The Perfect Day In Tokyo For Kawaii Fans
Ahh, Tokyo. The land of all things over-the-top — and we mean that as a compliment. If you want to dip your toes into Japan’s pop culture scene, one of the best places to start is Kawaii or かわいい,. The word literally translates to cute, and is a celebration of exactly that: all things adorable.
This itinerary is all you’ll need to explore Tokyo’s Kawaii scene from top to bottom.
Start off with a sugary breakfast at Rainbow Pancake, a tasty haven in a tucked-away corner of Harajuku, the Tokyo neighborhood that doubles as the Kawaii mothership. Be sure to load up on fluffy pancakes so you’ll have lots of energy for the exploring ahead.
Next, get your shopping on at 6%DOKIDOKI, the store known for putting kawaii on the map in the ’90s. Once you’re inside the shop’s bright pink walls, Sebastian Masuda’s rainbow creations and cutesy designs will make you dizzy in the best way possible.
[Optional Detour: If you’re really into Hello Kitty, take this time to hop the train to Sanrio Puroland, the theme park for all things Sanrio. It will take about half a day, but if your trip to Japan just won’t be complete without life-size Gudetama cartoons and a boat-themed amusement park ride of Hello Kitty’s home, you know what to do.]
As you come down from the intoxicating sugar high that is 6%DOKIDOKI, head over to Owl Village, an adorable owl cafe. (Yep, you read that right.) You’ll have a totally cutesy time with the cuddly critters. Afterword, stop into the Shibuya location of Loft to find wall-to-wall Kawaii stationery goodies worth writing home about (pun intended.)
After that, it’s time for a little more shopping. Stop by Kiddy Land, a six-floor fairytale of adorable awesomeness. Sure, it might of “kid” in the name, but this toy store is for Kawaii fans of all ages. You’ll find all kinds of stuffed animals and accessories that are only sold in Japan, so don’t hesitate to stock up.
Since today is all about indulging your inner need for sweetness, give yourself permission to have dessert before dinner and stop by Totti Candy Factory Shop. Here, you’ll be able to try the massive rainbow cotton candy of your Instagram dreams. This stuff is the size of your head, and each rainbow color packs a unique flavorful punch.
Ready to take your Kawaii love to the most die-hard level of all? Step into Kawaii Monster Cafe, the perfect cocktail spot for any dedicated fan. A candyland paradise by day, and a sexy adventure by night, the spot has everything you need to leave feeling energized and entertained.
Of course, there’s no such thing as skipping dessert on a day like this, so make a stop at Floresta Koenji to try your very own cutesy animal-shaped donut.
If you’re not ready to turn in just yet, stop by Pasela Karaoke and sing your heart out. It’s Japanese tradition, after all.
Claire Hannum is a writer, editor, and traveler based in New York City. Her writing has appeared in CNN, SELF, Health, Prevention, Racked, Adventure, and many other corners of the internet.