Introducing AFURI—Harajuku’s Michelin-Starred Ramen Restaurant
Hi, everyone. I’m Shiota, the Director of the MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center.
Foreigners coming to Japan love ramen, as shown in our questionnaire where it ranked 2nd place. I’m sure there’s a lot of you reading those who like it too.
Did you know, there’s actually a famous ramen place in Harajuku listed by Michelin? Today, I’ll introduce you to AFURI Harajuku, a ramen shop recognised worldwide.
It’s easy to get to. Just take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station and it’s a 3-minute walk from there. Head left out of Takeshita Exit and make a right when you come to Nescafe Harajuku. You’ll be able to see it on your left.
The restaurant itself has a very stylish and modern exterior. You’ll actually wonder whether it’s really a ramen shop when you see it. It has a welcoming atmosphere even if you go by yourself. When we went, despite it being 3pm on a weekday, most of the seats were taken up. And half of the customers were non-Japanese! As expected of such a popular restaurant.
The smell of citrus hits your nose upon entering the restaurant, something you wouldn’t expect in a place that sells ramen.
The inner section of the U-shaped counter is in fact an open kitchen, giving the whole restaurant a feeling of openness, and the background music that plays is calm. It feels like you’re in a fancy café.
I ordered the Yuzu Salt Ramen (¥980).
The toppings are simple. It comes with juicy mizuna, a boiled egg, bamboo shoots, char siu chicken fillet, and refreshing yuzu skin. You can choose from a boiled char siu packed with the chicken’s good flavour or a light and healthy chicken char siu.
The noodles are thin and a healthy mix of wholewheat flour from Hokkaido and rye. The soup is made with carefully selected ingredients such as roast chicken, seafood and potherbs that have been carefully cooked in natural spring water from Mount Afuri. The flavour is both full-bodied and light and will have anybody who’s tasted it addicted.
There’s also a vegan ramen (¥1,350) option too made with seasonal vegetables for vegans, vegetarians and healthy eaters. It’s made with freshly-harvested Kamakura vegetables. No animal products are used in the dish, whether that’s in the noodles, soup or toppings. The salted soup goes perfectly with the vegetables. This option is also recommended for people who aren’t good with thick ramen.
AFURI in Harajuku is celebrated not only by worldwide fans of ramen, but healthy eaters and vegetarians too. There’s no doubt you’ll become hooked once you give their food a try.
MOSHI MOSHI BOX Questionnaire to 100 Foreigners: #2 “Where are you heading to next in Tokyo?”
Hi, everyone. I’m Shiota, the director of the MOSHI MOSHI BOX.
This is the second entry to our already-popular series where we ask questions to 100 foreigners. We give questionnaires about Japan to foreign tourists that come into the MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center.
The 2nd question we asked people was “Where are you heading to next in Tokyo?” Let’s take a look at the answers!
1st Place: Shibuya (34 Votes)
The most popular answer was Shibuya, which got more than double that of the 2nd place rank. It’s common to see lots of foreign tourists taking photos of Shibuya’s famous Scramble Crossing. In the questionnaire answers, a lot of people were planning to go there for fashion and shopping.
I really love shopping. ―Karymoon, Mexico
・I’ve always wanted to try going to 109! I love fashion. ―Brigitte, France
・I’m off to buy clothes. If you’re going from Harajuku you can walk there [Shibuya] and stroll while window shopping. ―liu, China
2nd Place: Asakusa (13 Votes)
Asakusa is popular for its traditional townscape. There was an overwhelming number of people on their way to Sensou-ji Temple. Asakusa is a great for accessing other great sightseeing spots too like Skytree and Ueno.
I want to see the beautiful, traditional streets. ―Anonymous, US
・I’m collecting goshuin from shrines, so I’m going to the famous temple of Asakusa. ―LEE SUU JUNG, Taiwan
・I like the traditional culture of Japan. I go to Asakusa every time I come to Japan. ―Anonymous, US
3rd Place: Ueno (12 Votes)
Coming close to a tie with Asakusa is Ueno. Ueno is filled with lots of fun places to visit, like museums and the zoo, making it a great place to spend the day.
I heard that the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park are beautiful, so I’m going to go there. ―Celine, France
・I’m thinking about going to the zoo and Ueno Park. ―Kati, Australia
・I like pandas, so I’m going to go and see Ueno Zoo. ―Bianca, Italy
I love anime! If we’re talking anime merchandise, then it’s “Akiba,” right? ―Jackson, UK
Ikebukuro is the haven for female otaku. It’s also the best since there are so many cosplay events there. ―Anonymous, US
I like the stylish streets. I’m gonna go there to shop. ―Adre, Portgual
I love sushi! I’m going to go and eat delicious sashimi at Tsukiji. I want to experience the unique atmosphere too.
