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Harajuku's Omotesando Street

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Omotesando Street 表参道 (pronounced Oh-moh-tay-sahn-doh)
Omotesando Street is an unusually wide avenue (by Tokyo standards) lined by Zelkova trees giving shade to top designers' shops like Chanel, Prada and Dior (shown below).   It even has cafes with outdoor seating, for these reasons it's sometimes referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Élysées.


Here's a short YouTube video we took while visiting in 2010:


Omotesando is filled with the gigantic versions of the upscale boutique stores that line the streets of areas like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.  In many cases, the store will be the largest store owned by a particular designer.


Omotesando Chanel



Omotesando Prada



Omotesando Dior

Omotesando is also home to its own legendary toy store called "Kiddyland", much like the famous FAO Schwartz in New York it has just about every toy a child or adult can imagine, but with its own Japanese flair. 



Inside Kiddy Land Kiddy Landyou might find it decorated for a holiday or special event.

It's also famous for its hard to find limited edition toys and dolls.Kiddy Land
Pictured above are customized NEO Blythe dolls:  Johnny Depp's  "Captain Jack Sparrow" from "The Pirates of the Caribbean" on the left and Hayden Christensen's "Anakin Skywalker" from "Star Wars: Episode III" on the right, from a display at Kiddyland.

Kiddyland has been here for 60 years and is arguably the most enduring icon of toydom in Tokyo.

The latest and greatest project completed in Omotesando is a shopping center called "Omotesando Hills"

Omotesando Hills 表参道ヒルズ

Omotesando Hills

Built in 2005 at a cost of nearly $330 million, Omotesando Hills construction was met with some controversy as it took the place of some historic Dojunkai apartments.  Despite this, the moment the complex opened it became an instant success.

Omotesando street is set at a slight incline, so Tasao Ando, the designer of Omotesando hills, featured ramps indoors to mimic the famous slant of the street. 

Omotesando Hills Ramps
Omotesando Hills Ramps                                                                 

He also made sure that the building was not higher than the famous trees lining the street, by constructing several floors underground, which would normally block out sunlight,  but his brilliant construction and position of the skylights also ensured that natural sunlight could spread all the way down to the lowest floor.  Making Omotesando Hills a naturally bright and uplifting shopping experience.

What's shopping/window shopping without great food?  Well, if the sun's out and you want to continue basking in the sunlight you can check out one of Omotesando's Parisian inspired sidewalk cafes.

Anniversaire Cafe アニヴェルセル カフェ 

Anniversaire Café


We recommend window shopping in beautiful Omotesando and saving your money for a nice tea and dessert at Anniversaire Cafe.  What could feel more luxurious than looking at expensive Prada, Chanel and Dior merchandise in possibly their most beautifully appointed settings and then ending your day at a sidewalk cafe with a delicious dessert (pictured below) and a gorgeous view?
Anniversaire Café



Check out a video of our trip to Anniversaire Cafe in 2010:


To get to Anniversaire Cafe, take the Tokyo Metro (Ginza or Chiyoda line) to Omotesando station and go south on Omotesando road (on the right hand side of the street) just past the Fendi store (the Gucci store is on the opposite side of the street), you'll see the cafe (as pictured above), make a right under the stone arch to get to the entrance.  :-)

Getting There - Omotesando

From Nakano 中野 - Take the Chuo 中央 line or Chuo-Sobu 中央 総武 line to Shinjuku 新宿 and transfer to the Yamanote 山手 line to Harajuku 原宿 and follow signs to the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda 千代田 Line and take that to Omotesando 表参道.

Price: ¥320

Time: 19 minutes


From Shinjuku 新宿 - Take the Yamanote 山手 line to Harajuku 原宿 and follow signs to the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda 千代田 Line and take that to Omotesando 表参道.

Price: ¥290

Time: 12 minutes


Alternatively, if you happen to be in Shibuya 渋谷, you can take the Tokyo Metro Ginza 銀座 line directly to Omotesando 表参道.

For more upscale shopping and restaurants, please click the link below:

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