1-Day Omotesando, Aoyama, and Harajuku Travel Plan: The Top Ways to Pamper Yourself and Your Friends!
Omotesando and Aoyama are full of stylish buildings and elegant streetscapes, while Harajuku is alive with its ever-changing kawaii (cute) culture and enchanting atmosphere where the tastes of many generations intermingle. While collectively they are known for constantly leading Asia's style trends, they are also a mecca for arts and dining, perfect for anyone hoping to enjoy Japanese culture and food in one place. They are also home for many beauty salons, great if you want to search for a brand new you. So, here are some spots in these areas where you can enjoy contemporary culture, arts, and dining, as well as take in their elegance and multi-faceted charms. Spend a day here to discover a more wonderful you!
Oct 29 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Marimekko: From Finland! Full of Brightly Colored Pieces
First, let's check out Marimekko, a design house first founded in Finland in 1951. At the time, the founders of this brand aimed to add some bright color to the world to help to clear away the heavy atmosphere that lingered during the dark times following World War II. Over time, the unique style that Marimekko developed stood out in the fashion world, and in the 1960s, the simple yet bold prints and beautiful use of color had a strong influence on women’s fashion, bags, accessories, home decor, and more. With over 60 years of history, the bright pop-inspired fabrics and patterns of Marimekko continue to bloom all over the world.
The Marimekko branch in Omotesando carries the important role of being one of only six global Marimekko flagship stores. The clean-looking two-story store (basement first floor through to the street-level second floor) has their brand name in large print plastered on the white building exterior, so you know at a glance that it's a Marimekko store. Floral patterns with a hand-drawn touch adorn the store's interior. A wide lineup of items that are tasteful yet full of originality are available here. Their tableware, towels, and textiles, and other goods have found particular popularity among Japanese people, while international customers often come to buy items like tote bags, pouches, and garments.
This year, to celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan, Marimekko has made Japan their fall and winter theme, with many red designs inspired by the country. The clothing in this line, inspired by Japan's rock gardens, are the embodiment of the beauty resulting from the fusion between Japanese and European styles. There are many Japan-exclusive items available to buy here, including the pictured pot holder, so why not grab to remind you of your trip to Japan? With fans of all genders, Marimekko’s richly-colored products are ideal as souvenirs, and would also make a perfect treat for yourself.
You’ll need reservations while in Japan. See our writers’ top picks!
ELLE café: A Beautiful Experience Where You Get to Dine on Works of Art
If you head towards Aoyama from Omotesando, you’ll notice the feel of the streets gradually changing from bustling crowds into an elegant, calm atmosphere. On the first floor of La Porte Aoyama, a shopping center along Aoyama Street, you'll discover an impressive white-on-black signboard reading "ELLE café". This cafe has become a hot topic in the Japanese media thanks to the fact that the acclaimed ELLE Magazine was involved in its founding.
With the motto of "Open your appetite", ELLE is a women's magazine that has captured the hearts of its readers with its coverage of fashion, beauty, leisure, and health since it launched in France in 1945. ELLE café continues this concept by offering meals that allow the busy, active people of today to shine more beautifully with healthy hearts and bodies. The lush interior design peppered with decorative plants creates a nature-filled, spacious, and airy space to relax. With a passion for local ingredients, ELLE café offers dishes made only from ingredients that meet their strict internal standards. In other words, ELLE café is created with the same heartfelt attention to detail that their magazine is known for.
Each dish is as lovely as a carefully-crafted issue of ELLE Magazine, and the vibrant dishes served here are as vibrant as a piece of art or fashion. With plant-based dishes and gluten-free, low sugar, and low-calorie options, ELLE café endeavors to meet the needs of the modern diner while committing to an uncompromising approach to flavor. Their lunch menu, which includes free extra helpings of black tea and bread, is so popular that it regularly attracts lines out the door. If you don’t have the time for lunch out, come by for a leisurely dinner; a romantic party in the candle-lit ELLE café is sure to delight.
