Omotesando’s high-end shopping and tucked-away designer stores separate it from the bold, candy-coated streets of Harajuku’s Takeshita Dori. Filled with high-end fashion boutiques, groundbreaking design houses, and perhaps the fanciest cafe culture in all of Japan, spending time (and money) is easy when visiting this trendy pocket of the city.
A shopping complex with style
The cosmopolitan street is often compared to Paris’ Champs-Élysées, and its crowning jewel is the Omotesando Hills shopping complex. Designed by famous Japanese architect Tadao Ando, best known for Church of the Light, the massive open halls are sometimes called the “Omotesando-within-Omotesando.” With over 75 stores that sell the latest high-end clothing, beauty products, and accessories, as well as exhibition spaces and a floor of cafes and restaurants, there’s something for everyone under this carefully designed roof.
Get styled at cat street
Running from north to south through the middle of Omotesando and Harajuku, Cat street is often considered the retail and design heart of the area. It is the runway through which the area’s fashion-forward youth show off their looks while searching for the next. Though it houses some of the biggest names in contemporary fashion, one shop you can’t miss is RAGTAG. A local institution, this store is home to some of the best new and vintage Japanese-brand designer wear you’ll be able to find anywhere in the world. If you’re chasing a special Issei Miyake piece or want to get a hold of some Comme De Garçon on the cheap, a trip to RAGTAG is recommended.
Elegant outdoor cafe culture
Omotesando’s streets are filled with al fresco dining, a perfect spot to people-watch and fashionista-spot when the sun is out. For great coffee, don’t miss out on Oakland-implant Blue Bottle Coffee, and for French cuisine with a Japanese twist, check out Aoyama Flea Market Tea House. Omotesando is also home to the Tokyo location of Paris-favorite, Coutume, and Norwegian original, Fuglen. As the day rolls into the evening, make your way to the outdoor food court and occasional live music space, Commune 246, where the rotating cast of food trucks and mini-bars offer everything under the sun (quite literally).
Farmer’s market inside the world of fashion
Though Tokyo is one of the most densely urban areas in the world, the city still manages to squeeze in green spaces and outdoor events. Walking from Omotesando crossing towards Shibuya, you’ll find a farmer’s market nestled on the grounds of The United Nations University.
Featuring some of the finest produce from the wider Kanto region, the market is open most weekends from the early morning. The site also seasonally hosts the famous Coffee Festival, which sees coffee connoisseurs line up to taste the best brews the world has to offer.
Hours may vary depending on the store’s business hours:
- Shop – 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (Monday to Saturday)/ 11:00 am to 8:00 pm (Sunday)
- Restaurant – 11:00 am to 11:30 pm (Monday to Saturday)/ 11:00 am to 10:30 pm (Sunday)
- Cafe – 11:00 am to 10:00 pm (Monday to Saturday)/ 11:00 am to 8:00 pm (Sunday)
Starting October 26 , 2018 (Friday), opening hours will be changed due to the opening of the whole building event:
- Shop & service – 11: 00 am to 3:00 pm
- Restaurant – 11:00 am to 3:00 pm (with last order at 2:00 pm)
- Cafe – 11:00 am – 3:00 pm (last order until 2:30 pm)
- Parking lot – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (final receipt 2:00 pm)
*Some stores may still be open after 3:00 pm.
*Last order time varies depending on the store.
How to get there
The main avenue of Omotesando is located outside Omotesando Station on the Chiyoda metro line. If you’re traveling via the JR Yamanote line, get off at Harajuku Station and take the scenic walk down the tree-lined boulevard just to the right of Harajuku’s main drag, Takeshita Dori, and you’ll find Omotesando.