This week, we take a virtual trip down to the fashionable boulevard and beautiful tree-lined avenue, Omotesando in Tokyo, Japan with the help of guest blogger from Australia, Chris M. A photographer and designer who documents the lives of locals on his travels, Chris has been situated in Japan for eight months now, partly thanks to his love for the locals’ kind nature and beauty of Japanese culture.
Chris waxes lyrical on the uniqueness of Omotesando and why he enjoys spending time to photograph the people and shops here in this specific area: “I think Omotesando is a rather unique area. It is the hub for high-end fashion, boutique brands, local and international designers; an appreciation of style and aesthetic can be discovered around every corner. It has a quiet relaxed atmosphere that can transform on certain days when shoppers flood in from all over Tokyo to get the latest products. Funky bars and hidden cafes populate this location while creating lovely escape resting areas too.”
If you’re heading to Tokyo soon and plan to trawl the fascinating spot, be sure to check out Chris’ picks on cafes, restaurants and shops here:
Turn down a few small streets from the main Omotesando shopping streets and you will discover a café that stylishly fits in with all the boutique stores. A blend of French elegance and Japanese design sensibility, Café Kitsune exudes ambience and style. Kitsune’s staff pull the perfect espressos and an original hand drip is available as well as Japanese pastries and desserts. The best-selling drink here is the cafe latte, but I prefer their rich creamy macchiato.
3 Chome-17-1 Minamiaoyama, 港区 Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan
This cute little Manju (steamed buns filled with bean jam) shop is a stone’s throw from Café Kitsune. Freshly steamed Manju and fresh seasonal Japanese confectionaries are sold to locals and throngs of visitors who shop in Aoyama each day. A must-try is the ‘kurozato man’ – fluffy brown buns filled with azuki bean jam that are tasty morsels that you can have for breakfast or tea.
POLA Ginza Bldg. 2F 1-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 Japan
As I venture deep into the heart of Aoyama, I passed by a store called Plain People and a gorgeous matcha set catches my eye. This lifestyle concept-themed store carries an array of languid, flowy apparel that’s in line with the Japanese aesthetic, artistic goods, beautiful accessories and fermented food seasonings.
5-3-5 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-0062 Japan
Inside the state-of-the-art designed Omotesando Hills shopping complex is Mark’Style Tokyo, a Japanese stationery company that specializes in advanced designs and products to make life easier and more pleasurable. The shop offers a range of stationery, tech gadgets, watches and leather goods in rather unique, unpredictable designs that you probably can’t find elsewhere.
A handy phone holder that also has slots for you to bring a notebook, pen, and earphones – a convenient accessory to bring along if you’re running errands for the day.
B3F, 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan
If you’re a sneakerhead, definitely drop by an Onitsuka Tiger store if you happen to be visiting Japan. This multi-level Omotesando outlet has an extensive range of designs, and don’t forget to visit the second floor for more exclusive and up-market designs that you can only find in Japan. Why not ShopandBox a pair of iconic Mexico 66 slip-on sneakers spotted in the photo above?
4-24-14, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
As the sun sets, Aoyama is cloaked in a beautiful ambiance of diffused light with a lineup of stores lighting up the streets in gradual succession. As I walked on, I spot Hakuhodo Brushes, a famous store with an acclaimed reputation for having the finest makeup, artistic and calligraphy brushes available to purchase.
In the store, you’ll find the finest brushes handcrafted by dedicated, highly-skilled local artisans who aim to create the finest ‘fude’ – denoting the entire surface of the brushes bristles that are arranged three-dimensionally to provide the user with an ability to achieve a flawless finish. At the Aoyama store, you can feast your eyes on brushes of different lengths and sizes for different purposes. For makeup lovers, you’d love their bestselling powder and blush brushes that you can check out more here, and if you’re interested in ShopandBoxing a variety of brushes instead of merely makeup ones, read about their complete range here according to hair type and specific purpose.
3rd fl. Terra Asios Omotesando 5-10-6, Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062
This standout brewery that is pioneering Japan’s craft beer revolution, Yona Yona, has a number of themed bar locations in Tokyo. Just off the main street in Aoyama and hidden beneath a flight of stairs is one of Yona Yona’s themed beer taphouse. It’s got over 20 of its own range of craft ales and pilsners, and offers an appetizer or meal to accompany each unique brew – definitely an excellent hideaway to have a refreshing pint after a long day of shopping. If you drop by, try out the Yona Yona Ale (American Pale Ale) along with small bites such as seared horsemeat with ginger sauce.
Yona Yona Beer Works
〒107-0062, 東京都港区南青山3-18-20, 松本ビル B1F