Omotesando

Photo credit: kidperez via Visualhunt / CC BY
Photo credit: kidperez via Visualhunt / CC BY
  • eat 먹다
  • shop 가게
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  • see 看到 看到 만나다
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●Town Info

Harajuku and Omotesando neighbour each other, so it is easy to see both at once, but  they are nothing like each other.

 

Harajuku is the motherland of the “Cute and Colourful” culture of Japan, frequented by teenagers and girls. The town and it’s craziness has become a place adored by not only Japanese girls, but famous international celebrities such as Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have stated their infatuation with the place.

 

Everywhere you look there are cute, cool or trendy goods, and things you just won’t find anywhere else. And because the target consumers are young, most things are easily affordable.

 

Harajuku’s fashion forward appeal lends to many young adults dressing up in some interesting outfits, so it’s pretty fun to be an onlooker.

 

The town radiates with vibrant energy during the weekends and on holidays. Kids from Tokyo and more suburban/rural parts, and internationals, overflow the streets as if a festival is taking place.

 

Omotesando, conversely, is a fashion district for a more mature crowd.

 

The name “Omotesando” originally came from “the road to Meiji Shrine” or “shrine pavement”, however now it’s meaning has evolved to include the area surrounding it.

 

On par with Ginza as a luxury area, super brands build their flagship stores here and you can see them dotted along the street, blending with the many cafe’s and smaller boutique shops. Walking around this area you will notice glamorous girls and handsome guys.

 

An art gallery with a beautiful Japanese garden can be found nearby the area as well as other cultural sites too.

 

Things don’t come cheap around town though. If you’re avoiding unnecessary purchases, avoid the area.

 

And of course you cannot forget about Meji Shrine, located on the right side of Harajuku station [原宿駅]. Regardless of being in the middle of Tokyo metropolis, the magnificent shrine is encompassed in the middle of a deep forest covering a vast 700,000 square meters.

 

Though the shrine itself, established in 1920, doesn’t have much of a history, the 3rd Emperor and Empress are enshrined there, giving it a prestigious status.

During the New Year more than 3 million people, most in all of Japan, visit the shrine; known also as one of Tokyo’s prominent  “power spots” - an area that gives one spiritual power or healing.

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●Access

Several trains pass through Harajuku and Omotesando making it easily accessible.

 

Harajuku [原宿]

① Harajuku station [原宿駅] JR Yamanote line [JR山手線].

② Meiji-jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line [千代田線] and Fukutoshin line [副都心線]

 

Omotesando [表参道]

Omotesando station [表参道駅] Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line [千代田線],

Hanzomon line [半蔵門線], Ginza line [銀座線]

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●Recommended

Have some fun walking around and shopping. If cultural activities peak your interest, check out Meiji Shrine [明治神宮] and Nezu Museum [根津美術館].

 

As for eating tasty Japanese food, don’t expect much from Harajuku. Western food is more synonymous with both Harajuku and Omotesando. If you absolutely crave Japanese food in this particular area, you have no choice but to find yourself at the narrower, less populated streets of Omotesando where the restaurants are expensive.

 

The area is settled in a compact area so it’s easy to wander around, so you will find most things within a 300 meter radius from Jingumae crossing, where the subway station Meiji-jingumae station  [明治神宮前駅] is.

Be entertained by walking around, seeing the main areas of Takeshita Street, Meiji Dori, Cat Street and backend of Harajuku, and Omotesando, and the streets surrounding it, as well as taking a rest at a chic cafe.

 

In terms of shopping, it is sufficient to say Harajuku is “cheap and cute stuff” while “expensive and stylish” belongs to Omotesando, generally speaking. Not interested in fashion? No need for you to buy anything then.

