The Ultimate Date Guide to Omotesando and Aoyama, Two of the Most Romantic Places in Tokyo
The Omotesando-Aoyama area is famous for its many flagship stores for branded goods and upscale restaurants and cafes found along its iconic zelkova tree-lined boulevard. But Omotesando-Aoyama isn’t just about shopping and food. It’s also a premier Tokyo date spot where many couples come to walk around and have a pleasant time. This article presents a list of shops in the area that would be perfect for a romantic outing with that special someone, from a New York design store to a popular jewelry shop and the hottest restaurants in the city. This is your ultimate guide to planning the perfect date at Omotesando and Aoyama.
Oct 23 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Enjoy Coffee and an Impressive Food Menu at the Chic “Ralph’s Coffee Omotesando”
Introducing Ralph’s Coffee Omotesando, a cafe operated by the international fashion brand Ralph Lauren. The chain has stores all over the world, from New York to London and Paris, and in November 2018, they finally opened their first luxurious shop in Japan, on the Omotesando Boulevard.
The store interior has a very classic look with an underlying green motif based on the similarly colored Ralph Lauren logo. Speaking of Ralph Lauren, the concept behind this cafe is to project a lifestyle to its customers, making it the perfect date spot where couples can relax in a calm and soothing atmosphere. The terrace can be especially lovely on a clear, sunny day.
Upper left: Bacon, eggs, and cheese (1,100 yen plus tax)
Upper right: Avocado toast (850 yen plus tax)
Lower left: Pancakes (1,200 yen plus tax), available from November
Lower right: Caffe Latte (580 yen plus tax), Ralph’s Chocolate Cake (950 yen plus tax)
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Omotesando, but the truth is that not many of them are open early in the morning. Not only does Ralph’s Coffee open at 9:00 am, it also serves up an impressive breakfast menu until 12:00 pm, including such items as “Bacon, Eggs, and Cheese,” “Eggs Benedict” (1,500 yen plus tax), or “Avocado Toast.” There’s nothing better than starting a date early in the morning with a nice breakfast. Also, the cafe is planning to add pancakes with colorful berries to its menu starting in November, so that’s another something to look forward to.
At the Omotesando cafe, you can enjoy the finest, organic coffee blends created especially for Ralph Lauren by the popular New York coffee shop “La Colombe.” You can also surprise your date by ordering a Caffe Latte that’s adorned with beautiful latte art.
By the way, the Ralph Lauren store opens at 11:00 am, so once you’ve enjoyed your coffee, why not pop in for a little shopping at their flagship store, which carries a wide selection of goods beyond just men’s and women’s clothing?
We have a wonderful surprise for everyone reading this article. On your next visit to Ralph’s Coffee, tell the staff that you’ve “read the tsunagu Japan article,” and you’ll receive a free Ralph’s Coffee special-edition pin badge with your order, which is not available for sale anywhere else in the world. The staff speak English, so you don’t have to worry about any language barriers! The number of badges available is limited, so if you hope to get your hands on one, you should visit the cafe as soon as possible. (Only available at Ralph’s Coffee Omotesando. Other locations are not participating in this promotion.)
MoMA Design Store: Full of Items from All over the World with Masterful Design and Functionality
The MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) Design Store is found on the third floor of GYRE, a shopping mall located a 6-minute walk from Omotesando Station. Inside, you will find various international products excelling in the areas of design and functionality, which have been selected by the curator of The Museum of Modern Art. It is the first foreign MoMA design store ever, built with the idea of “allowing anyone to easily enjoy art.” It carries everything from kitchen items to stationery, fashion goods, smartphone and PC accessories, and anything else that captivates the human spirit. The staff speak English, so even foreign guests with no knowledge of Japanese can enjoy themselves at the MoMA Design Store.
At the Japanese crafts corner, you can find modern Japanese pottery and glasswork featuring the kind of fine, artistic craftsmanship that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. But the store also stocks many cutting-edge, high-tech items, like highly functional designer light fixtures, therapeutic robo-cushions, or 360-degree speakers. The store frequently collaborates with famous brands and their impressive selection changes every month, guaranteeing that you’ll find something new at the MoMA Design Store every time you visit. Why not bring your date there and shop for each other’s presents?
Room 403: The Place to Go for Fine, Beautiful Jewelry Available Only in Japan
Nothing makes a date more romantic than beautiful, sparkly jewelry. For that, you need to head on to the Aoyama area, adjacent to Omotesando, and to the Room 403 jewelry store located at the popular La Porte Aoyama shopping complex. There, you’ll find a “workshop producing fine luxury,” which includes an assortment of elegant and exquisite jewelry pieces. These are the work of the store’s skilled craftsmen who work on just one item at a time, usually using diamonds or gold (10 or 18 carats).
For couples, we recommend the Orne Pinkie Ring (Pair Rings) (20,000 yen plus tax), which, like all Room 403 couple rings, are known for their sleek and simple design. The store also carries couple bangles, couple necklaces, and other couple jewelry sets, so feel free to pick from their selection. Because a lot of work has gone into their discreet and fine design, the Room 403 accessories are perfect for any and all occasions. You can also have some fun by coordinating various pieces, creating bolder, more personal arrangements.
