Halloween in Japan

Pictures of Harajuku After the Sendai Earthquake

As just about everyone on the planet knows by now, a major earthquake – officially known as the “Great Sendai Earthquake of 2011″ – struck Japan on Friday, March 11th. The earthquake was quickly followed by a tsunami, which slammed into the coastlines of northeastern Japan. The combined tsunami and earthquake caused massive damage to many areas. The magnitude of the loss of life has yet to be fully known. Many people are still without power. Rescue efforts are ongoing – and will be for weeks to come.

If you would like to help out with the situation here, we urge you to take a look at the resources that Yahoo and Google have set up related to earthquake relief. In some countries, Apple iTunes users can also easily donate to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake Relief Fund by visiting this link. There are also many other websites and options for helping. Please consider all of the options and do what you think is best.

TokyoFashion.com is based in central Tokyo, so everyone here definitely felt the earthquake. While we have experienced some inconvenience, we’re all doing fine. Thank you all for your messages, wishes, prayers, and concern. If you want to keep up to date with our lives since the earthquake, we have been updating in real time on both Twitter and Facebook.

Our situation – and the situation of most people in central Tokyo – is fairly stable at this time. We – like the rest of Japan – are focusing our concern on the people in the areas hit by the tsunami. They are facing unimaginable hardship right now. We urge you to keep them in your thoughts and to put them first when considering where to put any resources that you might be contributing to the relief effort.

This site is about Japanese fashion, so we thought we should give you a few updates about that as well. Tokyo Fashion Week is scheduled to start next week. As far as we have heard, there are no changes to those plans. As we said previously, Tokyo withstood the earthquake pretty well, so it’s very possible that Fashion Week will go on as planned. At this point, we just don’t know. We’ll keep you updated on that as we hear more from the official JFW organization.

As for the shop situation in central Tokyo – everything is very, very quiet right now. Many shops and department stores decided to close after the earthquake, and some of them haven’t yet re-opened. Many of those stores that have re-opened are closing early every day to conserve electricity. Even if the shops were open, it’s pretty obvious that most people in Tokyo are not really in the mood to shop when all of these life-changing events are going on in other parts of the country.

We took a walk around Harajuku and Shibuya yesterday (Saturday) to try to get an idea of what things look like, bringing our camera along so we could share photos of the current state of things with you.

LaForet Harajuku - Earthquake

As soon as we arrived at Harajuku Station – just after noon on Saturday (the day after the earthquake struck) – it was apparent that things were anything but “business as usual” in Tokyo. There were very few people at Harajuku Station, and even less at the entrance to Takeshita Dori. If you’re ever been to Harajuku on a weekend, you will understand that this is almost unheard of.

Those who were around appeared to be mostly out-of-town tourists and foreigners. That’s likely because these are people who were already in Tokyo and who had a limited amount of time to see the sights. I heard more French, German, English, Korean, and other languages around me than I did Japanese. Locals and hardcore younger shoppers were conspicuously absent. On a Saturday afternoon, Harajuku should be wall-to-wall people. It was far from that yesterday.

As we wandered down Takeshita Dori, up Meiji Dori, and along Cat Street, we could see just how many shops were either still closed from the earthquake or had closed really early to help conserve electricity during the emergency. Some shops had signs saying they had closed as early as 2pm, which didn’t seem to make much sense as many Harajuku stores open around 11am or noon.

Thankfully, there is no major earthquake damage is central Tokyo. The photographs we took are only of the closed shops (during prime shopping time on a weekend) and of the signs many shops posted letting customers know they’d closed because of the earthquake. I’m honestly not sure whether these photographs will be very interesting to many people, but to those of us that spend most of our life in Harajuku, it does document a critical moment in time in Japanese history. Sorry we didn’t have more exciting pictures to share with you right now. At least, we hope this will give you a small feeling of what the situation is like in Harajuku and Shibuya in the days after the big earthquake.

If you are planning to visit Tokyo anytime soon, please don’t stress too much about the situation in the central areas. We expect that things will get back to normal here fairly soon. We are confident that you can enjoy your visit.

As usual, you can click on any of the pictures below to see high resolution versions. In the larger versions, the text of the signs is much clearer for reading.

Tokyo Earthquake Closed Sign
Tamagotchi Donuts Harajuku
Paris Kids Harajuku - Earthquake
Mighty Soxer Harajuku - Earthquake
Elleme Harajuku - Earthquake
Harajuku Crepes Shop Closed by Earthquake
Harajuku Shops Closed by Earthquake
Closet Child Harajuku - Earthquake
Murasaki Sports Harajuku - Earthquake
Harajuku Earthquake Signs
The World Connection Harajuku - Earthquake
Faline & Listen Flavor Harajuku - Earthquake
Pet Paradise Harajuku - Earthquake
SoLaDo Harajuku - Earthquake
Pink Latte Harajuku - Earthquake
SM2 Ehka Sopo Harajuku - Earthquake
Spinns Harajuku - Earthquake
Forever 21 Harajuku - Earthquake
LaForet Harajuku - Earthquake
Harajuku Restaurants - Earthquake
Godiva Harajuku - Earthquake
Jayro White Harajuku - Earthquake
KDDI Designing Studio Harajuku - Earthquake
Test Harajuku - Earthquake
Head Porter Harajuku - Earthquake
Putumayo Harajuku - Earthquake
Soffitto Harajuku - Earthquake
X-Girl Store Harajuku - Earthquake
Candy Stripper Harajuku - Earthquake
Natural Vintage Harajuku - Earthquake
Cat Street Harajuku - Earthquake
Montage Harajuku - Earthquake
Harajuku Earthquake Signs
Harajuku Earthquake Signs
Ralph Lauren Omotesando - Earthquake
Burton Harajuku - Earthquake
Adidas Harajuku - Earthquake
Harajuku Shops Closed by Earthquake
Harajuku Earthquake Signs
Gregory Harajuku Store - Earthquake
Patagonia Harajuku - Earthquake
291295 Homme - Earthquake
Diesel Shibuya - Earthquake
Lumine Man - Earthquake
Marui City Shibuya - Earthquake
Shibuya Restaurants - Earthquake
Apple Store Shibuya - Earthquake
Parco Shibuya - Earthquake

Click any of the pictures to enlarge them.

