Cat Street-Harajuku – Vintage Fashion

by Mari.K - Japan Licensed Guide
(74) Reviews

Many foreigners are visiting Cat Street. Why? Cat Street in Harajuku is a birth-place of various fashion trends.

After World War II, there used to be a residential area for the US Air Force called Washington Heights, located on the back of Meiji Shrine. More than 2,000 people lived there.

Cat Street-Harajuku – Vintage Fashion

Their families used to walk and shop around this area, the back streets of Harajuku. Then, Washington Heights was renovated to Olympic Athletes' village for the First Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and later on became Yoyogi Park. Furthermore, this area was designated as an academic district, since it has a lot of schools, libraries and educational facilities; there are no amusement establishments like Pachinko Parlors. All these transformed the area into a haven for creators, designers and artists. 

At Jingumae Crossing, you can see a tall brown building called Tokyu Plaza Harajuku, which used to be Harajuku Central Apartment. This apartment was the birth-place of Harajuku culture. Famous musicians, copywriters, magazine creators and fashion designers used to live there. Also, fashion designers such as Kansai Yamamoto, Junko Koshino and Comme de Garson’s designer Rei Kawakubo and many others used to work in this area.

I think that Japanese fashion designers possess a unique cultural perspective and sensibility. After World War II, Japanese designers have absorbed foreign cultural values and influences, infusing them into existing indigenous patterns and re-creating their own cultural uniqueness. That’s why Japanese fashion designers are able to exhibit their creations on Paris Fashion week.

In Harajuku, Cat Street is a must to visit. Despite its name, this trendiest street has nothing to do with cats. There used to be a ditch like a narrow stream from Harajuku to Shibuya. There were small shops along the ditch. However, in preparation for the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the government covered the ditch and made a narrow street on it. Since then, this street has attracted many visitors not only from Japan but also from all over the world.

On Cat Street, there are various kinds of shops and restaurants. Cat Street is famous especially for Vintage. Vintage clothing is more than just “old used clothes.” Vintage can be as trendy and stylish as those being sold in retail shops.

Why do vintage clothes appeal to customers?

  1. By wearing Vintage, you will stand out because you will never find another person wearing the same outfit.
  2. Their quality can also rival that of current ones. Most Vintage items even have better quality because they were not mass-produced.
  3. Every vintage garment comes with a story, art and history

Cat Street-Harajuku – Vintage Fashion

Two years ago, a retired English professional footballer, David Beckham, visited one of the vintage shops on Cat Street. Also, an American singer, Lady Gaga, has visited one of funky shops in Cat Street several times.

Why do you think famous celebrities fly all the way to Japan to purchase Japanese Vintage? Vintage products selling in Tokyo have good reputation because they are washed, ironed and neatly folded, which shows Japanese sensitivity. I think there is another reason. Japanese shop owners have high taste in fashion and a good sense of aesthetic, so they collect only the finest products. That's why on a closer look, vintage is more than just fashion. It's also about history, timeless beauty and culture—and all these converge on Cat Street. 

If you plan to visit Tokyo, it would be my great pleasure to guide you. I will explain to you our fashion culture further. My tour website is


Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience. Let's explore Japan Together.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now


Licensed Guide
(74) Reviews

Related Blogs

In Narita, you can enjoy a historical town with cherry blossom from late March to mid April

by Mari.K
If you have spare time more than three hours at Narita airport, you can visit Japanese old temple called Narita-san, Shinshoji and tradition...

Hello Kitty - Kawaii Culture

by Mari.K
Famous actresses, movie stars, singers, like Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga enjoy wearing Hello Kitty outfits. Hello Kitty is so famous in the w...

ASIMO Robot Demonstration in Tokyo

by Mari.K
Today, March 6th, 2016, I visited the Honda Welcome Plaza at Aoyama and enjoyed ASIMO demonstration. ASIMO is one of the world’s most well-k...

My town’s festival "The Sutra of Great Wisdom of Thunder" in February - Dragged-up Bearers

by Mari.K
My town festival called ”Ikazuchi Dai-Hannya” is held the 4th Sunday of every February. About 50 young and old men who dressed up like women...

