It was 2 weeks ago that I popped my purikura cherry. Yes, really! I had never before gone into one of those japanese styled booths to get cutesy pics taken, and it was so much fun!
I met Hana from Finding Tokyo at Harajuku station and we grabbed a coffee and got to know each other a little bit (and she’s an absolute sweetheart). This is what I wore to meet her, and a pic of us together:
Before I get to the purikura though, I have to talk about Bedrock, an uber hip boutique on Omotesando.
Bedrock, owned by the Maniac Corporation, is one of those open secrets like Dog in the Kita Kore building, where they don’t publicise the store, but prefer to keep it hidden and unique. So hidden, that you have to enter via a coffee shop called the Forbidden Fruit Cafe - though I don’t think anyone actually goes there for coffee.
Once you’ve entered the swanky looking cafe, you head down the punched-hole steel stairs into a darkened space that is like a gallery. The floor is polished concrete, gleaming but industrial. Everywhere there are sculptures, a diamond-encrusted skull here, an ornate mirror there, a huge bison’s head on the wall, huge glass chandeliers, and various eclectic artefacts. But the thing that hits you when you walk in, is the glassed tropical area to the back of the store, where cacti, ferns and a riot of greenery lay gleaming beyond a wall of glass.
There were new and pre-loved designers pieces from the likes of Rick Owens, Nina Ricci, Givenchy, John Galliano and more. I spied these stunning ponyhair beauties with ankle strap from Givenchy, but didn’t dare try them on for fear of losing my mind and my credit balance:
The inhouse brands are If Six Was Nine, and LGB (Le Grand Bleu). LGB is more concerned with jeans and pants, If Six Was Nine with great leather jackets, exotic fabrics, bling and rockstar looks generally. There was a lot of python print, sometimes metallised. I tried on a pair of silver faux-leather pants…but alas, they were too small.
There’s a lot more stock and just interesting things stuffed into the space than these photos (from their website) show. But this is just a taster, to let you know not to miss the opportunity to visit if ever you get to Tokyo.
(For more info, Misha Janette has written great articles “5 craziest hidden Tokyo fashion boutiques” and “the coolest store no-one knows of” – check them out! Also, Jane of Sea of Shoes wrote a really informative post with photos back in ’09, referring to it by its corporation name in Maniacal about Maniac, and Carly from Chic Steals wrote a richly descriptive post here )
That was an exciting enough experience, and quite enough for one day. But more was to come….
Onto the purikura! Hana led me down Takeshita Street, towards the end, and again we had to descend stairs to get to the action. The place was packed with giggly teenagers queueing for booths, sitting at the machines that decorate the photos or standing to admire the results and just chat. The walls were plastered with posters of popstars and if it weren’t for Hana, I might feel way too old and way out of my depth there. But girlfriends + purikura = silly fun, and I highly recommend it.
I won’t pretend to be an expert, since I’ve been the grand total of once. For the whole process, I’ll refer you to the excellent posts by Sara Mari in Moments Like Diamonds, and also La Carmina. Mitsu of Universal Doll shows some great places in Shibuya “for all your puri needs”.
The fun thing is, models pop up on the screen in front of you, and give you ideas of cute ways to pose (god knows I wouldn’t know how otherwise!) And after you’ve done all your various poses and time has run out, you wait at a machine outside the booth to spit your photos out…and you have to laugh! The technology is such that your skin, eyes and teeth are whiter, your eyes are larger, and generally, you’re made to look like a teenager again! So cute!!
So that’s 2 fun things to do in Harakuku…but for purikura..you can really go to any major suburb in japan, and elsewhere. Have you had a purikura experience? Kept the pics?
Omotesando Hills West Building
B1F, 12-10, Jingumae 4-chome
Open: 11am – 9pm.
Ph: +81 3 3423 6969