I’m going to the big UNIQLO, museum and Hanazono Shrine found only in Shinjuku. ―Anonymous, Australia
It looks fun. It’s a famous place in Japan, isn’t it? ―Sue, US
Did you enjoy this questionnaire? Travelers have a surprisingly similar mindset to that of Japanese people when it comes to having fun in Tokyo.
If you have any questions about anything or topics you want us to cover then please send us a message on our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/
We’ll continue to hold more questionnaires with foreign tourists at the MOSHI MOSHI BOX, so be sure to drop by to see us if you’re in Harajuku!
MOSHI MOSHI BOX recommends 4 second-hand fashion shops located in the fashion capital Harajuku
Hi everyone! I’m Midori Blackmore from MOSHI MOSHI BOX Tourist Information Centre. As you all know, second-hand clothing has quickly become the new fashion. I have never worn a matching second-hand clothing outfit with a friend before. My friends are very different from me. They can effortlessly coordinate second-hand fashion whereas I can’t. I love second-hand clothes so much that they make up half the clothes I own in my closet.
…Despite this, I still feel a scared to enter second-hand shops, don’t you?
Whenever I see a new collection of second-hand fashion items making their debut appearance in a shop, I always think to myself, “only fashionable people can buy this stuff!” Running out of courage, there are times that I stop right before the entrance of the shop. That’s why I’m dedicating this article to all the second-hand fashion newbies out there. Today I’m going to introduce you to some second-hand clothing shops that are not scary to enter!
What is scary about second-hand clothing shops you ask? Sometimes they can look kind of dark. After all, dark clothing is fashionable. The dark atmosphere can be quite intimidating and can even put you off checking out the new arrivals of second-hand clothing. However, KENJI is a large shop with a bright interior. The atmosphere is comparable to that of a supermarket. Of course, the items inside are also super cute!
I recommend KENJI’s remade goods! If you own one of these, you will find yourself often being asked by people where you got that from.
Flamingo is the mecca of second-hand shops. This famous shop also has a branch in Shimokitazawa. We are often asked about this shop at MOSHI MOSHI BOX. Compared to shopping malls, not only are there less customers in second-hand clothing shops, but the staff at second-hand shops approach you more, so there are times that I get put off from entering at all.
I recommend flamingo because unlike other second-hand shops, it is always busy with customers. The atmosphere of “no unfashionable people allowed” might play on your mind in some second-hand shops but not here! At flamingo, everyone is too busy daydreaming about clothes to even notice you so there is no need to overthink!
Flamingo has a reputation of selling lots of shoes. Although brand new shoes are cute, worn out shoes also have their charm. You can wear them down yourself but this can be quite difficult to achieve, so it might be worth just buying some from a second-hand shop.
WEGO Harajuku main shop
WEGO is popular with middle school students because it is cheap, affordable and sells second-hand clothes! There used to be a second-hand shop next to H&M but now there is a special second-hand clothing floor inside WEGO Harajuku main shop. The shop is filled with friendly staff and the kindest of people, so this is definitely a place you could challenge yourself to!
Second-hand clothing plus new accessories… It’s fun to think about creating an outfit at WEGO. The prices here are fairly cheap, so you’ll probably end up buying lots of things. Sometimes there are limited sales events where you can stuff your bag with as many clothes as you like for a fixed price, so make sure to keep checking their SNS feeds!
Have you ever made the effort to buy specifically from a second-hand shop but then the clothes you have and the atmosphere in which you try the clothes on have changed so much that you cannot coordinate anything? When you buy basic items, patterned shirts and large jackets from a second-hand shop, you sometimes think your new purchases are cute when you see them in the shop but then when you go home you lose the confidence to wear them…what a waste, right?
For those of you out there who have experienced this, I recommend MARTE.
I definitely recommend the dresses from here. Just put one on and you will transform into a vintage girl. You can always coordinate these dresses with a jacket and trainers. Consult the fashionable shop assistants and make sure to get your hands on some clothes that are easy to mix and match!
MARTE’s original items are also really cute!
I have so many more recommendations for you in mind but the more I write the more likely I am to expose just how nervous I am about entering shops so I’m going to stop here!
