Shopping Tokyo

Omotesando Dori

Omotesando Dori (表参道通り) is sometimes referred to as the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo—trees line both side of the road and commerce is catering to a whole different demographic compared with nearby Harajuku and Takeshita Dori.

Originally designed as an approach to Meiji Shrine, it was not until the American occupation that the area began to take on a Western feel. A military facility called Washington Heights was set up in nearby Yoyogi Park and in the subsequent years the shops either side of Omotesando Dori began to sell merchandise catering for these foreign occupiers. The souvenir store on the boulevard, Oriental Bazaar, for instance, was originally an antique store but moved to Omotesando Dori in 1951 to target the residents of Washington Heights—it is modelled after a shrine and stocks “Japanesey” items.

Today this Western feel is an inherent part of the area and many European-style cafes and restaurants can be found in the side streets.

Looking down Omotesando Dori from one of the pedestrian bridges.

Looking down Omotesando Dori from one of the pedestrian bridges.