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How to Walk Around Omotesando, Harajuku Area

2019.01.09

How to Walk Around Omotesando, Harajuku Area
The area of Omotesando and Harajuku is where countless people come and go. However, one street behind those large main avenues, there is a number of small alleys and some hideout-like restaurants and stores, which often are delicious and stylish. So much so that, there are many branches of popular stores, and some new stores opening in this area. Also, people often see a queue in front of the popular stores.

The birthplace of the Japanese “KAWAII” (cute) culture, Omotesando has world’s eminent high-end brand shops, and is adjacent to Harajuku as well. However, it also gives a different taste in the atmosphere of the city compared to Harajuku. This time, the article introduces this Omotesando, Harajuku area known as a “City of Adults” where it is visited by foreigners from all of the world.

What is Omotesando?

What is Omotesando?
Omotesando and around Aoyama area stretching from Omotesando Station to “Meiji-jingu Shrine” is gaining popularity as a forerunner of the Japanese fashion, where numerous fashion stores and fashionable shops gather. The nearest station in the Omotesando area is the “Omotesando Station” of Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Ginza Line, and Hanzomon Line. Harajuku Station of JR Yamanote Line is also within walking distance from the Omotesando area. As well as being a very fashionable and modern area, this place is also known for having a good access from all over Tokyo as many train lines have stops around this area.

The name of the Omotesando came from the fact that it used to be a pathway to the “Meiji-jingu Shrine,” as “sando” means pathway in Japanese. In Meiji-jingu Shrine, there is the largest torii (divine gateway of a shrine) in Japan. From that large torii, there are pathways lined from North and South. The street leading to this south entrance is “Omotesando.” Along the street, there are zelkova trees and are regularly maintained. Although many of zelkova trees planted in the Taisho era were destroyed at the time of the Tokyo Air Raid, the zelkova trees planted again after the war has grown dramatically and is still popular as a symbol of Omotesando.

Omotesando is famous as a fashionable town

Omotesando is famous as a fashionable town
Along the boulevard such as Kotto-dori street and Aoyama Street which stretches east from Meiji-jingu Shrine, several roadside shops of famous brands line up. Also, there is Omotesando Hills and the streets are becoming one of Japan’s leading shopping streets. No matter the weekends or weekdays, various people come to visit shopping here at Omotesando.

Omotesando is famous as a fashionable town2
The Omotesando area’s landmark “Omotesando Hills” is a commercial facility with stores of many popular brands and cafes. The residential area just behind Omotesando Hills also have a number of little shops. Although Omotesando is the center of the city, its residential area is very quiet and peaceful. In addition, there are some unique stores where they utilize a room in an apartment or the area of the first floor.

Also for being close to Harajuku, there are specialty boutiques and clothing stores targeting young women as well. It is an area for young ladies who are passionate in fashion and like “kawaii” items.

Meeting places around Omotesando Station

● In front of Omotesando Koban (Police box)
It is also known to foreigners as Omotesando police box. This has been in this area for somewhat long time, and is also famous for having very kind policemen. Just in front of the A3 exit of Tokyo Metro Omotesando Station.

●Spiral Cafe Omotesando
Located in Aoyama, Spiral Cafe Omotesando has the distinguishing appearance. It is inside of Spiral building, and a casual cafe surrounded by art galleries, which is available all day for lunch, tea time and dinner. The recommended menu is the freshly baked souffle pancake. Spiral Cafe Omotesando is 1 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Omotesando Station B1 exit or B3 exit.

●Oak Omotesando entrance
It is a complex which was built on the former site of Hanae Mori Building, which includes Emporio Armani, Coach, Three Dots and etc. There is also a cafe in the store of Armani. It is in front of the Tokyo Metro Omotesando Station A1 exit.

How to walk around Omotesando

“Omotesando” is a street extending straight from the Jingu-bashi bridge intersection near Harajuku Station of JR Yamanote Line to Aoyama Street. It only Ginza and Omotesando where there are such a number of stores with high-end brands in Tokyo. Many of those shops’ interior and exterior are designed by famous architects or designers. It is already enjoyable just looking at those buildings. Also, by just going one street across the large streets, there are numerous stylish specialty boutiques, variety stores, and second handed clothing stores which have been existing in this area for decades.