Salad boxes, medicinal nutrition-based curries, muffin cakes, and cold-pressed juices are also available for take-out. Satisfy your spirit and appetite in ELLE café’s blissfully relaxing space.
ALFRED TEA ROOM: Turn Your Mouth Pink With a Sip!
Bubble tea is enjoying huge popularity among young people in Japan. ALFRED TEA ROOM, which originated in Los Angeles, stands out among the many bubble tea shops of Tokyo as an extremely popular cafe that’s attracting a great deal of attention. Its pink-toned interior, drinks, and desserts are all based around a cute pink concept which captures the heart and continues to make passionate fans out of its customers.
The tea masters here select tea from all over the world so that their customers can enjoy tea drinks to their heart’s content. In addition to popular toppings like tapioca pearls and nata de coco, we highly recommend trying ALFRED TEA ROOM's signature Alfred Pink Drink: Pink Tapioca Milk (750 yen). This wonderfully pink tea, which harnesses the sweet flavor of beet extract while also incorporating a fun, chewy texture, creates a magical world that feels just like there is a pink party in your mouth. It's not only delicious; it's sure to lift your mood, too.
Another highlight is their egg and dairy free cupcakes which can be enjoyed by vegan or vegetarian customers. You can take your time to savor the elegant space or take your order to go. One visit to ALFRED TEA ROOM, which bursts with originality from its menu to its interior design, will be sure to turn you into a fan.
MARIS HAIR & TREATMENT Omotesando: Transform Into Your Ideal Self at a Luxury Salon
After you've picked up a gorgeous drink to take away, your next stop is a hair salon! Many international visitors to Japan have been influenced by Japanese magazines and media to dream of transforming into the person they always wanted to be at one of Japan's beauty salons. Of course, one thing that worries many foreign visitors about visiting a salon is the language barrier. If you've been hesitating to visit a Japanese salon because you don't speak Japanese, why not stop by MARIS HAIR & TREATMENT Omotesando? While this salon is by reservation only, they offer an online booking service, and international visitors are very welcome. After making an appointment, bring along a photo of your desired hairstyle and your transformation into your ideal look will no longer be a fantasy!
Many Japanese hair salons charge extra for medium to long hair, but there's no need to worry about this here. The hair stylists here use the optimal techniques for each customer's individual hair type and do all they can to minimize damage for a shiny and silky finish. These professional techniques can revamp your hairstyle and texture. They also provide other beauty services such as manicures and eyebrow shaping so that you can complete your gorgeous look in one go. Receiving high-quality treatment from the hair down to the nails while surrounded in the comforting scent of the salon, then emerging two to three hours later as a new you... what a dream-like experience!
Casita: For an Elegant Moment with High-Quality Cuisine and Drinks
Why not enjoy some fine dining and a delicious drink to cap off your trip? Casita’s motto is “to always be the restaurant where diners can feel the warmth of people.” With this in mind, Casita provides a venue for all kinds of situations, whether it be dinner with a special someone, parties celebrated together with their course menus, or sophisticated day to day dining, achieved with their extensive a la carte lineup. They do all that they can to create an environment that guests from all over the world can enjoy, such as always having English menus and English-speaking staff on hand. In order to ensure that each customer has a wonderful time at Casita, the restaurant develops Western-style dishes while ensuring they never lose sight of Japanese-style hospitality and attentive service.
Enjoy your time here by savoring a meal on the third-floor restaurant and then having a drink at the sixth-floor bar. You can escape the chaos of the city and look out over the elegant twilight-lit Aoyama townscape as you cap off the memories of your trip with your friends over cocktails and wine. Casita promises a refined and luxurious moment. Open until midnight, you can forget about the time and allow yourself to become intoxicated by the superb dishes and delicious drinks served here.
A Brief Overview of the Facilities Mentioned in this Guide
The commercial facilities mentioned in this article are 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)
If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.