Tsukiji Fish Market

by Mari.K
Yesterday, I guided Australian family to Tsukiji fish market. Father and his son (12 years old) came from Singapore for his son’s spring vac...

“Safety” is One of the good points in Tokyo, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said in GSW 2017

by Mari.K
Global Summit of Women (GSW) was held in Tokyo from May 11-13, 2017. I enjoyed attending and got stimulated a lot. More than 1300 ladies ove...

Tours by Guide

Plan your trip to Tokyo with Mari.K

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Send a message

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Fabulous first day in Tokyo with Mari. ”

8 months ago Traveler: Kate -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Mari was polite, very interesting, personable, and knowledgeable. She was very thoughtful in providing us all with surgical masks for protection during the corona virus pandemic. Mari was helpful in providing helpful tips for the rest of our time planned in Tokyo. I highly recommend utilising Triplelights and booking Mari whilst in Tokyo. It was a great way for us family of five to see some of t...
read more

“ Very Helpful Guide ”

9 months ago Traveler: Josipa -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Mari was a lovely lady who had a personalised note waiting for us at our hotel. She met us there and was adaptable for our first day to organise our rail and metro passes as well. She took us to an amazing lunch spot and was very patient with my tired boys. Mari would probably be better suited to a couple, as my boys were a challenge, though she was very kind and did her best. Thank you Mari for a...
read more

“ Amazing Night Tour with Limited Time ”

9 months ago Traveler: Mary -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Due to our limited time and in the evening, hiring a tour guide (Mari) was our best choice to get the most out of our short stay. Mari was friendly, professional, and well versed in the history of Narita and Japan in General. Mari assisted/guided in storing our luggage, transit and check-in at our hotel even before our tour started. Once we began, we walked through Narita and stopped by many place...
read more

“ Very nice and recommended ”

11 months ago Traveler: Milan -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Mari was very helpful and patient in taking us through our trip. She made the effort to pick us up from hotel. She also explained the history behind the various places we visited. We told we are vegetarian and she found a great lunch place on the tour. Highly recommended.
read more

“ Best way to spend a Narita Airport layover & experience Japanese culture! ”

11 months ago Traveler: Lisa -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Mari helped me make the most of my layover, very efficiently introducing me to Japanese culture. In just four hours, she introduced me to Japanese pastries, we toured a gorgeous temple and grounds, attended a tea ceremony, visited a shrine, strolled the very quaint and historic town of Narita, shopped for personalized chopsticks and other crafts, and ate delicious ramen. Throughout, Mari provid...
read more

“ excellent 4-hour tour with Mari ”

Very Good
11 months ago Traveler: Davy -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Mari is a very cheerful and experienced tour guide. She brought us to Tsukiji and showed us all the interesting stores and places at the market. She narrated the interesting stories and events that happened at Tsukiji. Instead of queuing for hours to try quality sushi at the market, Mari steered us to a little sushi shop, Sushi Cho, a few blocks from Tsukiji which sells excellent quality sushi wit...
read more

“ Amazing day trip to Nikko ”

11 months ago Traveler: Michelle -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

We could not have experienced Nikko in one day without Mari. She knew all the special sights and could explain the history and rituals to us. She let us take our time to explore and answered all of our questions. I would highly recommend for a tour of Nikko and any other tour she offers.
read more

“ Exceeded expectations ”

11 months ago Traveler: Gloria -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

We could not have asked for a better guide. Via emails, Mari determined our interests well ahead of time, and prepared an itinerary that not only included sights we requested but also introduced us to some "hidden secrets" that made the tour very special. She is very knowledgeable on all matters of Japan (even though our focus was on historical art and architecture) and enlightened us greatly on ...
read more

“ Narita Town Tour During transit ”

1 year ago Traveler: Robert -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Excellent, knowledgeable, professional and experienced lady
read more

“ Mari is the Tokyo guide ever!! ”

1 year ago Traveler: David -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Mari was an amazing guide!! We had the best time touring Tokyo with her. She taught us so many things. We got to visit Temples and Shrines and we loved touring the market with her. Mari made everything a fun adventure. She taught us how to use the subway, showed us how to make Wasabi, and even made sure we arrived at the Meiji Shrine in time to see a beautiful wedding. We had a proper Japanese lun...
read more

Related cities