If you are ever lost, please come see us at MOSHI MOSHI BOX!
Harajuku’s artistic okonomiyaki restaurant: Reporting from Sakura Tei!
Hi! I’m Ellie from MOSHI MOSHI BOX Tourist Information Centre. At MOSHI MOSHI BOX, we get a lot of people asking us to recommend a place where they can eat authentic Japanese food in Harajuku. That’s why I’ve decided to take a trip to “Sakura Tei”. Sakura Tei is a restaurant not far from MOSHI MOSI BOX that serves a typical Japanese dish – onokomiyaki. Half of Sakura Tei’s customers are tourists from outside of Japan, so I would really recommend this place to foreigners.
What exactly is okonomiyaki? Its basic form is a savoury pancake made from water, wheat flour, shredded cabbage and fried batter pieces. The name okonomiyaki means grilled (yaki) as you like it (onkonomi). Therefore, it can be customised with seafood or meat. The ingredients are mixed together and then grilled in a cast iron pan. This is one of the most popular dishes in Japan.
Look out for the artistic exterior and bamboo
Walk down Meiji-dori in the direction of Murasaki Sports (ムラサキスポーツ) . Meiji-dori is the street on which MOSHI MOSHI BOX is also located. Once you are at Murasaki Sports, walk down the street between Murasaki Sports and New Balance (NB) and then turn left at the Family Mart. You will immediately notice that the road splits off into two directions. From this point, take the thin pathway on your left. You will see a white building on your left called “DESIGN FESTA GALLERY”. The restaurant Sakura Tei is on the left of this building. Look out for the vivid wall art and bamboo exterior – this is a sign you are in the right place. If you get lost and don’t know the way, don’t hesitate to ask us for help at MOSHI MOSHI BOX.
The interior is also photogenic! Each wall is painted with beautiful artwork. A new design is painted on the walls every half year, so you might see something different if you come back later in the year! Some paintings were offered by a solo exhibition artist from the “DESIGN FESTA GALLERY” next door. Other designs were even painted by the restaurant staff! The restaurant seats more than 200 people, making it perfect for even large parties.
Being hit by a wave of beauty, it was fun to take pictures of the interior even before having entered.
What caught my attention the most were the trees that are growing inside the restaurant. I was told that they were growing here before this place became a restaurant, and rather than cutting them down, the owner nurtured them, incorporating them into part of the restaurant. From this dynamic and unique idea, an atmosphere of freedom formed. You wouldn’t even believe you are still in Harajuku. The atmosphere is so relaxing.
Order an original Okonomiyaki at Sakura Tei!
Besides okonomiyaki, the menu includes an abundant range of dishes such as monjayaki (similar to okonomiyaki), yakisoba (fried noodle dish) gyoza (dumplings) and teppanyaki (grilled food served on an iron plate). There is also an English menu available and many foreigners belong to the team of staff. They can speak many languages including English and Korean. You can order vegetarian and vegan food too so if you have any questions, feel free to talk to the staff!
I ordered Sakura Tei’s most popular item off the menu – the “Sakura yaki” (￥1,400). All the prices on the menu are the prices including tax. Pork, squid, shrimp, matsutake mushrooms, welsh onions, pork belly slices and egg are the eight ingredients mixed into the batter of this okonomiyaki. Each table has a hot teppanyaki plate fitted into it so you can make your own okonomiyaki yourself.
It’s ok even if you’ve never made one before! Easy instructions on how to make it are provided on each table.
I immediately took up the challenge of making one. First, you have to mix the ingredients with the batter with all your might – that’s the key to making it so delicious. After mixing well, place the batter onto the grill plate and form it into a round shape. Then, place the pork belly slices on top and cook until golden brown (Approx. 6-8 minutes).
Once the underside is golden brown, it’s time to flip it over! It’s heavier than I thought… I wasn’t sure if I could do it…
I drew up all my courage and went for it!!
I did it! Whenever customers flip their okonomiyaki particularly well, there is always a mini celebration. It’s all about celebrating the process of making okonomiyaki and having fun here. A staff member even mentioned: “I love seeing the customers having fun while making okonomiyaki”.
After flipping, cook for another 6 minutes.
When your okonomiyaki is cooked, place your egg on top (that you lightly cooked on the teppanyaki grill) and then add the original sauce and mayonnaise. Sprinkle on some katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna flakes), some more mayonnaise and you are done!
I immediately took my first bite while it was still piping hot. Normally, okonomiyaki is slightly thinner than this one…but what about the flavour..?
