Architecture Tokyo Walking

Changes to Harajuku Station


Harajuku station certainly is iconic in its own way — I still remember enjoying working across the street from it, in full view, when I was editor at PingMag. A recent Monocle Minute newsletter has an update on what’s likely to happen when it gets renovated in time for 2020.

Tens of thousands of people pass through Harajuku Station’s portals each day and now the current structure, which dates from 1924, is set to be renovated in time for the 2020 Olympics. The distinctive Tokyo landmark, which sits next to Meiji Shrine and one of Tokyo’s busiest fashion districts, comes close to a standstill at weekends – and its proximity to Yoyogi National Gymnasium, built for the 1964 Olympics and due to be a venue in 2020, only adds to the crowds. The station’s owner, East Japan Railway Co, is being careful not to reveal too much about its plans for the popular old building but it has published a design proposal: a functional structure that will increase capacity with room for retail but that is lacking in charisma. Local residents are being consulted later this month but the future doesn’t look promising for this small Tokyo gem.

Art Events Manga Music

Momus in Tokyo

Momus is indeed in Tokyo for a few weeks — as you’ll know if you follow his Click Opera blog, which has turned into a literal Tokyo/Japan lovefest since his arrival — and he also has a free show planned for December 22 (from 20:30) at the recently opened GM Ten Gallery in Azabu Juban, a space produced by Osaka designers Graf.

Starting December 20, the gallery will be hosting an exhibition of works by manga legend Eico Hanamura — here’s an interview with Hanamura on PingMag which was, believe it or not, published during my short tenure there.

Fashion Web

Japonista Sole

Remember those great jikatabi shoes that were covered in PingMag a couple of years ago? The team behind them have now launched a new site, Japonista Sole, with a variety of new designs, the first collection launching in December.

Some of our designs have started pre-orders already, so we hope you can catch your size before it runs out. Our initial release will be a limited version of the first series with only 300 pairs for all sizes available, so they will definitely be rare after they sell out.

Our release pattern will be in sync with the changing seasons and motifs of Japan. Our inspiration is to be the “Sole of your soul” and “Soul of your sole” and under the cool concepts of Japonista, we dare to share an alternative and refreshing taste of our approach to designing the jikatabi to the rather flamboyant and extrovert senses of foreigners and fans of Japanese culture worldwide with a little spice of shibui-ness , or whatever it means. Err. with wabi sabi and zen touch but essentially kawaii and cool!