People go to Japan for several reasons. Some people go to enjoy the sceneries while other go to enjoy the festivities there. There are also some travelers who go to Japan to shop until they drop. If you plan to go to Japan and have a little bit of everything, there is an area in Tokyo that would be perfect for this and the place is the area of Omotesando.
The Fashion and Shopping in Tokyo, Japan
When talking about the fashion and shopping found in Tokyo, what usually comes to mind is the Harajuku area which pertains to the area between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. What people might not know is that there is another area near Harajuku that is very similar to this area except it serves adult clientele instead of the youthful teenage crowds. This particular area is Omotesando.
This street is decorated with zelkova trees that run throughout the entire stretch of Omotesando which starts from the entrance of the Meiji Shrine until Aoyama-Dori, which is where you can find the Omotesando Station. Omotesando wasn’t always a shopping and fashion area. It was originally made as a frontal approach to the shrine dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. As time progressed, this area became what it is now which is a very busy and sought out shopping area as well as one of the best architectural showcase streets in the world.
It is officially considered as one of the best shopping areas in Tokyo because multiple elite fashion brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Ralph Lauren, and many others can be found in walking distance from one another. These brands are obviously a lot pricier compared to other fashion boutiques and this price difference is what labels this area as one that caters to a more mature clientele.
If you’re too lazy to walk the length of the street to see and visit all the stores, you can go to the malls around this area like the Laforet Harajuku that make it easier for shoppers to window shop because the stores are brought even closer together. On the slight chance that you want to see everything you possibly can in one establishment, you can opt to go to the biggest shopping complex in the area which is the Omotesando Hills. This complex, located on Jingumae Street, Shibuya-ku, opened in 2005 and it has constantly grown since them. Presently, considering all establishments on every floor, you can find about 9 restaurants, 11 cafes, and 75 stores that sell all kinds of clothing, accessories, and cosmetic products to their customers. The operating hours of the stores here may vary a little from one another but generally, you can find these stores open and in service until 9 PM.
It was mentioned earlier that Omotesando is supposed to be an area that caters to shopping needs as well as adventure needs. To provide something for those who seek adventure in this area, you can find a variety of places you can go to that show and teach you different things. An example of such attractions is the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, Nezu Museum, and Yoyogi Park.
The Ota Memorial Museum of Art, as its name suggests, offers travelers the chance to set their eyes on historic ukiyo-e art. This style of art was prominent in Japan from the 17th century to the 19th century. This type of art makes use of woodblock prints and paintings that were essential to the progression of artwork throughout the history of Japan. This particular museum houses more than 12,000 works of art and is found just north of Omotesando as you move towards the Harajuku Station.
The Nezu Museum, on the other hand, offers travels their fix on historic artifacts that were collected before the Second World War. It is called the Nezu Museum because all the artifacts found in this museum are from the collection of the politician and businessman named Kaichiro Nezu, who lived from the year of 1860 until 1940. He was also a tea ceremony enthusiast which explains Nezu Museum’s collection of tea ceremony tools like the ceramics and textiles used back then as well as the sculptures found in old tea houses. This museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM and admission to this museum would generally cost you about 1100 yen. It is an 8-minute walk from the Omotesando Subway Station if you are coming from the A5 Exit and a 10-minute walk if you are coming from the B4 Exit of the subway station.
If you are looking for a place to relax and appreciate the nature then Yoyogi Park is where you want to go when in the Omotesando area. This park is one of Tokyo’s biggest parks and they hold a lot of events and activities here to engage visitors. It is 54 hectares of various landscapes that are perfect to take in as you ride a bike or take a nice long stroll. When you go here, you are sure to see people playing, having picnics, and doing other outdoor activities that will really motivate you to join the fun as well.
Details about the Vertical Omotesando and Omotesando Coffee in Japan
In lieu of Omotesando Street being considered street to appreciate great architecture, you should know about a proposal shared by Wai Think Tank for a Fashion Museum Competition years ago. This competition was to be held in order to design a 100-meter high tower that would contain fashion history exhibits from the past until the 20th century which would basically be the Fashion Museum for the 21st century.
