Omotesando: Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées

See also Harajuku and Aoyama—the two areas that Omotesando Dori connects.

Sometimes referred to as the Champs-Élysées of Tokyo, this zelkova-lined boulevard was originally designed as an approach to Meiji Shrine. In 1946, during the occupation, the U.S. established a military barracks in Yoyogi Park called “Washington Heights”, and in the subsequent years merchants set up shop on Omotesando Dori selling items aimed at the foreign occupiers.

Today the area has an inherent Western ambience, and many European-style cafes and restaurants can be found in the side streets that splinter off either side of Omotesando Dori. Harajuku and Aoyama lie at either end of Omotesando Dori, and between them they manage to cater for just about any taste in fashion.

Looking down Omotesando Dori from one of the pedestrian bridges.

Sightseeing

Oriental Bazaar

The souvenir store on the boulevard was originally an antique store but moved to Omotesando Dori in 1951 to target the U.S. army personnel in the area (it is modeled after a shrine and stocks “Japanesey” items).

Omotesando Hills

Upmarket shopping mall with a walkway that spirals up six floors of fashion stores and restaurants.

  • Directions. Come out of Exit A2 of Omotesando Station and walk down the hill with the Apple Store on the right. Omotesando Hills is on the right after about 100m. Google Maps
  • Hours. 11:00-21:00 (until 20:00 on Sundays). Cafes and restaurants open until late
  • Website. http://www.omotesandohills.com/

Kiddly Land

A long time resident of Omotesando Dori. Stocks toys of all the Japanese characters such as Hello Kitty. Free WiFi available inside.

  • Directions. Come out of Exit A4 of Meiji-jingu Station and turn back so you are walking with the shops on your right-hand side. Cross the road and Kitty Land will be on your right. Google Maps
  • Hours. 11:00-21:00 Monday-Friday (opens at 10:30 on weekends and national holidays)

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