Strolling through Harajuku, Tokyo

After an awesome day in Kamakura, filled with big Buddhas, bamboo groves, and matcha ice cream, the sun was still going strong when Amie and I arrived back in Tokyo, so we decided to make the most of the remaining sunshine and head over to Takeshita Street . . . an activity we’d attempted a few days before and had gotten rained out! On our way to Takeshita Street, we realized we were walking past Yoyogi Park (thanks Google maps!) so although it was later in the day and the park was closing soon, we decided to make a quick pit stop to visit the beautiful Meiji Shrine.Having seen several shrines already that day in Kamakura, we were a bit desensitized to the majestic structure, but the gardens of Yoyogi Park still held tremendous intrigue.The Meiji Shrine, built in the early 1900s, is located in a forest that covers more than 170 acres – a serene gem located in the otherwise bustling Shibuya district of Tokyo.The gardens and shrine emit a quiet sense of peace, and we enjoyed strolling around as the sun disappeared. After checking out the shrine, we passed by a food truck selling what looked like fire-roasted marshmallows on a stick!!

We decided one of these guys would make the perfect pre-dinner snack!We were expecting an ooey, gooey molten sugar mess . . . So you can only imagine our surprise when we bit in and discovered a flavorless mouthful of fluff, completely devoid of sugar!! Turns out these guys were not marshmallows but in fact ‘dango’, which are Japanese dumplings made from rice flour.And that deliciously gooey caramel sauce? It’s actually a soy glaze . . . yikes!We each had one bite and were immediately both like . . . nope! not for us! But at least we tried ;) Perhaps if we had been in a different mind state, these would have been delicious. But it was like accidentally sipping milk when we were expecting water – very surprising and not what our tastebuds had anticipated what so ever!

That said, we didn’t *starve* due to lack of sugar. After leaving Yoyogi Park, we finally walked over to the nearby Takeshita Street, and the first item of rainbow-colored business on our list was cotton candy!Totti Candy Factory is a sight to behold, with some of the cutest pastel-colored confections you will ever see!There were bunnies and bears. And buckets of rainbows, ready to take home!But by far, the show stopper was the cotton candy, which grows and grows until it’s three times the size of your head and resembles a gargantuan Lisa Frank fantasy.
We took our delicious (very sweet!) snack down to the street and dug in. . . . taking pictures before we totally destroyed our bounty.
It’s a hat!It’s a mustache!It’s the best cotton candy you’ve ever had!

After we devoured our colorful, fluffy sugar, we browsed the shops of Takeshita Street, many of which were starting to lock up for the day.

As it was an odd hour, post-lunch and pre-dinner, we decided to check out Pompompurin Cafe Harajuku for our last stop of the day. I had read online that the lines and wait at this *adorable* cafe could be a nightmare, but as it was an awkward mealtime, we breezed right in and were seated right away!Pompompurin sweet golden retriever dog introduced by the Japanese company Sanrio (the makers of Hello Kitty) in the mid 1990’s. And so you can imagine, the Pompompurin Cafe is overwhelmingly adorable – just like the little mascot himself! The walls are yellow and welcoming, with adorable cat and dog characters everywhere you look!!While the decor is a home run, is the food at Pompompurin Cafe good? Well, I guess that question is all relative.If you’re a six-year-old kid, why yes, this could very well be the best meal of your young adolescent life.And yeah, I’ve gotta give it to Pompompurin Cafe, the food was CUTE. But we definitely wound up having a *second* dinner after this meal, because my dish was much more photogenic than edible!That said, how could you mutter anything but kind words to this adorable little face?!

Just another wonderful afternoon in Japan, discovering ALL of the cute things!!

xo Ali

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