Remember, if you would like to donate to the earthquake relief – or you are in Japan and you need any earthquake help yourself – check the Google and Yahoo special websites!

27 Comments

  1. 1.

    Maria (March 14, 2011)

    I send my deepest condolences to the people of Japan.

    really want to help,hope estonian redcross will open account soon…
    Good to hear that Tokyo was not damaged.

    Be strong Japan.! And good luck.

  2. 2.

    yesy (March 14, 2011)

    all my prayers with the people of Japan and all my support to the people helping in the rescue efforts. ill pray for you Japan <3

  3. 3.

    Thuy Trang Tran (March 14, 2011)

    Hope for Japan.

  4. 4.

    leather flower (March 14, 2011)

    All my Hopes are with Japan and her people. sending much love <3

  5. 5.

    Julie (March 14, 2011)

    There WILL be help in recovery..when you cannot stand strong, others will stand for you!

  6. 6.

    Klaudia (March 14, 2011)

    it looks depressing…
    about blackout- for non japanese speaking foreigners in Kanto area- translation of blackout schedule…

    http://japannews.best100japan.com/eathquake-in-japan-news-and-comments/after-earthquake-in-japan-planned-electricity-outage-for-kanto-area.html

  7. 7.

    lamees oglow (March 14, 2011)

    I am sad for what happened in Japan, I wish them safety, and condolences to all those who did not survive and prayers to all of you………..

  8. 8.

    Miku (March 14, 2011)

    I pray for japan and in so sad that so many peoples has died in that terrible earthquake… : ( be strong and i send all my love from finland! xoxo

  9. 9.

    andreina (March 14, 2011)

    Japan is the land of the rising sun, and they will rise again

    love from California <3

  10. 10.

    Nancy Buma (March 14, 2011)

    I am very saddened by what has happened in Japan. I pray for a quick recovery and much help for the wonderful people in Japan.

  11. 11.

    katie (March 14, 2011)

    America loves you Japan! We are very sadden for your tragedy. We are 100% behind you! Stay strong, love from california

  12. 12.

    mel (March 14, 2011)

    my heart is so very broken…and i think about what’s going on in Japan and about the Japanese people every single day.

    sometimes i wish someone would invent a real magic wand…

  13. 13.

    mei (March 14, 2011)

    so sad :’(
    Wish the best for Jepan , my super favorite country :)

  14. 14.

    mei (March 14, 2011)

    i mean Japan :p

  15. 15.

    [...] il n’y a pas eu de dégâts très importants aux centre de la mégalopole japonaise. Merci à Tokyo Fashion pour ces [...]

  16. 16.

    helena (March 15, 2011)

    You are an amazing and strong people, I’m sure that very soon everything will be nice again! I’m in Brazil, watching everything that is happining over there and praying for you guys! B strong and have faith!
    Love, from São Paulo/ Brazil

  17. 17.

    Simone (March 15, 2011)

    I hope things calm down soon. There are still a lot of things that needs to mellow down. I pray that the survivors be able to get all the help that they need. Things would not be the same but one of these days we can see a little bit of the old come back to make a new present.

  18. 18.

    sergio (March 15, 2011)

    all my prayers and my heart goes to the people in Japan, hoping everything gets back to normal soon

  19. 19.

    Billy Beyond (March 15, 2011)

    I am sending my greatest prayers for the people of Japan. New York City loves you.
    Billy beyond

  20. 20.

    Lauren (March 15, 2011)

    It is heartbreaking to see these pictures- I passed through the streets of Harajuku many times this summer when I lived in Japan. I am thinking and praying for the Japanese people each and every day- your strength is an inspiration.

  21. 21.

    [...] Here is what Harajuku looks like now [...]

  22. 22.

    Tim (March 17, 2011)

    condolences to all who have experienced this horrible EQ, Much love to everyone in japan, got my bless.

  23. 23.

    tokage (March 18, 2011)

    With love to Japan,

    With utmost sincerity, condolences to all the loss and heartbreak you are suffering. I wish for the earth to calm down and you can have a safe recovery.

    You are still my favourite place and people in the world. Please take very special care and thank-you for everything when I was living there.

  24. 24.

    Vienna (March 18, 2011)

    We’re all behind you Japan, aid and relief is on the way! All my thoughts are with the people of Japan in such a time of mass uncertainty.

  25. 25.

    karen (March 19, 2011)

    Our thoughts and love to everyone in Japan. Here’s hoping that everything return to normal as possible. May the Japanese spirit that we have come to know and respect pull you through this difficult time. Take care.

  26. 26.

    [...] to the Mighty Harajuku Project, in the days immediately following the earthquake and tsunami, several clothing shops and restaurants in Harajuku were closed. At first, the closures seem to be to assess the earthquake damages and clean things back up. Then [...]

  27. 27.

    leeila (March 24, 2011)

    it´s so sad……

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