Tokyo fashion and tourism in Harajuku and Omotesando: Meiji Jingu to fashion
Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
In 2012 the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara) opened for business and this vibrant new shopping complex which caters for fashion highlights the dynamics of Harajuku and Omotesando. This applies to new fashion styles, major changes related to architecture, fresh thinking, and other powerful dynamics. Therefore, Omohara, just like Omotesando Hills, is continuing with this fresh approach but the beauty of the entire area is that Harajuku and Omotesando remain to be distinctive.
Fashion tourism is increasingly growing in Tokyo and this applies to both individuals who reside in other parts of Japan and to international tourists. Powerful fashion areas like Aoyama, Harajuku, Ginza, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, are internationally famous to individuals who adore fashion. The reasons behind this are various and extremely dramatic because this applies to refined boutiques to kawaii culture and a host of other fashion trends.
However, for first time visitors to Harajuku then clearly you have many dimensions to this stunning part of Tokyo which flows naturally into Omotesando. One major attraction is the Meiji Jingu shrine which is a stunning Shinto religious place of worship. The grounds are enormous and the natural flow of nature and Shinto is enshrined by the beautiful design and landscape which works magically together.
Therefore, the Meiji Jingu is a must place to visit in Tokyo because individuals can contemplate in the spacious surroundings and enjoy the adorable garden. Also, the freedom of the Shinto faith is a rich blessing because you don’t have any restrictions on dress sensibilities, no overt missionary work, and of course Shinto and nature are embedded together. Given this, the stunning architecture of the main religious area blends naturally with the environment. The various walks within the grounds are also very therapeutic and it is easy to forget that you are in central Tokyo. If you are lucky, then you may witness a wedding, special event or see Shinto holy people walking around in unique dress styles related to their faith.
Another amazing aspect of the Meiji Jingu is that just outside the main gate you will often see young adults dressed in amazing outfits. This applies to Lolita fashion, cosplay and other unique trends which can be found in this part of Tokyo. Therefore, within seconds people pass from the world of new fashion vibes and daring styles to the uniqueness of the Shinto faith. However, because of the laidback nature of Shintoism everything seems natural.
Within minutes of leaving the main Harajuku Yamanote train station you either enter the world of religion or the world of fashion. Of course, for tourists, they will enter both worlds and enjoy a nice walk in Yoyogi Park. Turning to the fashion angle, then the Takeshita-dori is extremely busy because so many youngsters who adore fashion and the subcultures of Harajuku visit this place. Indeed, for young Tokyoites it is “a rite of passage” and the same applies to young people visiting Harajuku from surrounding prefectures which include Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama.
The beauty of Harajuku and Omotesando is that the Takeshita-dori is a million miles away from the fashion vibes of the main street which connects these two amazing fashion districts. Therefore, the youthful nature of the Takeshita-dori, kawaii culture, Lolita fashion, mainstream fashion, casual fashion, exquisite styles, and so much more, can be found within the same environment. Given this, within minutes you enter different fashion zones and styles and the same applies to the architecture. Also, the backstreets of Harajuku going towards Shibuya and similar backstreets in Omotesando are laden with casual fashion companies and independent and daring boutiques.
Omotesando Hills on the main street which connects Harajuku and Omotesando is blessed with fantastic boutiques. The architecture of this shopping mall is also very stylish and inside you have a mystical feel about the place because of the layout and lighting. Exquisite boutiques follow naturally inside and this applies to Adore, Anterpima, Apartment Department, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, iliann leob, Kiwa Sylphy, Martinique Le Conte, Milly, Tiara, Oriental News, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro) Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Tracy Reese, Yves Saint Laurent, and Zara.
If you visit (http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/ ) the website of Omotesando Hills then you will note that you have many companies inside which cater for lifestyle and beauty. A partial list of companies related to this angle includes Createur Reveal (nail salon), hair make Pas de deux (hair salon), le bois (spa and beauty treatment), M.A.C. (cosmetics), and shu uemura beauty boutique (cosmetics).
Another recent angle to Harajuku and Omotesando is the new Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku complex which highlights fashion and other angles related to the area. The nickname of this place is Omohara and not only is this mall blessed with sophisticated boutiques but also you have a nice garden and places to sit outside. Omohara links both Harajuku and Omotesando together therefore the name Omohara is most suitable.
Inside this elegant building you have many exquisite boutiques and various different fashion trends. Fashion companies located within Omohara applies to The Shel’tter Tokyo, Charms, American Eagle Outfitters, Minnetonka, Laboratory Work ReCurrent, Pink Trick, Rady, Rione Doras, Juge ETTA, Loaves, Phoebe, Roomy’s, Amo’s Style by Triumph, Tommy Hilfiger, Cheek by Archives, Choosy Chu, Glam Baby, Flag, Goa, Humor Shop by A-net, and Jewelna Rose.
Also, within Omohara you have lifestyle stores and places to relax and enjoy your shopping experience. The rooftop observatory is also a real delight and clearly this attraction is extremely appealing. Therefore, Omohara, Omotesando Hills and Laforet Harajuku are collectively creating a real buzz and vibe. This buzz and vibe continues within independent boutiques like 6%DOKIDOKI throughout both fashion districts and this is what is so special about Harajuku and Omotesando. Simply put, the amazing diversity and creativity of both districts is not only a gem for Tokyo but it is also “an international fashion gem” for all fashion lovers.
Laforet Harajuku (http://www.laforet.ne.jp/) is an iconic store alongside Shibuya 109 and Marui One in Shinjuku. Within Laforet Harajuku you have a plethora of diverse boutiques which cater for many different styles. Laforet Harajuku just like Shibuya 109 is “a rite of passage” for fashion lovers in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures. Boutiques like Deicy, Topshop, Nomine, Lowrys Farm, and so many other amazing boutiques can be found in this fantastic fashion zone.
Harajuku and Omotesando are must places to visit if you adore Japanese and international fashion. The independent spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI to the buzzing casual scene in the backstreets is a real treasure. Similarly, mainstream fashion and exquisite styles can be found in so many stores and fantastic shopping malls. At the same time, the Meiji Jingu is a reminder of “the spiritual dimension” to this lovely part of Tokyo providing individuals seek solace. Overall, both districts are extremely special and collectively they provide a fantastic destination to visit.
http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/ Meiji Jingu Shrine
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3006.html Meiji Jingu and other tourist information
http://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/en/ Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara)
http://www.japanforum.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=2 (Harajuku fashion)
http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/?eid=508 (personal blog of Sebastian Masuda)
http://www.dokidoki6.com/ (Please visit this fashion website of 6%Dokidoki)
http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/ Omotesando Hills Shopping Mall
Partial list of stores in Omotesando Hills
http://www.laforet.ne.jp/en/harajuku.html Laforet Harajuku