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Tucked away on the 3rd floor on Takeshita Street, one of Tokyo’s most famous pedestrian streets, Candye Syrup is a quirky hair salon specialising in rainbow hair colours. The Harajuku neighbourhood of Tokyo is known for its colourful street art, vintage shops and cosplay outlets and, most importantly – for being the centre of all things ‘kawaii’. A popular Japanese concept, meaning ‘cute’ or ‘adorable’, ‘kawaii’ is a prominent part of Japanese culture, and is defined by a childlike appearance and mannerisms.


The salon was founded by hairdresser Iku in 2015. Originally from Hiroshima, Iku opened his first salon, Viva Cute Candy, in Shimokitazawa, before relocating two years ago, and relaunching with the name Candye Syrup. “It’s always been my dream to open a salon in Harajuku,” he explains, “I felt this was the perfect place to spread my cute concept to the world”.

Living up to its name, Candye Syrup specialises in sugary pastel colours and expressive cuts (“shaved designs are really popular, as well as pink, purple and blue dyes”) attracting a young, creative clientele, including artists and musicians. Some of the Candye Syrup staff also perform together as an idol band of the same name, their own distinctive hair designs forming a major part of their on-stage look.

“There’s an E on the end of Candye, a play on the words ‘Candy’ and ‘Can Dye’ - because I can dye the hair as sweet as syrup”
Iku, Candye Syrup owner

Inside Candye Syrup, painted polka dots and giant teddy bears line the walls, and staff, some clad in fluffy pyjamas, are busy tending to their clients. In the middle of this technicolour environment, owner Iku blends in entirely. Dressed head-to-toe in powder pink, his hair – a mixture of pink and purple – is adorned with dozens of colourful clips and ribbons. “Ever since I was little I’ve liked cute things, it’s always felt natural to me” Iku says, on the inspirations behind Candye Syrup’s distinctive look. “I call this concept dream-cute: ‘Yume Kawaii’. I wanted to decorate the salon using pastels, so the colour scheme is pink, baby blue and purple. I wanted to combine all my hobbies, such as dolls and toys, when I made this space.”


Candye Syrup is at Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 3 Chome−22−7, 藤原ビル3F

Photography Aris Akritidis
Interview Emma de Clercq
Translation Tetsu Itoh
Special Thanks Iku

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