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●Check It

Harajuku Town Walk

 

① Takeshita Street  [竹下通り]
First, make your way to what is synonymous with Harajuku, Takeshita Street [竹下通り]. Walk out Takeshita exit [竹下口] at JR Harajuku station [JR原宿駅], cross the road, and there you are, at the entrance to “KAWAII,” or the world of cuteness. If it’s cute you’ll find it in one of the 150 shops packed along the 350 meter road. Clothes and accessories, general items, crepe shops, sweets makers, and loads of purikura (cute photo booths) are everywhere.

 

Just walking around the street will give you a sense of joy and understanding into Japanese pop culture, but beware of weekends and Japan’s summer break season. It gets terribly crowded, more so than a crammed train during rush hour on a rainy day.

 

Takeshita Street [竹下通り]
Address: 1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前1]
Access: 1 min. walk from Harajuku station [原宿駅] Takeshita Exit [竹下口] on JR Yamanote line.
Url: http://www.takeshita-street.com/index.html

 

② Meji Dori (Road) [明治通り]
Meiji Road [明治通り], crossing Takeshita Street vertically and extending north to south, is home to the biggest names in fast fashion; Uniqlo, H&M, Forever 21, etc., as well as large select shops such as Beams.

 

But there is more. You can find 140 shops of the latest trends in culture and fashion at one of the landmarks of Harajuku, Laforet Harajuku [ラフォーレ原宿], and fashionable foreign apparel brands and plenty of restaurants at the fashion complex, Tokyu Plaza [東急プラザ].

 

Many cheap and KAWAII, or cute, shops are bunched around Meiji Dori as well. Among them is ASOKO, a cute and stylish general goods store where you can buy a capsule-like pen for 32 yen! Or for 54 yen, cute hair accessories. It’s reasonable prices and fashion sense makes it a very popular shop.

 

Address: 1〜6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前1〜6]
Access:
– 3 min. walk from Harajuku station [原宿駅] on JR Yamanote line.
– 1 min. walk from Meiji-jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo metro.

 

La foret Harajuku [ラフォーレ原宿]
Address:  1-11 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前1-11]
Access:
– 5 min. walk from Harajuku station [原宿駅] Omotesando Exit [表参道口] on JR line.
– 1 min. walk from Meiji-jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo metro.
Open: 11:00~21:00
Closed: N/A
Url: http://www.laforet.ne.jp/en/

 

Tokyu Plaza Harajuku Omotesando [東急プラザ•原宿表参道]
Address: 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前4-30-3]
Access:
– 5 min. walk from Harajuku station [原宿駅] on JR line.
– 1 min. walk from Meiji-jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo metro.
Open: 11:00~21:00 (Restaurants: 8:30〜23:00)
Closed: N/A
Tel: 03-3497-0418
Url: http://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/en/

 

ASOKO Harajuku Shop [ASOKO原宿店]
Address: 6-27-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前6-27-8]
Access: 3 min. walk from Meiji-jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo metro.
Open: 11:00~20:00
Closed: N/A
Tel: 03-6427-9965
Url: https://www.asoko-jpn.com/

 

③ Cat Street & Ura-Harajuku (backstreets of Harajuku)
The area lies along a narrow street that stretches north to south, around the middle of Omotesando, and a number of popular brands as well as small boutique shops can be found.

 

Even among Harajuku fashion, shops here are at the front edge of style with an unproportionately high number of “street” style shops, which makes it a must check location.

 

Address: 4~6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access:
– 7 min. walk from JR Harajuku station [原宿駅]
– 2 min. walk from Meiji Jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo Metro

 

Omotesando Town Walk

Omotesando is a cluster of flagship stores of super luxury brands, chic and stylish shops, and picturesque cafes. Some even call it the Champs Elysees of Japan, which we believe is an over exaggeration.

 

From spring and all through fall, the main road is lined with beautiful green zelkova trees, and in winter, the sparkling illuminated lights will bring joy and warm your heart.

 

Not all of Omotesando belongs to luxury brands. Unique and interesting stores are everywhere too. For example, KIDDY LAND, a 6 floor building that sells manga and exclusive Hello Kitty products. The entire store is character goods heaven.

