What is “Kawaii”? In Japanese culture, it simply means “Cute” or “Adorable”, but for some, it can go beyond clothes, items, and more. Japan is home to the world’s cute and adorable culture; Be it food, beauty, cafes, home decor, or the well-known Hello Kitty. Everything in Japan has a touch of kawaii and today, we’re going to show you the best places and experiences of Kawaii in Japan!
Hello Kitty World!
This character does not need any introduction! Hello Kitty’s cuteness rules Japan. Hello Kitty designs on the subway wasn’t a novelty but now also, bullet trains are drenched in the Hello Kitty theme.
The Ultimate Kawaii Experience at Sanrio Puroland (Tokyo)
One of the best places in Tokyo to experience Kawaii culture to its fullest is through visiting Sanrio Puroland, the home of Yuko Shimizu’s beloved Hello Kitty. From merchandise to attractions, Sanrio Puroland is a pure embodiment of Kawaii! But watch out for your purses, it’s easy to get swayed by Hello kitty’s myriad of cute things up for grabs!
If Sanrio Puroland wasn’t enough, Japan is peppered is themed cafes from cats to dogs and even the occasional Gundam-themed cafe! The closest one to Tokyo is at Odaiba and from there, you’ll feel the kawaii culture at every turn.
Maid Cafes bring you your very own experience of being served by maids and/or butlers. From cute and personalized meals to a little dance all to yourself, Japan’s Maid Cafes are notable for their Kawaii Culture and it is something you shouldn’t miss out!
Another themed cafe that’s worth visiting is the Kawaii Monster Cafe located at Harajuku, Japan’s pop culture hub. Their day and night themes are worth the double visit in the day so it’s best to make a scheduled visit!
These two cafes are but a taste of Japan’s love for Kawaii Culture. Some themed cafes worth checking out are the Gudetama Cafe, Alice in Magical Land, and the Final Fantasy Eorzea Cafe. But for now, let’s move on and check the other Kawaii experiences Japan has!
Nail art salon
☝ Amazing Kawaii nail art from Nail Salon PNKY in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Every female traveler must visit some nail salon to get artistic nails. Gone are those days when manicure was a trend. Japan being itself has the influential gel nail culture now. Gel nails are adhesive artistic nails on your real nails. These are unbreakable and a quick escape from the monotonous nail routine. You can customize the designs you want or pick from the available designs.
In my opinion, the available designs are simply gorgeous! The usual costs begin from around ¥5000 and depend on the design you pick. Also, don’t worry about the language barrier. There are good nail salons with English support too. Joli Nails , Nail Salon Pinky , and Ethsete being some around Tokyo. Go out there with your girl gang and pamper yourselves the Japanese way!
Kyaraben (Character lunch box)
Kawaii Culture exists even in the food we eat and what better way to experience it by making your very own Character Bento!
Even making lunch boxes is a Kawaii Art and in pop culture, it is called “Kyaraben”. It is an artistic method of turning your simple lunch into presentable and kawaii characters. I often hear and see my Japanese friends with their very own Kyaraben at lunch time which proves that even moms have a taste for doing things the Kawaii way!
Photos are one of the best things we can have to hold a fun memory and what better way to do so that making your photos as “Kawaii” as possible! “Purikura” which stems from the words “Purinto Kurabu” or “Print Club” is a photo booth where you can add graffiti, doodles, and digital stickers to your beautified and “Japan-ified” pictures. You can choose to enjoy it on your own, with your best friends, or even your lover as it is guaranteed to put a bunch of smiles and giggles on your faces! Purikura goes for as little as 500 Yen and allows you to receive both digital and hard copies of your photos.
You can find various Purikura booths along Akihabara and Shibuya so its best to keep an eye out!
From being an odd sort of interest to a hobby that is now taking over the world, “Cosplay” which stems from the words “Costume Play” involves dressing up as beloved movie, game, or anime characters from head to toe!
Japan is widely-known to be the staple of all things that are Cosplay and one can try out being a “Cosplayer” in one of Tokyo’s Cosplay shops such as “Cospatio” where they offer everything from wigs, costumes, shoes, and contact lenses for you to dress up in and experience what it’s like to be the fictional character you so love!
Rent a Kawaii Kimono
If you’ve ever wondered how it feels like to walk around in Japan’s Traditional Outfit, the Kimono, then say no more as one can actually rent out a “Kawaii” kimono for a day to walk around in!
Tokyo Kawaii Musee is a “Kawaii” kimono shop that offers ensembles that have more colorful and cute patterns compared to the traditional wear we often see. You’ll have an array of choices to pick from and once that’s done you’ll be able to walk around the city for a time in a Kawaii Kimono, and don’t forget to take photos as well!
This ends our little list of Kawaii Culture in Japan!
There is admittedly a wide range of things you can do to fill your trip with more Kawaii-ness and these are just starters, it’s best to explore what Japan’s fun-filled corners have to offer since the best way to experience things are when you discover them yourself.
Japan’s Kawaii Culture has admittedly brought smiles to the faces of people from all around the world and I do hope you’ll have your own Kawaii stories to tell one day, or even better, experience with someone you love in Japan!
御門桜 [CC BY-SA 3.0], Rsa [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], luckysundae [CC BY-SA 2.0], Pixelms [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], Jirka Matousek [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons