Christmas is only hours away! That means we must hurry up and post the rest of our Tokyo Christmas 2009 photo walks. We still have to cover Omotesando and Aoyama to complete the neighborhoods around Harajuku. Looks like won’t finish Shinjuku and Ginza this year, but there’s always 2010.

So, for this update, let’s take a walk up Omotesando Dori (or “Omotesando Street” if you prefer). The media loves to call this road the “Champ de Elysee of Japan” because of the high concentration of luxury goods shops. Besides the Christmas shoppers, this year we’ll have to brave the crowds coming out to see the Omotesando Christmas Illumination. I’ve been hearing claims in the Japanese media that 2009 is the first illumination in Omotesando in 11 years. However, we seem to remember very cool holiday lights back in 2006 – and claims that year that it was the first time in 8 years. Not sure what that’s all about. The bottom line is that this year’s holiday lights are beautiful, and are guaranteed to bring big crowds to the area. Are you ready for expensive shopping, huge crowds, and lots of pretty pictures?

Me too! But first, let’s try to clarify something unclarifiable (that’s not a word, right?). What is Omotesando? Hmmm. What is Harajuku? What is Aoyama? Those are questions for which even Tokyoites have less than definitive answers. Omotesando is a subway station and a street, but it’s also a name to which shops near (and less-than-near) the street and station associate. Harajuku and Aoyama have same identity issues. So in the area this walk covers, you might see a shop that claims to be in Harajuku – right next to a shop that claims to be in Omotesando or Aoyama. For example, Kiddyland is almost always said to be in Harajuku, but the Chanel store a few doors down is almost always said to be in Omotesando. Why? Probably because “Harajuku” sounds better for a toy shop, and “Omotesando” sounds cooler if you’re selling luxe fashion. To make a long story short (or not), we’re going to walk down Omotesando Dori today, but we’ll also be hitting some stores/locations that are in Harajuku and Aoyama. Sometimes we might not have any idea which are claiming what or why. The common thread in all of today’s pictures will be the fact that they are all attached to Omotesando Street in some way!

Okay, enough of that boring stuff! If you’re ready, let’s get started on our Omotesando Dori Christmas 2009 Photo Walk…
(Remember, you can view a high quality version of any photo by clicking on it.)

Cute Characters at Play House Tokyo
We’re going to officially start this walk at the intersection of Omotesando Dori and Meiji Dori, because we covered the area of Omotesando Dori between Meiji and Harajuku Station on the first part of the Harajuku photo walk. That said, we’re walking down from Harajuku Station anyways, so we might as well grab a couple of pictures along the way. This first shot is the Play House shop near the top of the hill. The shop specializes in collectible Snoopy and Peanuts merchandise – but as you can see from their holiday window display, they also sell other cute character goods including Care Bears, Usavich, and Chucky (the little freak from Child’s Play).

Tokyo Building Lighted Merry XMas
Our second picture is the first “one that got away” of the night. This was supposed to be a photo of the huge lighted “Merry XMas” message on the top of the building you see across the street – the one with Gold’s Gym and Zara. We tried to get up high enough to photograph the roof, but we just couldn’t make it happen. If we had another two hours, and a grappling hook and some rope…well, maybe next year.

Cute Harajuku Bag Shop
Another cute little shop on our way down the hill toward Meiji Dori. This one sells bags. The bag on the top left of the photo appears to say, in huge letters, “Don’t Lose Your Mind, Always Beautiful Days.” If I had any last minute Christmas shopping to do, that bag would be GONE!

Gap Harajuku Christmas Tree
Hey, it’s the Gap Harajuku. We’ve seen this before in other photo walks, but it’s worth showing again. Why? Because it’s a Harajuku landmark for the last 10 years, and it’s going away. That’s right, Harajuku – you won’t have the Gap to kick around anymore after January. Or, you will – but you’ll have to walk up to the new location directly across from Harajuku Station. Not sure what’s going to take the place of the Gap at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji, but you can bet it will be something big. That location has to be insanely expensive. Bye bye, Gap!

Bicycles on Omotesando Street
After shedding about one and one half tears over the Gap closing, we start the real part of our walk. We’re now heading up Omotesando Street toward Omotesando Station – on the LaForet side of the street. This picture just shows a bunch of bicycles parked on the edge of the sidewalk, and some nice holiday lights. There is also that suspicious looking guy standing on the right side of the picture in front of Lawsons, but we won’t mention that. Let’s get moving and see if he follows us!

Kiddyland Harajuku at Christmas
Speaking of Kiddyland (well, we were a while ago) – there it is, on the other side of the street. We’ll just take one wide shot and get close-ups later. See the lighted Christmas tree on the side of the building? No, you don’t? Okay, that’s because I took the picture at the wrong time after it turned into a star. Oh well!

Christmas Bells in Tokyo
This picture shows the tiny gold holiday bells that are attached to trees all up and down the street. It would be cool if they would ring them all simultaneously on the hour, every hour! But, they don’t. So, we’ll just look at them for a second and then keep moving.

Omotesando Holiday Illumination
This is near the intersection of Cat Street. You can write love notes to your sweetheart, then tie them to a lighted lotus flower. Not sure why, but it does sound tempting somehow.

Dior Omotesando
On the other side of the street, we can see the Dior building. In front of that is the pedestrian bridge which we crossed in our Harajuku Part Two walk. They’ve since closed the bridge to all foot traffic because too many people were stopping on it to take pictures, so no one could move. Don’t blame us, though – we only paused for a second or two.

Omotesando Hills Christmas
We’re continuing up the street. Here’s Omotesando Hills. Right now, they have a skating rink inside of the Hills, and a disco Christmas tree. As we discussed in one of our previous walks, the disco ball seems to appear quite often in Tokyo Christmas displays. Not sure why.

Chanel Omotesando
Shopping across the street again, there’s the Chanel building. Looks pretty good at night.

Holiday Wedding Jewelry in Omotesando
Christmas eve is a huge day for jewelry sales in this area. Couples come from all over to load up on gold and silver. This Star Jewelry display is only for those in a serious relationship. It’s promoting a “Holiday Wedding 2009”. Run!

Mac Omotesando
This is the Mac shop on the outside of Omotesando Hills. Look how cool the Mac shop girls are!

Shu Uemura x Tsumori Chisato
A few doors up, we reach the new location of the Shu Uemura shop. This holiday they are promoting their collaboration collection with Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato. You can look at the cute window art all you want, but if you actually try to buy any of the Chisato goods, you’ll find out it’s totally sold out. Believe me, I tried!

Dolce & Gabbana Tokyo
Wow, that’s an elaborate dinner table window display at Dolce & Gabbana. It’s attracting a lot of picture-takers, too.

Omotesando Hills Christmas
We’ve now reached the main entrance to Omotesando Hills. If we had time, we could go in and take pictures of the skating rink and the disco ball Christmas tree. Unfortunately, that place is packed, and we have a lot of ground to cover before the stores start closing. Let’s keep moving.

Omotesando Hills Christmas Tree
Okay, one quick picture of the white photo-friendly Christmas tree just outside the entrance. There was a line like twenty minutes long to pose for your picture inside the tree. We’ll pass on that for now.

Jimmy Choo Omotesando
That’s the Jimmy Choo shop at Omotesando Hills. Jimmy Choo is very loved in Japan!

John Galliano Omotesando
Galliano Omotesando. In case you didn’t find the shoes you were looking for at Jimmy Choo, this shop is literally right next door. Get out your credit cards, as this area can be expensive!

Armani Omotesando
Across the street, we can see the Emporio Armani shop glowing red.

United Colors of Benetton Tokyo
Continuing up the street and now past Omotesando Hills, we see a cute Christmas tree decorated with tiny little shirts inside the United Colors of Benetton store.

Tods Omotesando
Across the street again, it’s the quite-sexy Tod’s building.

FCUK Harajuku Sign
If we turned left off Omotesando Dori onto this side street, we would find the French Connection UK shop. I read that shop will likely be closing sometime in the not-too-distant future, so let’s keep walking straight for now.

Donna Karan Omotesando
The Donna Karan shop has a few Christmas decorations in the window.

Loewe Omotesando
The Loewe holiday window display features rotating ice skates. Every time there was a break in the crowds long enough so I could take a quick shot of the window, the skates would rotate sideways so that they wouldn’t appear in the photo. It’s like magic. Holiday Magic.

Nanette Lepore Aoyama
Okay, big announcement here. We’re still walking up the same road, but now we’ve passed Omotesando Station and crossed Aoyama Dori. That means that technically, we are now in Aoyama. Also, Omotesando Street is no longer called Omotesando Street here. Past Aoyama Dori, it’s just called The 413. Pretty drastic name change. Because we are basing this walk on Omotesando Dori – and The 413 and Omotesando Dori are actually the same street – we’ll continue walking straight until we run out of cool shops. The first shop to photograph on this section of 413 is Nanette Lepore Aoyama. Her Christmas tree is cute – like many of her clothes.

Tocca Aoyama
This Tocca window display isn’t overly holiday themed, but it looks classy somehow.

Comme Ca Men
Comme Ca Men has small gift boxes in the front of the window, and that’s about it as far as holiday stuff.

Maison Galerie Vie
The Maison Galerie Vie shop is more in the Christmas spirit, with giant snowflakes suspended from the ceiling of the store.

