With Harajuku, Complete with Ikea & Uniqlo, Is a New Landmark Near Harajuku Station
Harajuku, Tokyo, the heart of Japanese pop culture, is getting a brand new Uniqlo and a never-before-seen variety of Ikea, inside With Harajuku.
Next to Takeshita Street, a Different Kind of Shopping
Tokyo's state of emergency is over, and in the first weeks of June 2020 a new landmark is opening in Harajuku, land of Japanese street fashion, trendy food, and wacky pop culture. While the nearby Takeshita Street (竹下通り) is a sightseeing hotspot and a known shopping center for various Japanese subcultures, and the back alleys of Ura-Harajuku are full of boutiques and vintage stores, this new facility will be a bit different. "With Harajuku" is a huge building with 13 floors and shops of all kinds, but it's largely home to big brands and enormous shopping areas. Swedish furniture giant Ikea is opening a one-of-a-kind world-first city-center shop and cafe, long-beloved British boot brand Dr. Martens is making an appearance with one of its biggest shops in Japan, and a new 300-person event hall (With Harajuku Hall) is opening inside the facility.
After 8 Years Away, Uniqlo Returns to Harajuku
The previous Harajuku Uniqlo store closed in 2012, and for 8 years the fashion-centric neighborhood went without one of the biggest names in Japanese clothing. But Uniqlo couldn't stay away forever, and they're back in a pretty big way, with a new location that they say blends "the virtual and the real." So far plans announced have included the UT POP OUT t-shirt specialty store, selling specialty t-shirts made in collaboration with a variety of artists, wall-sized screens displaying art and digital galleries full of Uniqlo styling ideas (directly connected to phone app StyleHint). This Uniqlo even sells fresh flowers.
The World's First Urban Ikea, Complete with Swedish Cafe & Swedish Convenience Store
There's no doubting Ikea's worldwide popularity, and in recent years the brand has become increasingly common around Asia. The new With Harajuku is taking it to a new level, which they're calling their first-ever city-center Ikea. Despite the dense, urban location, and a size about 1/10th of the average Ikea, this branch is still a multi-floor wonderland of Swedish design - and Nordic eats. The shop will have similar features to a normal Ikea - showrooms designed with lots of modern flair and a marketplace selling all the home goods and smaller items you could dream of, but it looks like the warehouse portion will be left out of Harajuku. You'll have to order any big furniture items for delivery! Instead, the Harajuku Ikea will have what they're calling a Swedish cafe and a Swedish convenience store, selling food to eat in, and products like instant noodles (Ikea-style!) to take home.
A Historic Ginza Cafe in a Flashy New Location
Shiseido is known as a high-quality Japanese beauty brand these days, and their products are popular all over the world. But Shiseido was originally the first Western-style drugstore in the ritzy Tokyo neighborhood of Ginza. That historic drugstore was so successful it spawned two businesses that continue to this day: the beauty brand, and Shiseido Parlour, a restaurant and cafe that grew from the drugstore's tonics. Now you can get a taste of Tokyo history at "Shiseido Parlour The Harajuku," and stock up on Shiseido beauty at the "Beauty Square."
The huge new addition of With Harajuku will undoubtedly change the face of Harajuku, and with the historic Harajuku Station initially set to be demolished after the original 2020 Olympics, it's hard to know how the neighborhood will look in the near future. The Olympics have been postponed, may be canceled, and COVID-19 is changing the economy and the world as we know it. We'll just have to wait and see how Harajuku evolves in the coming months!