Chilled-out picnics, samurai, iconic food and street performers.
Yoyogi is a neighborhood in northern Shibuya that constantly brings something new to the table. With so much to do at the famous Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine nearby, you’ll want to keep coming back to this bustling area near Harajuku with plenty of Japan Rail train as well as subway access.
The biggest attraction in Yoyogi is its eponymous Yoyogi Park, where every kind of street performer, cultural celebration and community events goes down throughout the year. Yoyogi Park is one of Tokyo’s largest parks and was even the host site of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic opening ceremonies. It continues to play host to all sorts of street performers, including jugglers, musicians, dancers and even people showing off their exotic pets like monkeys or snakes.
You can really see anything here during an afternoon stroll.
Yes, that includes the now-famous 1950s-inspired “rockabilly” dance crew who gather every Sunday. They give a great show at the Harajuku Gate, less than a five-minute walk from Harajuku station.
This is also a great place to meet up with friends during the cherry blossom season. Though, keep in mind, the park is a mega-popular spot, so you’ll want to arrive in the morning with tarps in hand to secure your spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties.
Events in Yoyogi
Yoyogi Park also hosts events celebrating culture from around the world, including St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Okinawa Festival, One Love Jamaica, ASEAN Festival, Brazillian Day, and more. These events gather diverse, international crowds, and many eagerly line up at the event food booths to get a taste of the celebrated country’s cuisine.
Aside from cultural celebrations, you’ll also find several events celebrating communities and causes, including Tokyo Rainbow Pride Week and Earth Day.
Things to do
Just north of Yoyogi Park is a peaceful woodland area you can’t miss. It’s home to Tokyo’s spiritual center, Meiji Shrine, which boasts towering torii gates. The shrine will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020 and is one of the most popular spots to check out new year’s traditions in Japan.
Another fun thing to do in Yoyogi is get a photo shoot dressed as a samurai at the professional Sengoku Photo Studio Samurai. Fulfill your childhood dreams of becoming a samurai in Japan, even just for a little while.
Food and drink
Though Yoyogi is not exactly known for its food culture, near Yoyogi Station area, it does have some exceptional hidden restaurants that generally fly under the radar. Try the mac-and-cheese burger at Icon Burger, get a taste of southern Japan’s regional cuisine and try out kotatsu (Japanese heated table) dining at the authentic Honke Kanoya or stop at one of the izakaya bars or sushiya (sushi shops).
Yoyogi is a place where you will never get bored – whether you’re looking for a relaxed stroll through Yoyogi Park, a samurai photoshoot, or celebrating a cause you believe in, you’ll find it here!