Aesthetics Wiki

Harajuku Fashion refers to a wide variety of Japanese fashion styles and aesthetics originating in the Harajuku (原宿) neighborhood of Tokyo's commercial Shibuya (渋谷) district. The neighborhood has been famous for its history and reputation as the alternative fashion hub of Japan, and has a decades long history of creating many trendy and popular styles and subcultures domestically and internationally.[1] Although sometimes used interchangeabley, not all Harajuku fashion is Kawaii, Lolita and Decora.


Beginning in the 1970s, youth culture began exploding in Japan. As J-Fashion and entertainment developed into the modern age, many fashion stores and accessory shops moved from Shinjuku to the Shibuya District of Tokyo, Japan, now well known for its department store Shibuya 109.[2] Many start-ups eventually landed in the Harajuku Area, especially on Takeshita Street in the 1980s. As the decades progressed, the neighborhood became associated with the opening of many J-Fashion stores, magazines, and soon began incorporating international brands.

Harajuku became well known for its outlandish fashion around this time, when explosions in interest with western music and fashion styles inspired the development of popular alternative styles such as Decora and Lolita. Movements such as as the Takenokozoku wave helped congregate many people into the area, allowing everyday people to flock to the neighborhood and recognize it as a popular fashion site for tourists and residents.[3]

Currently, Harajuku is less known for its fashion and more for its influence as an youth-culture entertainment, retail, and general commercial district. It is the home to many cultural landmarks such as Japan's Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and the Laforet Harajuku Department Store. Still, many popular street fashions such as Decora, Lolita, etc can still be occasionally seen.

In the west, Harajuku fashion has seen some traction with Jfashion enthusiasts. In the mainstream, high profile artists such as Nikki Minaj have promoted the style, dubbing herself the "Harajuku Barbie".



Harajuku Fashion is famous for being often very decorative, colorful, and attention-grabbing. Sanrio characters are popular. Lighter styles include Kawaii, Decora, and Lolita, as well as the subgenres of these and other popular styles. Darker styles are also included in Harajuku fashion: Gothic Lolita and dark western alt are part of its fashion too, as well as some styles influenced by Visual Kei (ex: Oshare kei). The intention is to be as self-expressive as one desires, incorporating a culture of free expression.[4]


Harajuku girl

Fashion-wise, Harajuku alternative styles have great variety. Styles include Decora, various Kawaii styles (ex: Yami Kawaii), Lolita styles, Osare kei (a Visual Kei subgenre), Fairy kei, and many others. Western styles such as Rock, Goth, general Alt, etc. are very popular influences in Harajuku Fashion as well.

Harajuku fashion should not be conflated with fashion originating from other parts of Japan, which includes Gyaru (from Shibuya), Girly styles (includes Larme kei, Jirai kei from Kabukicho, etc), vintage styles (Cult Party Kei, Dolly Kei and Mori Kei from Koenji), Visual Kei, Mode, Cyber and Mizuiro, etc, though people wearing these styles can also be found in Harajuku.


TV Shows[]

  • Artiswitch
  • Urahara


  • Visual Kei
  • J-Pop
  • Kyary Pamyu Pamyu


External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.