I checked out Samsung’s ‘Galaxy Harajuku’ flagship store in Japan, and it was amazing
Over the past decade, Samsung has become quite the technology juggernaut, dabbling in all aspects of consumer and commercial products and dominating many of the same segments. So it would make sense to have a presence in major markets, not only with its products but also with physical retail locations. In 2019, Samsung opened its flagship store in Japan, calling it ‘Galaxy Harajuku‘ located in the city of Tokyo. I was in Tokyo recently and figured the flagship store is worth checking out as a tourist and a tech enthusiast.
The Galaxy Harajuku building is quite discreet from the outside despite its size. This is probably only because the black seven-story building blends into the surrounding concrete jungle. But if you keep an eye out for it, it’s pretty easy to spot. But enough about the outside, let’s step inside and take a look at Japan’s premier Samsung experience.
When you first head into the ‘Galaxy Harajuku’ experience, you’ll be greeted at the door by staff and also be greeted with Samsung’s entire mobile product line. The first floor hosts the ‘Hands-on Lounge’ and ‘Community Square.’ The lounge shows off the latest from Samsung’s mobile products. Currently, the floor has the Galaxy S22 series, Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, and the Galaxy Watch 4 series on display. While you can see these things at most retail locations, the experience had more unique offerings on display, like the Maison Kitsuné collaboration.
In the same space, towards the back, there is an area meant to act as an education center. Here, the Galaxy Harajuku staff takes time to teach those curious about the brand’s products and its technology. The time is used to educate, and the staff is also on hand to answer questions. After the assembly, the group and staff will go through each part of Galaxy Harajuku. This becomes a hands-on learning experience. A great opportunity for those who want a deeper dive into the products they own or might want to own one day.
The second floor is where things get interesting because there is a cafe, a lounge, and an accessory customization center called ‘My Galaxy.’ With My Galaxy, you can choose a case for your Galaxy smartphone or Galaxy audio products and choose small design pieces to decorate. In addition to the cases, they had jet tags for customization with an embroidery machine. Jet tags could be customized with various fonts in Japanese and English; there were also 35 logos and ten colors to choose from. If that wasn’t enough, the keychain portion also had different options and color choices.
As for the cafe, there are baristas ready and waiting to make drinks and also serve small pastries. There are seating areas inside the My Galaxy experience area, or you can sit in the dedicated cafe lounge. You can also go to an outdoor lounge area for those perfect days. But in July, with high humidity and heat, everyone enjoyed their drinks indoors. If a retail experience, cafe, and accessory customization zone weren’t enough, you’re in luck, as we can head up to the third floor to experience something truly unique.
On the third floor, Samsung has a collaboration with the art collective, teamLab. The collaboration allows visitors to enter a digital world and interact with art pieces using Samsung phones. The goal of the experience is to capture animals, learn about them, and release them back to the wild. You can do this in two ways, the first is using an arrow, and the second is using a net. If you’re not into capturing virtual animals, you can also walk around the space and physically touch the animals. The staff is very particular, asking nicely to release all animals as they are an essential part of the world. The teamLab experience is fantastic, offering a small sample of their full exhibit located about an hour away by train.
The fourth floor is an event space that changes frequently and currently houses an exhibition with an artist. Many pieces of art were being shown off from a collection, and a space was set up with tablets as a drawing competition was being held. Visitors could participate and submit their drawings to try and win a prize. The fifth floor, S Pen Atelier, has a small workshop where visitors can hone their drawing skills using S Pen devices. This is a small private space with only a little room. The floor is relatively larger in its entirety, but half of it is dedicated to VR, which was closed due to the pandemic.
The top floor is a photo spot made in collaboration with the music group BTS. It features interactive areas with furniture meant to look like set pieces from BTS music videos. The last area is in the basement, where there is a service center and shop. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to this area, as the staff didn’t give too much indication that there was something below the ground level.
As a final farewell, Samsung allows its guests to try their luck at the gashapon machine (up to five tries) to win a prize. Not a bad way to end a tour of Japan’s largest Samsung retail experience.
So what do you think is the most exciting part of the Galaxy Harajuku experience? Would you visit it if you had the chance?