The classic ways to enjoy Omotesando area is first, to get off at Harajuku Station and take a walk around Meiji-jingu Shrine and Takeshita Street. Then start shopping down the slope to the Omotesando / Aoyama area.

1. Shopping at Omotesando

■Omotesando Hills

1. Shopping at Omotesando
Omotesando Hills is a complex facility which holds multiple fashionable shops and boutiques. The major example would be the headquarter of “shu uemura,” and Omotesando Hills is one of the trademarks of Omotesando. Throughout the year, it holds several events as well.

“Omotesando Hills”
●4-12-10, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
http://www.omotesandohills.com/


■La Foret Harajuku

1. Shopping at Omotesando2
Located at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji-dori Street, “La foret Harajuku” is one of the major landmarks in this area for youths. Since it is open, it has been playing a role to drive the fashion trends in Tokyo. Even now, it is gaining popularity as a fashion mecca that deals with various genres. “La Foret” means “forest” in French.

“La Foret Harajuku”
●1-11-6, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
https://www.laforet.ne.jp/


■Oriental Bazzar

1. Shopping at Omotesando3
A shop with a mysterious appearance that suddenly appears along Omotesando is “Oriental Bazaar.” Inside the shop, there are goods and items of what foreigners imagine about Japan. As well as some Japanese style miscellaneous goods, there are some very interesting products made with very unique ideas. It is well known to foreigners and almost all the people from abroad visit here when they come to Omotesando.

“Oriental Bazaar”
●5-9-13. Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
http://www.orientalbazaar.co.jp/


■Kiddy Land Harajuku Store

1. Shopping at Omotesando4
Kiddy Land Harajuku Store is a long-established toy specialty shop, which has a history of 70 years. It is a popular spot for foreign tourists. In addition to the abundant collection of the character toys, the recommendation here is “Ninja umbrella.” This umbrella looks as if a katana that ninja holds when the umbrella is folded. It might be a good souvenir.

“Kiddy Land Harajuku Store”
●6-1-9, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
https://www.kiddyland.co.jp/


■Princess one Spoon TOKYO

1. Shopping at Omotesando5
When entering Meiji-dori Street from the side, there is a building like a castle. It is “Princess one Spoon TOKYO” where there are products such as princess theme accessories, fashion products and sweets. There is a clock hanging in the gate of the building pointing “23:59,” which is the time right before the cinderella's magic dispels.

“Princess one Spoon TOKYO”
●Jingumae S Building, 4-27-4, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
http://www.p1s.jp/


■PICNIC Harajuku Store

1. Shopping at Omotesando6
The big attraction of “PICNIC Harajuku Store” is that there are plenty of kinds of toys and squeezes (* 1) that are very popular. Because they sell almost every kind of squeezes, some people visit here just to get them. It is also popular as their products is usually around 500 yen which is very affordable. (1 *) Squeeze: toys that stretches, with food or animals’ motif

“PICNIC Harajuku Store”
●Le Ponte Building 1st floor, 1-14-2, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo


■AWESOME STORE Harajuku/Omotesando Store

1. Shopping at Omotesando7
“AWESOME STORE” is a household goods store selling interior, kitchens, dining, stationery, aroma goods and etc at very low prices. As the store's name suggests, this store’s abundant inventory and the low price is “AWESOME!”

“AWESOME STORE Harajuku/Omotesando Store”
●Omotesando IIDA Building 1F / B1F, 5-8-7, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
https://www.awesomestore.net/


■HYSTERIC MINI Harajuku main store

1. Shopping at Omotesando8
“HYSTERIC MINI Harajuku main store” was born as a kid’s version of the popular apparel brand “HYSTERIC GLAMOR.” This children’s clothing brand is popular for its colorful and vivid design. The design with the concept of subculture from the 1960s to the 1980s and the trademark character “Mini” are very popular among mothers who would like their children to have distinguishing clothing.

“HYSTERIC MINI Harajuku main store”
●6-15-17, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
http://www.hysteric-mini.com/


■Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square

1. Shopping at Omotesando9
“Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square” is where traditional craft items all over Japan are gathered. It is Japan's only gallery & shop where traditional craft items are collected from all over the country. Within the shop, there are around 3,500 traditional crafts and some are designated by the Minister of Economy as an important cultural craft.

“Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square”
●1F 8-1-22, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
http://kougeihin.jp/

2.Date spots in Omotesando

■Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is one of the most spacious parks in Tokyo. You can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, forest bathing in summer, and falling leaves in autumn. A date here would provide the sensation of the different seasons in Japan.


2.Date spots in Omotesando

■Meiji-jingu Shrine Imperial Garden
If you plan to visit Meiji-jingu Shrine, coming to Meiji-jingu Shrine Imperial Garden (gyoen) as well is recommended. It is inside the perimeter of the shrine. Especially in this garden, “Kiyomasa no Ido” is a popular place as a power spot. It is a well that is known to have a positive effect on the ‘relationships.’ People often say that putting a picture of the well to the wallpaper of your phone brings a good fortune. Don’t forget to take a picture when you visit!


2.Date spots in Omotesando2

■Ura- Harajuku & Cat Street
Ura-Harajuku & Cat street is a shopping area spreading in between Harajuku and Omotesando stations. Unlike lively Takeshita Street, this area is calm and quiet, and unique shops are scattered around. It is a recommendation area that you can enjoy enough with window shopping.


2.Date spots in Omotesando3

■Watarium Museum
Watarium Museum is a private museum that handles a lot of contemporary art founded in 1990. The eye-catching building of the museum is designed by a Swiss architect Mario Botta. The museum is often hosting a number of exhibitions for internationally active artists. Its exhibition is based on their own concepts, and there are ones for contemporary arts, architectures, pictures and designs.


2.Date spots in Omotesando4

■Aoyama Cemetery Garden
Aoyama Cemetery Garden has a vast site with the area of about 260,000 square meters. It is also famous as a viewing spot for cherry blossoms. Because it is a cemetery, its cherry blossoms viewing is very quiet, which is very unique. However, since it is a cemetery after all, the manner here is exceptionally important.


2.Date spots in Omotesando5

3. Sightseeing in Omotesando

■Meiji-jingu Shrine
Meiji-jingu Shrine, celebrating the 100th anniversary in 2020 is a shrine that enshrines Emperor Meiji and his Empress dowager Shoken (Emperor Meiji's wife). It is also known as having the largest number of visitors in Hatsumode (first shrine visits during the New Year). In the precincts of approximately 700,000 square meters, there is a rich nature even though it is a middle of the city. People can even enjoy forest bathing here.


3. Sightseeing in Omotesando

■Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum was opened as a memorial hall at a place where he once used as an atelier and residence for 50 years. Mr. Taro Okamoto, an abstract artist is known for creations such as “The Tower of the Sun” produced for and at the Osaka Expo. There is a number of vivid and energetic art pieces lined up in the hall which reminds of Taro Okamoto’ s work.


3. Sightseeing in Omotesando2

■Nezu Museum
It is an art museum exhibiting mainly specialized in antiques of Japan and Asia. Not to mention the wide range of the genre of exhibits, it also has a large garden that covers over 17,000 square meters. There are many sites such as tea room and bamboo grove in the garden. Also, there is a cafe, so people can have a relaxing time here.


3. Sightseeing in Omotesando3

■Togo-jinja Shrine
It is a shrine dedicated to the famous Navy soldier, Togo Heihachiro in Meiji and Taisho era. Now he is known as “the god of victory,” and people who want to win something, such as examinees come here to visit to get its benefits.


3. Sightseeing in Omotesando4

■Takeshita Street
Takeshita Street is where there is a number of shops for youths with affordable price. It is also an origin of the word “KAWAII.” Not only Japanese teenagers, but also a number of overseas tourists visit here as well as Harajuku and Omotesando. Takeshita Street is one of the places that represents Tokyo.


3. Sightseeing in Omotesando5

4. Meals at Omotesando

■Minami-Aoyama Essence
Based on medicinal cuisine for Cantonese cuisine, “Minami-Aoyama Essence” is popular for the healthy Chinese cuisine that does not use chemical seasoning at all. The root of medicinal sauce has the idea that living according to the change of nature leads to curing. Also, there also is an idea that the first step to live healthy life is to eat seasonal ingredients. Seafood is fresh from fish markets, and the meat is selected carefully for safety and security. Wines are purchased from the winery in Tochigi Prefecture, and old vintage and other wines compatible with Chinese dishes are popular as well.