…Super delicious!!! The batter is packed with ingredients that taste great with the seafood stock. The slightly sweet sauce makes it into a delicious specialty that can only be experienced at Sakura Tei! Normal okonomiyaki uses wheat flour that makes you full very quickly, however Sakura Tei’s okonomiyaki is soft and thick – you will hungrily eat it all up! ♡
A fried parfait?! My first dessert experience here
After having okonomiyaki, you always want something sweet in your mouth! Skimming the menu, the one thing that caught my eye was the “ama-imonja yaki banayan” (￥550). Monjayaki uses wheat flour that is lightly mixed with water amongst a range of ingredients and then fried on the pan. It resembles okonomiyaki but is thicker. I quickly gobbled up the ama-imonja yaki.
It was easy to make! Just mix all the parfait ingredients together and then cook it. Just looking at this dessert made feel like an excited child. I had never tasted anything like this before!
It tasted a bit like a banana muffin and the caramelised golden-brown areas were sweet – I just couldn’t stop! You should try making this one too!
There is one more thing I would like to recommend you to have after your meal. The homemade “Sakura Lemonade” (￥500 ). Their lemonade includes a Sakura-salted flavor that is popular among foreigners. The fresh flavor and taste of sakura brings back memories of spring. You can enjoy this drink at any time of year, so please check it out!
That was my first visit to Sakura Tei. It wasn’t just the okonomiyaki, dessert and drink that I enjoyed, but also the way the restaurant makes the customers laugh and smile. If you’re ever in Harajuku, make sure to check this place out!
Model & Writer Ellie
Eat Takeout Parfaits at THE PARFAIT STAND While Strolling Through Harajuku
Hi, everyone! I’m Banako and I work at the MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center.
THE PARFAIT STAND is a newly opened store in Harajuku that specialises in takeout parfaits. I dropped by to see what they’re all about. Here’s the report.
To get there, head out of Takeshita Exit at Harajuku Station and you’ll find it immediately to your left.
Originally there was a collection of train ticket machines there, but they renovated the space to open the new store. It’s literally outside the station!
The staff all welcomed me with gleaming smiles.
THE PARFAIT STAND is the popular sister store to BAKE CHEESE TART which, as the name suggests, sells freshly baked cheese tarts. Deliciousness is guaranteed.
There are two items on the menu! You have the Parfait Chocolate Blanc (¥756 w/tax) made with rich chocolate and bitter coffee, and the Strawberry White Parfait (¥972) which is a limited-edition item available until May 31st. They’re both amazing in their own way – you’ll be spoilt for choice.
After a lot of thought, I decided to go with the limited edition Strawberry White Parfait!
I thought it was fresh cream that crowned the top of the parfait, but contrary to my expectations it was meringue! It has a crunchy and crumbly texture and its mellow sweetness fills your mouth.
The parfait contains a milk pudding made with vanilla ice cream and Hokkaido milk. It’s also filled with thick strawberry jelly and mousse. The texture is irresistible from top to bottom – you won’t grow tired of it at any section.
You can get yourself an authentic, cute takeout parfait too at THE PARFAIT STAND. Just holding it is kawaii and something new to take onto the streets of Harajuku with you♡
How about it?
MOSHI MOSHI BOX Questionnaire to 100 Foreigners: #1 “What’s the tastiest food you have eaten in Japan?”
Hi, everyone. I’m Shiota, the director of the MOSHI MOSHI BOX.
We are starting a new series where we ask questions to 100 overseas visitors to Japan. We will give questionnaires to foreign tourists that come into the MOSHI MOSHI BOX related to Japan and announce the results on the website.
For the first entry, we asked 100 people from overseas “What’s the tastiest food you have eaten in Japan?” Answers varied from traditional Japanese food that you can probably guess to other unexpected choices. Let’s take a look at the ranking!
1st Place: Sushi (43 Votes)
Coming in 1st place is sushi which is nearly double that of the 2nd place result! The view must be that Japanese food = sushi. There were lots of opinions by people expressing their love for sushi like the ones below.
