Cat Street/Harajuku – Vintage Fashion

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

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

Cat Street/Harajuku – Vintage Fashion

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

Their families used to go around this area, back streets of Harajuku. Then, for the first  1964 Tokyo Olympic, Washington Heights were renovated to Olympic Athletes’ village and after that, it became Yoyogi Park. Furthermore, this area was specified as an academic district for schools, libraries and educational facilities, no amusement facilities like Pachinko Parlors. These backgrounds brought up creative and artistic atmosphere.   

At Jingumae crossing, you can see a tall brown building called Tokyu Plaza Harajuku, where used to be Harajuku Central Apartment.  This apartment was a birth place of Harajuku culture. Famous musicians, copywriters, magazine creators and fashion designers used to live there. 

Also, fashion designers, Kansai Yamamoto, Junko Koshino, Comme de Garson’s designer Rei Kawakubo used to work in this area.  I think that Japanese fashion designers have cultural uniqueness and sensitivity. After WWII, Japanese designers have selectively absorbing foreign cultural value, adapting these into existing indigenous patterns and re-creating their own cultural uniqueness. That’s why Japanese fashion designers are able to exhibit Paris collection every year.  

In Harajuku, Cat Street is a must to visit. Despite its name, the 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.  Due to the first Tokyo Olympic, government covered the ditch and made a narrow street on it.  Since then, this street has invited many customers.  

In Cat Street, there are various kinds of shops and restaurants. Especially, Cat Street is famous for Vintage.  Vintage clothes are more than just “old used clothes.” They are more popular than new unworn clothes.

Cat Street/Harajuku – Vintage Fashion

Why do vintage clothes attract customers?

  1. By wearing Vintage, you can appeal uniqueness, you never find another person wearing the same outfit.”
  2. They have better quality than the current ones.
  3. Every vintage garment comes with a story, art and history.  

June 2018, an English retired professional footballer, David Beckham, visited one of vintage shops, and an American singer, Lady Gaga, has several times visited one of funky shops in Cat Street.  

Why do you think that famous celebrities come to purchase Japanese Vintage? Vintage products selling in Tokyo have good reputation because they are washed, ironed, neatly folded, which shows Japanese sensitivity.  I think there is another reason. Shop owners have aesthetic sense to select unique vintage products.  So, Japanese vintage products also have cultural uniqueness and sensitivity.  

If you plan to visit Tokyo, it would be a great pleasure to guide you. I will explain about 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
(73) Reviews

Related Blogs

Cleanliness in Japan

by Mari.K
“Why Japan is so clean and tidy” is one of the most frequently asked questions while I have been working as a tour guide. Many foreigners a...

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...

Fall Foliage - MOMIJIGARI

by Mari.K
Many maples have bright autumn foliage, and many countries have leaf-watching traditions. In Japan, the custom of viewing the changing color...

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...

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

“ Very Helpful Guide ”

1 week 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 ”

1 week 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 ”

2 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! ”

2 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
2 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 ”

2 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 ”

2 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 ”

5 months ago Traveler: Robert -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Excellent, knowledgeable, professional and experienced lady
read more

“ Mari is the Tokyo guide ever!! ”

5 months 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

“ A great afternoon in Tokyo ”

5 months ago Traveler: Karen -   Tour Guide: Mari.K

Everything about our experience with Mari was perfect. She was quick to respond to all my questions and needs prior to our trip. She sent a wonderful message on our arrival to a Tokyo. The day of the trip, she met us with a small handout about the history/meaning of sushi making and the tea ceremony. Both classes were perfect for our group. Fun, informative and delicious! The locations she pic...
read more

Related cities