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        If the world of sleek design, cutting-edge architecture and hip fashion is your natural habitat, then Omotesando and adjacent Aoyama will become your new hubs of choice.

Whether it’s for a walk to see the city’s most stunning architectural gems, a seemingly unlimited amount of design boutiques, a tranquil rooftop garden or some famous fluffy pancakes - welcome to Japan’s first destination for all things fashionable.

         Centered around the main, tree-lined avenue with the same name, Omotesando boasts seemingly all of the world’s luxury fashion brands which appear to have taken it upon themselves to see who can create the most intimidatingly beautiful flagship store built by the who-is-who of architecture. Most notable perhaps are Dior’s sleek, white fashion tower created by Sanaa, Toyo Ito’s Tod’s Omotesando store, Tadao Ando-designed Omotesando Hills and MVRDV’s bold Gyre, which houses both Chanel and the MoMa Design Store as well as a selection of other exquisite boutiques and restaurants. Head into the many side streets that run North and South of Omotesando Avenue and you will discover even more hidden architectural gems such as Sou Fujimoto’s outstanding Omotesando Branches, Ciel Rouge’s world-famous Harajuku Protestant Church or Tadao Ando’s Bank Gallery which regularly hosts pop-up exhibitions. 

        Start your day at the main intersection that inofficially divides the neighborhoods of Harajuku and Omotesando, and marvel at the psychedelic mirror entrance of Tokyu Plaza. The entrance was catapulted to global fame when featured in and Justin Bieber’s #thatPOWER music video and is now one of the city’s most visited photo-spots.

Make your way up the escalator (or, do it like a local and take the elevator on the West side of the building) and go directly to Tokyu Plaza’s 6th floor Omohara Forest, one of the city’s most beautiful rooftop gardens and the embodiment of what an urban oasis should be like. With a gorgeous view over the surrounding areas, lush trees and plants, spacious seating and a beer truck during the summer months, Omohara Forest provides a welcome break during a busy day out and about where you can bring your own food and drinks, relax and enjoy a quiet moment away from the urban buzz.

        Next, head up the long, tree-lined avenue of Omotesando and take in the marvelous architecture on both sides of the road. Omotesando Hills is a sleek, upscale shopping mall designed by world renown architect Tadao Ando and leads several stories up and down into the ground while usually not being too crowded. 

Another must-visit spot on the main avenue of Omotesando is Espace Louis Vuitton, a free art space hosted by Fondation Louis Vuitton which has sublime views over the neighborhood and exhibitions featuring up-and-coming as well as more established artists.

When strolling around Omotesando be sure to check out all of the side streets leading North and South of the main avenue, as this is where you will find the neighborhoods true hidden gems such as vintage stores Nadia and G2?B-Side Label whose cute, Japanese-themed stickers make for great presents, and 6% Doki Doki, brainchild of Sebastian Masuda and mecca for kawaii Harajuku fashion. 

If you want to discover some of the latest in art and design from some of Tokyo’s up and coming creatives, head over to Design Festa Gallery with its signature black bird’s nest façade, and check out the many small exhibitions as well as a café and okonomiyaki restaurant on the inside. 

        Leading towards Shibuya from the South of Omotesando Avenue, Cat Street boasts a range of small and medium-sized boutiques showcasing the city’s latest fashion trends.

Somewhere halfway on Cat Street, hidden on the second floor of a sleek little building lies Micasadeco & Cafe, whose ricotta fluffy pancakes will forever change your idea of what pancakes should actually taste like. To avoid queuing, visit during the late afternoon of a weekday and opt for the classic fluffy panckes served with a heavenly whipped cream and melt into the inescapably delicious world of Tokyo’s world-famous, jiggly pancakes.

For some Japanese fine dining, grab a luxurious but reasonably priced kaiseki (course meal) lunch at Sashya Kanetanka, one of the area’s most beautifully designed restaurants serving traditional Japanese cuisine.

        Around the corner at Chun Shui Tang, grab some delicious Soy Milk Jasmine Tea with Tapioca Pearls (aka Bubble Tea), which is one of the city’s only vegan versions of the much hyped Taiwanese drink. 

On the 4th floor of GYRE, a beautifully designed food floor with a café, restaurant, shop and terrace overlooking Omotesando makes for a perfect stopover on a busy shopping day through Omotesando. The spacious uni café with its slope of wooden cubes and wonderfully curated urban jungle are as much of a feast for the eyes as for the stomach. Before you head out, be sure to check out GYRE’s basement floor where HAY and Cibone sell some of Tokyo’s best sellection of interior design goods. 

        Skip the much overrated Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse (and its one-hour long queues) and instead head to Nicolai Bergmann’s breathtaking flower shop and café Nomu, which take flower design and sipping coffee amongst blossoms to an entirely new level. 

While in the area be sure to stop by Kengo Kuma-designed Nezu Museum which features beautiful arts and crafts from ancient Japan and boasts one of the city’s most wonderful, traditional Japanese gardens which can be visited for free with a museum ticket.

Fans of star architect Kengo Kuma’s work will want to make their way further down a quiet side street and marvel at the breathtaking SunnyHills at Minami-Aoyama, where visitors can sample a free pineapple cake plus tea, courtesy of Taiwanese sweets-maker SunnyHills.

        For more dining and shopping options check out Spiral Market, which sells beautiful design goods from Japanese and foreign brands. Dive into the exquisite world of Japanese Tea at Sakurai Tea Experience on the fifth floor of the same building, where you can sample sophisticated traditional and contemporary tea creations in a modern bar-style tea house. 

Lovers of Japanese sweets should stop by HIGASHIYA man, a small outpost of HIGASHIYA Ginza that sells exquisite, handmade confectionaries out of a lovely hole-in-the-wall shop that specializes in “manjū,” sweet buns filled with red bean paste, nuts or seasonal fruit.

To finish off your day in style, head over to TWO ROOMS, a popular bar and restaurant at the border between Omotesando and Aoyama. Especially during summer nights, TWO ROOM’s terrace is one of Tokyo’s must-go-to spots for a relaxed dinner or a late-night drink overlooking Tokyo, while the inside bar boasts a solid menu of signature and classic cocktails, perfect for a low-key glam night-out.

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