but it's more enjoyable to actually shop at non-peak times. Many of the stores are very cramped so the fewer people the better.

There are a lot of neat stores, but here are some of my favorites:

Closet Child - They sell used name-brand lolita clothing and accessories. Many of the print dresses are still quite expensive, but plainer solid-color dresses aren't too bad. I got a pink Angelic Pretty dress there for about 6,000 yen I think. I can't remember for sure. It has a stain, but it's underneath a layer of ruffles so it appears like new.

Bodyline - They have cheap lolita clothing and accessories. Though make sure to check out Closet Child because some of their stuff isn't too much more and it's way better quality. Bodyline still has some really cute stuff though.

Liz Lisa - Such cute clothes!!!!! Some other locations have better selection, but I have especially good memories of this location because I bought a really adorable lavender coat there.

Calbee Plus - They have freshly-made potato chips and you can eat them with ice cream. It's weirdly delicious.

Pom Pom Purin Cafe - I talked about this super kawaii cafe above.

Crepe Stands - I can't remember the names of the ones I visited on Takeshita, but they are probably all delicious. But my favorite one is actually not on Takeshita. It's called Cafe Crepe and it's outside of Laforet, a mall.

Harajuku definitely became one of my favorite areas of Tokyo. There's crazy Takeshita street, but just a couple blocks over is Omotesando which is super fancy. Though it does have some non-fancy places like Kiddyland and even McDonald's. And Meiji Shrine is nearby which is in a wooded area and doesn't even really feel like Tokyo anymore.



Splurge on an Adorable Dress or Just Window Shop at Lolita Stores

Lolita dresses are expensive, but it's fun to just look or buy a small accessory (my best friend Lauren and I bought socks, which were very pricey for socks, but much less than a full outfit). My favorite brands are Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Angelic Pretty. I suggest going to Shinjuku Marui Annex and Laforet (in Harajuku). Both have a good number of lolita stores. Though my favorite Baby the Stars Shine Bright store is their main store in Harajuku. There's one in Laforet, but the main store is down the street.

Here's a video of their main store:




Baby The Stars Shine Bright Main Store: Address and Map
Laforet Harajuku: Official English Website
Shinjuku Marui Annex: Official Japanse Website

Unfortunately, the stores do not allow photography. This is true for most stores in Japan, though lolita stores seem especially strict. So if you want a souvenir of the fashion you saw, go to a bookstore and pick up the latest issue of Gothic and Lolita Bible.


A Couple Other Kawaii Shops I Like

Axes Femme


Another favorite clothing stores of mine is Axes Femme. Their stuff has a lot of detail but the price is reasonable. Tops are generally in the 3,000 - 4,000 yen range. They have really cute accessories too, like this rabbit on the moon necklace I bought.



I got this top there as well.

 


There are several locations in Tokyo. The one I visited the most was the one in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro. There is one in Odaiba at the Diver City mall as well.

Axes Femme Locations


Rolianne Pink Made

If you visit Odaiba I suggest checking out Venus Fort, a mall designed to look like a European town inside. There actually aren't that many stores there that I'm really a fan of, but the atmosphere is very pretty. Plus, there is a kiosk called Rolianne Pink Made that sells super kawaii jewelry. Here are some examples of the adroableness.




Venus Fort English Website
Rolianne Pink Made Website


It's Demo

A website called Tokyo Story describes it as "a new type of fashion convenience store, which has makeup cosmetics, stationary, cute snacks, and even clothe! It is a full of cute items which girls loves! There are many collaborated items with Disney, Sailormoon, and Hello Kitty! You will love it!" That does pretty much sum it up.

I discovered it a bit late so I only got to visit it a couple times. My last day in Tokyo I saw an adorable display of Little Twin Stars merchandise in the window but didn't have time to go in. So sad!!!

It's Demo Official Website

Puroland

I've never been to Puroland, so I can't really recommend it myself, but it is just too kawaii to not include in this post. I never went because it seemed too expensive for what it is - a place where I will spend a lot of money to just spend more money on kawaii food and merchandise. Also, in pictures the lighting always looks a bit dark to me which just seems a bit odd for a place like that. Like almost depressing, but not depressing because all the kawaii balances it out, lol. But I think if I ever go back to Japan I probably will visit.

Julie Gozali's Blog: Puroland Part 1
Puroland Official English Website


Conclusion

Kawaii stuff is everywhere in Tokyo and there are many other places that I didn't mention in this post. There are also other amazing places, like gardens, in Tokyo that aren't as full of cuteness but still definitely worthwhile.

I hope this list helps some visitors make their trips as full of kawaii as possible! :)

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