Taleshita Street, Harajuku
I'd advice taking the JR Yamanote Line directly to Harajuku Station or taking de Fukutoshin (brown) or Chiyoda (green) line to Meiji-jingumae Station. Harajuku station's East exit directly leads to the entrance of Takeshita Dori (Harajuku's main shopping street).
I'm not sure which exit from Meiji-jingumae Station is best, but in anyway, you will end up somewhere in the center of Harajuku, very near Takeshita Street as well. (You really don't need to worry about finding the main shopping streets op Harajuku, you will be thrown right into them! ^^)
You can click on the images to view full size!
Okay, so once you are in the center of Harajuku, there are two main streets that you should really check out. As I said, these are not difficult to find but I'd like to point them out anyways. (So you will be able to find very specific shops you may be looking for!)
As you can see, you have 1. Takeshita Dori (dori=street in Japanese) adn 2. Meiji Dori.
Takeshita street is the most famous and touristic one of the two, here you find loads of cheaper Harajuku fashion shops, including Bodyline, Closet Child Harajuku and mostly offbrand stores.
Meiji Dori doesn't have a lot of small stores, but many more big shopping malls than in Takeshita Street are there to be found. La Foret is probably the most famous Harajuku shopping mall of them all, so be sure to check it out! (In La Foret contains many shops including an Angelic Pretty and a Alice and the pirates, there is even a shop which dresses you in lolita fashion for just one day so you can experience lolita to try it out!)
Also, Innocent World and Baby, the Starts Shine Bright have shops in Meiji Dori (see link to Goodle Maps).
Many more shops than I can mention here are to be found in the Harajuku area, on this Google Maps I made you will find all the shops I find interesting myself in Harajuku and the rest of Tokyo!
Click here for the full map of lolita/kawaii stores through whole of Japan (including Btssb, all Tokyo Closet Child shops, Meta, Mamechiyo, Maiden Clothing, Axes Femme and many more!)
Oh and by the way, during my summer holiday (mid July to mid August), there were huge summer sales going on through whole of Japan, from which I could profit quite a lot. So, if you want to visit Japan mainly for shopping, but haven't decided on a date yet, maybe it's worth checking out sale times as well ^^!
Short list of shops/cafes you absolutely do not want to miss:
(If you like to buy (Lolita) fashion at least ^^)
1. Closet Child Harajuku (also to be found in other districts in Tokyo)
Second hand lolita and punk, on second and third floor above 'Richards' in Takeshita Dori, see maps for exact location. Everyday there are new dresses brought in, website: http://www.closetchildonlineshop.com/
2. LizLiza Harajuku
Cute otome fashion store, Takeshita street, exact location on my map!
As I mentioned earlier, one of the most important Harajuku fashion shopping malls. It holds many shops like Vivienne Westwood, AatP, Axes Femme and AP, please visit website for full floorguide: http://www.laforet.ne.jp/en/shop_search/floor
When I was there, AP and AatP Happy Packs were just going on sale, the double line of lolitas was about 3 or 4 floors long!
4. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Harajuku
Small, pink and extremely cute! Second floor, Meiji Dori, you can look at my map for exact location again. Since this one is on the second floor, it't not very outstanding, please be aware of that!
5. Q-pot café and Kawaii Monster Cafe
I didn't visit both during this trip due the short amount of time I got, but these two cafes are very popular among tourists who visit Tokyo, they are both located in Harajuku (see map). Q-pot cafe is very sweetly decorated and also the food is extremely cute-looking. Kawaii Monster cafe (entrance fee 500 yen pp) may nit be as sweet as Q-pot, but is still extremely kawaii and cool (when I was there they were celebrating their anniversary and the line was several floors long, but I don't know how long you normally have to wait.).
For both those cafes I'd advice doing some more research about them yourself (on youtube, some good videos are very easy to be found), but I just couldn't not include them on this list.
Link to official Q-pot website
Link to official Monster Cafe website
Right: Q-pot Cafe (photo from offcial website), Left: Kawaii Monster Cafe (photo by Tokyo Fashion)
Okay, so that was that, I think I covered the Harajuku shopping basics by now. I know some very good shopping guides already exist but I really hope my updated 2016 one could help some of you for a bit further! Thank you for reading! ^^