Wai Think Tank’s proposal is a very interesting one because the idea behind it came from Omotesando itself. In their design for the tower, they were able to take the long horizontal street of Omotesando and turn it into the layout for the tower. Using advanced designing programs, they were able to visualize their design which incorporated a network of elevators, escalators, stairs, and platforms that essentially connected all the exhibits together in a unique way. They even included a moving catwalk to provide an unconventional way of viewing the exhibit.
You start from the ground floor and as you move up, you will go through the floors which hold the main lobby and the exhibit for items from the 1920’s to 1930’s. As you continue to move up, you will see other exhibits that that divided into the different decades they are from. This means that along the way to the top of the tower, you will see exhibits with items from the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, until the 2000’s. The exhibit for the 2000’s isn’t the top floor though because, on top of this exhibit, you will find a runway for fashion events. Above this runway, you will also find the sky bar along with the urban balcony and garden.
The construction of this tower, however, has not be initiated yet so for now, it remains a simple possibility for a modern fashion museum in Tokyo. If you are bummed out about the fact that this amazing tower has yet to exist in Tokyo, do not stress about it because there are other things that are soon to come to the area of Omotesando that might make up for not having this fashion museum yet. A perfect example of such a thing is the return of Omotesando coffee as the new and improved “Koffee Mameya”.
For those who don’t know, Omotesando Koffee was one of the best coffee places you can go to in Omotesando. Sadly, they had to close in the year of 2015 because the establishment where the coffee shop was located was past its due date. Since it wasn’t really the business that failed, the owner, Eiichi Kunitomo, decided to bring it back with a new name to shake things up. This version of his coffee shop will sell around 20 varieties of coffee beans which are quite the diverse selections compared to what you can find in other coffee shops. These beans are, of course, just in addition to the actual coffee drinks you can enjoy here. With this being said, if you are looking for a coffee fix during your shopping spree, make sure to look for Koffee Mameya because it won’t disappoint you.
The Hotels worth Staying In When in Omotesando, Japan
Since this place is a well-known shopping area, you will not have a hard time looking for accommodations in this area. Considering all the walking you will be doing on your trip here though, you will probably want to stay in a place that is as near as you can be from this area. Luckily, there are a number of establishments that have this ideal location like the Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-Jingumae Hotel, Tokyu Stay Aoyama Premier Hotel, and Sakura Fleur Aoyama.
The Dormy Inn is just a 5-minute walk from Omotesando Street and it also gives you easy access to the other attractions around this area like Yoyogi Park. The rooms here are pretty modern and they also offer free ramen during the evening to fill your stomach after a long day of adventure. If that ramen isn’t enough, you will be happy to know that this hotel also has an onsen, hot spring bath to help you relax even more after your long day.
The Tokyu Stay is a bit further compared to the Dormy Inn because it is a 10-minute walk from Omotesando. On the other hand, its location gives customers’ access to Aoyama-Dori Avenue and the Gaien-Mae Subway Station which allows you to reach farther destinations much easier if you want to. Every room in this hotel is equipped with a kitchenette so you can also do some cooking if you want some home cooked meals. If you are too lazy to cook though, don’t worry because you can also great restaurants and cafes in this hotel as well.
The Sakura Fleur Aoyama is also a 10-minute walk from Omotesando but it is much closer to the JR Shibuya Station. This hotel might not have a hot bath or a kitchenette but each room in this hotel is equipped with a huge TV that comes along with multiple channels because of the satellite it is connected to. There are many other hotels you can find in this area but these 3 hotels are definitely your best choices if you are basing your decision on its distance from Omotesando.
Omotesando is clearly an area that locals and tourists can enjoy because of all the things you can do and experience here. The fact that it is surrounded by multiple establishments for accommodations as well as multiple stations for traveling makes going to this place a very attractive location. Since things here are quite pricier compared to other areas in Tokyo, you should be prepared with a budget that fits this area to really maximize your stay, shopping, and experience here.