Owner of Shisha House HOLIDAY





Harajuku is the center of counter culture in Japan. From underground to kawaii, people from all walks of life come together to form an original cultural ecosystem. Leo’s shisha house “Holiday” is located directly in the heart of this town in a multiuse building just off the famous Takeshita street, the Mecca of the cultural scene.

The place has a very unassuming and comfortable atmosphere. It is truly like visiting an old friend’s house when you plop down in one of the sections and begin smoking. But the only thing that seems a little out of place in this chill spot, is the breathtaking irezumi that surrounds Leo’s body.



In his teens, Leo first started his tattoo journey, when he tattooed a line on his leg by himself. He attached sewing needles to a disposable chopstick and dipped it in Indian calligraphy ink, and got to work. At the time, he was immersed in the hip-hop and low rider culture in Japan, so tattoos and getting tattooed was not taboo for him.

As he aged, he started earning enough money to be able to financially afford trips to America, to see where the culture he was into originated. After numerous trips, he started to do longer road trip type adventures and realized one thing. “These people’s tattoos are not for me to get.”, he mentions. As he became more familiar with the West Coast scene, paradoxically he also started to feel closer to his Japanese roots.

20代も後半になると、周りの仲間たちが家庭や仕事で「守りに入っていく」のが解せなかった。安定した将来など、こちらから願い下げだ。そんな折、以前から親交のあった府中 彫剛氏が、和彫りで自身のスタイルを確立したと耳にした。レオさんの決断は速かった。約束された日常との決別の証として、九分袖胸割りを氏に依頼したのだ。

In his late twenties, he couldn’t understand why many of his friends “settling down” with families and corporate jobs. He had no interest in this idea of stability. At this transitional period in his life, his old friend Fuchu Horigou had established his own style of traditional Japanese tattooing. So Leo visited the shop and decided on starting a munewari bodysuit with full arm sleeves. He wanted this to be a symbol of the rejection of normal life too many of his friends were satisfied with.



Leo’s surname is Watanabe, so it was fitting that he chose “Watanabe no Tsuna” the founder of the Watanabe pedigree, for his back-piece. At the time of starting his bodysuit Leo was also starting his shisha shop so he chose to add the figure of Tsuna, who is about to slash a demon, as it symbolizes overcoming difficulties.

He also decided on other designs that represent prosperity, like the frog and centipede. The centipede is an auspicious character that never retreats even from danger. Also chrysanthemums signifies longevity, and Horitoku tattoo family which Horigou belongs is famous for this motif. Leo finished the entire suit in just over a year and half, which is amazingly fast and required a large amount of dedication and hard work from both Horigou and Leo himself.



Leo is now a fixture in the sub-culture he loved growing up. He learned from his predecessors and now enjoys introducing the lifestyle to a new generation. He opened Holiday, and chose shisha as a business because at the time it was not a common business, and he could do with it something completely different and would not be bound by stereotypes.

Harajuku is a town where all kinds of things are accepted. His tattooed body is way of pushing classic irezumi into the mainstream and away from its negative association to outlaws. The large chrysanthemums on his neck were applied in that spot with the intention of showing people the beauty of Japanese tattooing and hopefully attracting a younger generation to it.



When he first opened his shop, his many customers were around 20 years old. About 10 years later, a large number of his regular customers are pushing the street culture in Harajuku and he feels blessed that he had something to do with this push. He said when thinking about his influence in Harajuku, “I am happy and deeply moved by that.” However Leo is definitely not the type to settle down or settle for just one thing.

On a section of his bodysuit he deliberately asked Horigou to leave it without color, as he respects the old omen, “When something is finished, it begins to fall apart.” Once he achieves something, he quickly has the next thing already on the go. There is no sense of completion in his life. Young people who admire Leo’s attitude to run relentlessly gather at Holiday to chill and enjoy shisha.

Shisha House HOLIDAY

住所: 東京都渋谷区神宮前1-7-10 coxy176-4F
営業時間: 13:00〜24:00(不定休)
電話: 03-6455-5189

Address: Coxy176-4F, 1-7-10 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Business Hour: 13:00〜24:00(Irregular Holidays)
Phone: (+81)3-6455-5189
※Business hour may be shorten because of Covid-19

HP: shish-harajuku.com
IG: www.instagram.com/holiday_shisha
TW: twitter.com/shisha_harajuku

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