4. Meals at Omotesando
In the relaxing space of the restaurant, the elaborate Chinese cuisines that heal both your body and heart.


4. Meals at Omotesando2
Sophisticated and calm atmosphere of the restaurant.


4. Meals at Omotesando3
They put considerate effort on keeping the ingredients fresh and safe. Also, in order to emphasize the original tastes of the ingredients, no chemical ingredients or food additives are used to cook it.

“Minami-Aoyama Essence”
●050-2018-0730
http://essence.tokyo/
●1:30-16:00(L.O. 15:30), 18:00-23:00(L.O. 22:00)
●No scheduled holidays


■Napule Minami-Aoyama main store
“Napule” is a restaurant where you can enjoy a variety of appetizers and dishes based on South Italian regional cuisine, including authentic Napoli pizza. Pizza has a well-balanced among flavor, fragrance, sweetness and saltiness. It is famous that the dough is delicious enough to have it itself. Among all pizza, Margherita is crispy outside, rich in taste, and is a menu that can enjoy the taste of wheat. A lunch menu with 10 different kinds of flavors of pizza is also popular.


4. Meals at Omotesando4
“Napule” a restaurant where people can enjoy delicious pizzas right off of the Omotesando Station.


4. Meals at Omotesando5
The interior of the restaurant which is based on a small trattoria in a port town in Italy.


4. Meals at Omotesando6
The restaurant uses the original kiln made by one of the famous pizza kiln craftsmen in Naples, Ferrara family for two generations.


4. Meals at Omotesando7
Have it warm! Delicious “Margherita of buffalo mozzarella cheese”


4. Meals at Omotesando8
“Buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato caprese”


4. Meals at Omotesando9
“Tagliata with charcoal grilled beef” with arugula and Parmigiano.


4. Meals at Omotesando10
Napule’s one of the popular menu, “Tagliatelle” with cream sauce using pesticide-free lemon. It is an exquisite dish with thick cream and the freshness of the lemon with al dente pasta.

“Napule Minami-Aoyama main store”
●03-3797-3790
https://napule-pizza.com/
●Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30-14:00 (L.O.), Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 11:30-14:30(L.O.) / Dinner: 17:30-22:00(L.O.)
●Open year-round

Areas around Omotesando

Shibuya
Shibuya is a downtown area in the center of Japan's capital, Tokyo. It is the birthplace of youth culture in Japan. It is always at the forefront of fashion trends and also the center of culture for young people. A lot of subcultures were born here from Shibuya.

Harajuku
Harajuku is the birthplace of “Kawaii” culture unique to Japan. There are many products here that are only sold here. It is a city where young people gather together with very unique styles of clothing.

Shinjuku
Shinjuku is known as one of the leading entertainment areas in Japan, with large facilities. Shinjuku is different cities with different attractions at the day and night. Even the different areas make a large difference on how to enjoy this city. This city’s charm is that only at this city, many can be experienced

How to get to Omotesando

It is convenient to use the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and Hanzomon Line to reach Omotesando. In addition, in the neighbouring stations, there are JR Yamanote Line at Harajuku Station, and Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line at Meiji Jingumae Station. It also has access to sightseeing spots such as Shinjuku and Tokyo station terminals, as well as downtown attractions such as Asakusa, Oshiage and Ueno. Next to Omotesando, there is a Shibuya Station, which has a good access to some long-distance transportations including airport limousine buses that head to Narita and Haneda. Also, in Shinjuku that is two stops away from Harajuku Station, there is a large-scale bus terminal where express/highway buses arrive and depart from all over the country.

Summary of Omotesando

During the Edo period (1603 - 1868), around Omotesando was the place where the Daimyo Yashiki (residence of Japanese aristocrats) spread. Then “Meiji-jingu Shrine” was born. From around 1960 it changed its appearance to fashion town, and now it has developed as an area with some strong impressions. Why do not you visit Omotesando where latest products in Tokyo gathers?

*This information was last updated on September 3, 2018. For details please contact store and facilities directly.

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