 

Another is Oriental Bazaar. The shop has a grand oriental entrance and sells Japanese gifts specifically to foreigners. Bonsai sets, small Japanese antique style goods are just an example of things they carry. Everything in the store can be sent overseas.

 

The landmark of Omotesando is none other than Omotesando Hills. Around 100 shops consisting of luxury brands, high end shops, and restaurants occupy the modern atrium structure that stands 3 floors above and below ground level.

The structures of the luxury brand flagship stores are worth looking at as well, as they are all designed by some of the most renown designers. Chief among them are Prada Aoyama and Christian Dior Omotesando, both excellent in design.

 

KIDDY LAND Harajuku
Address: 6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前 6-1-9]
Access:
– 7 min. walk from JR Harajuku station [原宿駅] on JR Yamanote line [山手線].
– 6 min. walk from Meiji Jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] via Tokyo Metro.
Open: Mon.〜Fri. 11:00-21:00; Sat./Sun./Holidays 1030-21:00
Closed: Never (hours change during New Year holiday)
Cost:
Tel: 03-3409-3431
Url: http://www.kiddyland.co.jp/en/index.html

 

Oriental Bazaar
Address: 5-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前5-9―13]
Access: 5 min. walk from JR Harajuku station [原宿駅] on JR Yamanote line [山手線].
Open: 10:00〜19:00
Closed: Thursdays
Tel: 03-3400-3933
Url: http://www.orientalbazaar.co.jp/en/index.html

 

Omotesando Hills
Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区神宮前 4ー12―10]
Access:
– 2 min. walk from Omotesando station [表参道駅]
– 3 min. walk from Meiji Jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo Metro.
– 7 min. walk from Harajuku station [原宿駅] on JR Yamanote line [山手線].

Open: 11:00〜21:00 (hours for restaurants and cafes differ)
Closed: Never (The building closes for about 3 days each year)

Tel: 03-3497-0310
Url: http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/index.html

 

Prada Aoyama
Address: 5-2-6 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku
[港区南青山5-2-6]
Access: 3 min. walk from Omotesando station [表参道駅] on Tokyo Metro.

Url: http://www.prada.com/en/a-future-archive/epicenters/epicenters-tokyo.html?chfrommenu

 

Christian Dior Omotesando
Address: 5-9-11 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
[渋谷区神宮前5-9-11]
Access:
– 4 min. walk from Omotesando station [表参道駅] on Tokyo Metro.
– 3 min. walk from Meiji Jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo Metro.

Url: http://en.store.dior.com/239564-dior-homme-tokyo-omotesando

 

Entertainment (Museums)
Nezu Museum [根津美術館]
Carps swimming in the small river, a stone pavement, and a pathway surrounded by bamboo thicket, the beautiful Japanese garden and museum is an oasis in the middle of the metropolis. One can causally be encompassed in the world of Zen.

7 national treasures are among the  7,400 works of art from Japan and the Orient.

The exhibit changes approx. once a month.

Address: 6-5-1 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
[東京都港区南青山6-5-1]
Access: 10 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Omotesando station [表参道駅]
Open: 10:00〜17:00
Closed: Mondays  (If Monday is a holiday the following day is closed; Rotation of exhibits; New Years)
Cost: 1,100 yen (special exhibits: 1,300 yen)
Tel: 03-3400-2536
Url: http://www.nezu-muse.or.jp/en/index.html

 

Sightseeing
Meiji Shrine [明治神宮]
Address: 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
[東京都渋谷区代々木神園町1-1]

Access:
– 1 min. walk from Omotesando Exit [表参道口] at Harajuku station [原宿駅] on JR Yamanote line [山手線].
– 1 min. walk from Meiji Jingumae station [明治神宮前駅] on Tokyo Metro.

Open: Everyday (Gates open at sunrise and close at sunset.)
Closed: Never
Cost: Free
Tel: 03-3379-5511
Url: http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/index.html

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