Additionally, all of the products at the store can only be purchased in Japan, making Room 403 a must-visit for foreign guests to the country. The store doesn’t have permanent English-speaking staff, but an interpreting service can be arranged via phone (available languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai), so you can enjoy your shopping without worrying about the language barrier.
GENTLE Italian & Sushi Bar: Offers the Utmost Hospitality, Also Caters to Vegetarians and Vegans
To conclude a perfect date, you’ll need to choose a perfect restaurant to have dinner at, like the GENTLE Italian & Sushi Bar, located just a 5-minute walk from Omotesando Station. They offer private rooms for any and all occasions as well as an inclusive menu that also features vegetarian and vegan dishes.
You can choose a semi-private or private room for a more relaxed, intimate meal. The restaurant has permanent staff who can speak English and will also take reservations in English over the phone. Alternatively, you can reserve a table through their website (a total of 18 languages are available, including English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean), making the restaurant very accessible to foreign guests. If you’re interested in a private room, it’s recommended that you reserve it beforehand.
There are 92 seats available at the Italian Floor (excluding the terrace). The restaurant boasts a spacious floor plan and an elegant color scheme, including the furniture and decorations, which create a relaxing atmosphere for the guests.
70% of the ingredients in the restaurant’s Italian dishes are organic, and with their vegetarian and vegan menu options, anyone can enjoy themselves at GENTLE. This has reportedly been a priority for the restaurant’s chef on account of them being vegan themselves. It’s also why half of the pasta menu is completely gluten-free. As for the appetizers and desserts, they are wheeled on a cart in front of guests so that they can see exactly what they’re ordering.
Additionally, GENTLE has a fine selection of organic (bio) wines, cocktails, Japanese alcohol, and more. There is a bar that can sit seven on the Italian Floor where you can enjoy the restaurant’s drink menu.
The sub-level sushi bar has two counters that sit 10 and six people who can enjoy their food while watching a master sushi chef ply their craft. The only thing on the menu is the 20-Piece Course (11,000 yen plus tax), consisting of seasonal fish selected by the chef themselves. Many people at high-class sushi restaurants often let the chef choose the right kind of fish for them anyway, while others might not even know the names of the fish or the proper way to order, so leaving it all to the chef makes the process easier for everyone.
If there is a kind of fish or anything else that you cannot have, please tell it to the chef beforehand and they won’t include it in your order. The course actually also includes things besides fish, like bowl dishes, creating a complex, mouthwatering Japanese feast that you won’t get bored of until the last bite. If you’re also interested in Japanese tableware, please pay attention to the dishes that the food is served in.
Whether it’s the atmosphere, the food, or the little touches, GENTLE Italian & Sushi Bar excels in every possible category. Visit it today for a night that you won’t soon forget.
D-29: Come Here to Thoroughly Savor the Umami of Wagyu Beef
D-29, located just a 3-minute walk from Omotesando Station, is perfect for all those thinking: “Italian and sushi are great, but I want to enjoy some Wagyu beef!” The restaurant offers the very best of Wagyu beef, specializing in Omi/Sawai-Hime beef from Ryuo in Shiga Prefecture and Hata Keishiro’s Matsusaka beef. D-29 is a meat lover’s paradise, offering many different rare cuts of meat that even celebrity chefs have praised. Their meat is also visually beautiful, so if you post it to social media, you’re bound to get plenty of likes.
We highly recommend you try the Chef's Course for Meat Maniacs (10,000 yen plus tax) consisting of rare cuts from a Kuroge Wagyu heifer, starting from steak, which will let you experience the best that Wagyu has to offer. You can, of course, choose how you want your meat to be done, but different cuts will require different levels of doneness, so you’d be safer leaving those decisions to the staff. The course includes a marbled steak, lean steak, liver steak, red offal, white offal, barbequed meat (yakiniku in Japanese), salad, soup, kimchi, rice, and so on. More than enough to fill your stomach!
Additionally, the restaurant does have English-speaking staff, but not on a permanent basis, so it’s best to make reservations by phone or Tabelog, one of Japan's most popular restaurant listing and review sites. However, English menus are always available. We recommend dropping by during lunch time, when you'll be able to eat yakiniku sets and other items at especially affordable prices. You can even have their dinner courses for lunch if you reserve ahead of time!
There are so many places to shop or enjoy a leisurely stroll at Omotesando and Aoyama. We hope that this guide will help you plan the perfect date here!
A Brief Overview of the Facilities Mentioned in this Guide
All the stores in this article are located in commercial facilities managed by Japan Retail Fund Investment Corporation (JRF).
JRF has been listed on the Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (securities code: 8953) since March 2002. It was the first investment firm in Japan to specifically target and invest in retail property assets.
As the largest J-REIT that specializes in retail properties, JRF strives to secure stable distributions for its unitholders and steady increases in the value of its property portfolio through selective acquisitions of prime retail properties.
For more information: https://www.jrf-reit.com/english/index.html
* This article was made for the purpose of promoting Japan Retail Fund Investment Corporation (JRF). It is not an invitation for investing in JRF’s securities or other financial instruments. Please make investment decisions at your own discretion and risk.
Asset Management Company: Mitsubishi Corp. -UBS Realty Inc.
(Financial Instruments Business Operators: Kanto Local Finance Bureau (FIBO) No. 403, Full Member of The Investment Trusts Association, Japan)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.