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Japan: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Date: 29th March 2015

My morning was spent sighting cherry blossoms aplenty — first at the East Gardens of the Tokyo Imperial Palace followed by a visit to the impressive Shunjuku Gyoen. From Shinjuku Gyoemmae station, I had to get to Harajuku station now.

Harajuku station Takeshita street
I could see the famous Takeshita street from the Harajuku station platform
Omotesando train station crowd Japan
I don’t know if it was because it was a Sunday or not, but it took a while to get out of the station. There was a whole swarm of people going in either direction.
Meiji shrine entrance Japan
First up, a quick visit to Meiji Shrine
Wine barrels Meiji shrine Japan
Along the way were these displays of wine barrels on one side
Sake barrels Meiji shrine Japan
… and barrels of sake on the other side. These barrels of sake and wine (from France) were all gifts to the emperor of the Meiji era
Old sake barrels Meiji shrine Tokyo
I’m sure they’re empty now, but they do make for an impressive display
Meiji shrine torii Japan
It’s nearly a kilometer before you get to Meiji Shrine

Entrance to Meiji shrine Japan
But I got there after nearly 20 minutes of walking
Meiji shrine trees Tokyo Japan
That’s Meiji Shrine — one of the most famous Shinto shrines in Japan
Traditional Japanese wedding Meiji shrine
There was a flurry of excitement when we were witness to a traditional Japanese wedding. The procession was led by two priests, followed by the couple, and finally family and friends.
Japanese wedding bowing Meiji shrine Japan
To be specific, this was a procession of a Shinto wedding
Japanese wedding hall Meiji Tokyo
The procession then moved on to a private hall for further marriage rituals

Unlike Indian weddings, the whole affair was very, very quiet. The only noise came from excited tourists and some Chinese tourists who were quite adamant in following the procession to take photos from a closer angle. If you are thinking about doing the same, please don’t — it’s rude and quite inconsiderate. The guards at the hall eventually had to shoo them away.

Japanese priests traditional dress Tokyo
The priests. There was another wedding party waiting their turn inside that hall in the back.
Meiji shrine open space Tokyo
I walked around Meiji Shrine some more
Wooden Meiji shrine halls Tokyo
Unlike other old temples across Tokyo, Meiji Shrine is relatively ‘new’. It opened it’s doors in 1920.
Wooden doors Meiji shrine Japan
It was time to head back
Meiji shrine forest road Japan
I walked back at a quicker pace
Torii Meiji shrine gate Japan
The Grand Torii
Yoyogi gymnasium Tokyo Japan
Back out again, I walked towards Yoyogi park next. That structure is the iconic Yoyogi Gymnasium.
Rockabillies dancing Yoyogi park Tokyo
I chose to visit Harajuku on a Sunday because it’s when pop culture groups of all kinds hang out at various spots across Harajuku and Yoyogi park

By far the coolest were these Rockabillies — guys dancing to 1960s rock’n’roll.

Rockabilly dancers Yoyogi park Japan
It was such a joy to see an American pop culture that is hardly around even in America!
Rockabilly dancers Yoyogi park Sunday Tokyo
I wondered for how many years these guys have been dancing at Yoyogi Park on Sundays

Here’s a brief video:

Cosplay girls Harajuku sunday Tokyo
There were all sorts of fashion on display — from Gothic Lolita to anime cosplay
Cosplayers Harajuku Yoyogi park Tokyo Sunday
It was all amusing to witness for the ‘regular’ folk
Cherry blossoms Yoyogi park Japan
I went inside Yoyogi Park but had no intention of walking around another park for long. I had seen enough cherry blossoms for today.
Yoyogi park cosplayers posing Tokyo-sunday
Cosplayers were all enjoying the cherry blossoms too
Man cosplay girl Tokyo Japan
Oh, ‘she’ is a he
Anime cosplay Harajuku Yoyogi park Tokyo Japan
I don’t know what characters these youngsters were cosplaying as

I walked back out and walked across a bridge when I heard some thumping music playing in the distance.

Free dance party Yoyogi park
It was an open dance concert
Sunday dance party Yoyogi park Tokyo
Does this happen every Sunday or just because of Hanami (spring) season? None the less, it was cool to see
Spring stage lineup Yoyogi park Tokyo
Seemed like mostly local DJs
Live music Yoyogi park crowd Tokyo
There was another area where a stage was setup playing some trance music

The music got me grooving for a while:

Food stalls Yoyogi park Sunday
It was a festive atmosphere all around
Dogs Yoyogi park Tokyo Sunday
Even the dogs were out to have some fun
Yoyogi park bridge Tokyo Japan
Not a bad way to enjoy the end of the week (and weekend)
Yoyogi road Harajuku Tokyo
I walked back across the bridge
Girls dance practice Harajuku Tokyo
Under the bridge were more youngsters doing all sorts of things, like these two girls practicing a dance routine
Food stalls Sunday Yoyogi park Japan
It was time to leave Yoyogi Park and see what else Harajuku is famous for

Next post(s) in this series:

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015: Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji — and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport — and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and exploring Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku — views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo — and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

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One Comments

  • Tokyo Fashion


    Nice report on your visit. The people in the park are not cosplayers, they are subculture fashion kids participating in a Sunday event called Harajuku Fashion Walk.

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