”It’s totally different from the food in Germany! The fish and rice are delicious.” (Kasey/Australia)
・”The sushi I ate at Tsukiji was the freshest and most delicious in the world.” (Mary/Hong Kong)
・”I don’t like the sushi in my country all that much, but eating it in Japan is delicious.” (Nadia/US)
・”I love the tuna! I really love the tuna!!” (Kyle/Brazil)
”I tried to imitate making ramen once in Chile but it it’s no match for Japan’s ramen!” (Cristobal /Chile)
・”Ramen isn’t well known in my country. I can only eat it in Japan, so I feel great today!” (Mark/Australia)
・”I had Iekei ramen. I like fatty things, so it was really satisfying.” (Costa Rica)
”There was cheese inside, but it was so good together with the sauce.” (Mario/UK)
・”I love rich flavoured things. The sauce is the best!” (Denis/France)
・”I’m happy that I can make it myself, it’s fun.” (Naomi/US)
“It’s like friend chicken but even tastier.” (Carld/US)
“I wanted to eat crepes in Harajuku! They were delicious.” (Wan/Hong Kong)
・”I like it because the flavour of the soup is light. The crunchy texture of the tempura batter is nice too.” (Himana/Argentin)
“I love Japanese curry. The fact that it has katsu too makes it amazing!” (Emily/Australia)
“I ate breakfast at a hotel. With just a small quantity I was amazed at the number of items that were served.” (UK)
“I don’t have it in my country, so I was astonished, but it was delicious. It’s an innovative idea, it’s great.” (Philippines)
Roast Beef Don:
“I ate at the famous ‘Red Rock’ and it was the best! I could see why everyone was lined up.” (South Korea)
Did you like our first questionnaire? There was a lot of food on the list that Japanese people love too, but it’s interesting to see it from different points of view.
If you have any questions about anything or ideas that you want us to cover then send us a message on our Facebook page!
We’ll continue to hold more questionnaires with overseas tourists at the MOSHI MOSHI BOX, so be sure to drop by if you’re in Harajuku!
Let’s wear a kimono and enjoy Harajuku! 7 recommended photo spots in Ura-Harajuku
Hello everyone! My name is Shiota and I am the curator of MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center.
There are many photo spots in Harajuku gathering much attention on TV programs and SNS.
In this article, I will introduce to you some recommended photo spots in Ura-Harajuku with a staff member of “MOSHI MOSHI Kimono Salon,” located next to MOSHI MOSHI BOX. Even places that you visit often look different when you are wearing a kimono. Just try, and you will see!
The kimono she is wearing is yellow/green which are colors that suit this spring season. The color of the obi (band) is the same as the color of the kimono so it has a settled-look and it is suitable to walk around town in this kimono.
We took a photo in front of the cute shoji (paper door) of MOSHI MOSHI Kimono Salon!
The big wall painting beside BEAMS Harajuku was depicted by an artist ZIO ZIEGLER. The wall painting is very outstanding since the wall is painted black and white!
Design Festa Gallery Harajuku
A building that has a café and gallery. The exterior of the building was designed as an art work. The entrance fee is free so let’s visit this location!
NOW IS FOREVER
A famous wall which is often featured on TV programs. The wall is located at the end of the street (Meiji Street) between New Balance and Muraski Sports.
Santo Nibunno Ichi
You will find this colorful building by going straight down the street between New Balance and Murasaki Sports located on Meiji Street, make a right turn at Family Mart and then make a right turn again at the first corner. The building includes tenants such as Harajuku’s popular second-hand-clothing store, “Santo Nibunno Ichi” and the photogenic ice cream shop, “Eddy’s Ice Cream.”
Princess One Spoon Tokyo
This is a store that sells 500 kinds of accessories, girly sundries and sweets items. It is recommended to take a photo in front of the store since the exterior of the store is Western-style.
You can find many stylish adds on “Tonchan Street” behind MOSHI MOSHI BOX.
Let’s find your favorite location!
SOUVENIR SHOP Kaho
This store is suitable to be used as a resting place. This is the strawberry parfait (1,200 yen – tax included) sold at this store located near the intersection of Meiji Street and Tonchan Street. The store is located above the power stone store and they sell sweets items that are great souvenirs.
You will feel happy eating sweets items here since many of their items include lots of big strawberries! The texture and taste of the ice cream is similar to gelato.
MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center
The clock designed by Masuda Sébastien who works with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as her art director can be found at MOSHI MOSHI BOX. It is a land mark of Harajuku which is featured in magazines and on TV programs and is used in many artisits’ PVs.
It is recommended that you hide the silver-colored base of the clock when taking a photo.
How did you like our recommended photo spots? In this article, I introduced to you some standard/new photos spots of Ura-Harajuku.
Feel free to contact MOSHI MOSHI BOX if you ever get lost!
Why not check out this article as well.