Nara Camicie Aoyama
This Nara Camicie shop is slightly off the main street, but you can see it from the street. We’ll rush over for a quick photo. Notice the purple jackets on the left wall of the store being carefully hung by a staff member.

Loveless Aoyama Christmas
This is Loveless Aoyama. This is heaven underground. If we didn’t have so much more walking and photoing to do, I’d make a quick turn into Loveless and you might not see me for two hours. This is one of the coolest select shops in Tokyo. But, we must continue on…

Japanese Christmas Disco Ball
This close-up shot of the Loveless “Merry Christmas” window display just helps to prove my theory that 2009 is the year of the Disco Ball Christmas.

Prada Building in Aoyama
Every picture set of Aoyama must have at least one photo of the Prada building. It’s a rule. We don’t want to break the rules. So, looking across the street, holiday lights or not, here’s Prada.

D&G Christmas Trees
Wow! D&G Aoyama has an entire forest of Christmas trees inside their shop. Wait – maybe it’s only three trees. The mirrors are so confusing!

Cartier Aoyama Building
Again, shooting across the street. The Cartier building looks fantastic tonight.

Chloe Aoyama
And right next to Cartier is Chloe – also in a cool building.

Yoko Moku Tokyo
We’re walking down one side of the street, but shooting most of our photos of the other side. The 413 here is much more narrow than Omotesando Dori, so it’s easy to take photos of the other side. Here’s Yoku Moku. I’ve never been inside, but the sign and Christmas tree are nice.

Designworks Concept Store
Now back on our side of the street. It’s the Designworks Concept Store.

Tsumori Chisato Christmas Tree
A little further up, we find one of the cutest shop windows of the night. It’s the Tsumori Chisato Aoyama shop. In the window, they have a Christmas tree that looks a little like something out of a fairy tale. The giant moon next to it reminds me of children’s dreams. We’ll stop for a second to enjoy this cute dream world. We don’t stop too long, though, or the shop staff will get suspicious.

From 1st
Okay, that’s it – we’ve reached the end of the road. Not literally, of course – the 413 continues on its way to Roppongi or some other faraway place. But for our purposes tonight, we’ve gone far enough. If we turned right, we’d be at the Rick Owens shop. Instead, we’ll just cross the street and head back in the same direction from which we came. If we can make it back to Meiji Dori before the shops start closing, we’ll be doing good. This is the halfway point. Good work – don’t give up now! The first shop we’ll take a photo of on our return journey is Ribbon Hakka Kids in the From 1st building. There are other cool shops in this building too, but not many of them have holiday decorations.

Colorful Tokyo Shop Window Art
Now we’ve gone around the backside of the From 1st building, and we’re heading back toward Harajuku station on the side road that runs parallel to the 413. These buildings are attached to the main street, but they are on the back, so you have to walk on this little street to reach them. First photo here: Mushrooms, elk, and snowflakes – in vivid color!

Undercover by Jun Takahashi Aoyama Store
Now we’re passing the great-looking Undercover by Jun Takahashi shop. It was remodeled this year. The old storefront had Star Wars figures in the window.

Deuxieme Classe Aoyama
We’ve walked past Comme Des Garcons (nothing too exciting in their window). Here’s a ribbon Christmas tree out in front of Deuxieme Classe.

Kate Spade Aoyama
We just passed Original Fake, and we’re taking a right head back to the 413. Now passing the new Kate Spade Aoyama shop. They have lots of Christmas love in the window – and a bathtub, too!

Beautiful Yohji Yamamoto Shop
We make a quick backtrack up the street to grab a photo of the beautiful Yohji Yamamoto shop interior.

Basile 28 Tokyo
Finally, we are back on the main street and headed toward Harajuku/Omotesando Station. Here is a nice Christmas tree in the Basile 28 window.

Jingle Flowers by Comme de Garcons
Here is another shop we might have to stop at if we weren’t trying to get these pictures done tonight. Here is the amazing Comme de Garcons main shop. This year’s holiday theme is “Jingle Flowers”.

Aoyama Flower Market
Speaking of flowers – here is Aoyama Flower Market with real live (and dead, too) flowers. So pretty!

Samantha Thavasa Aoyama
We’ve reached the Samantha Thavasa flagship store. This is where Beyonce, Paris Hilton, Penelope Cruz come to greet fans. I’ve been here when the whole place is so crowded you can’t move! So, the fact that we’ve reached this shop means that we are now going to pass Omotesando Station. We can once again call the 413 “Omotesando Dori”. Let the confusion about which shops are claiming Omotesando and which ones are in Aoyama begin!

Cute Omotesando Merry Christmas
This cute mini Christmas display looks like it was put up by one of the Omotesando shopping organizations.

Gucci Omotesando
Heading down the hill, we pass by the Gucci shop with lots of cool neon in the windows.

Pretty Aoyama Holiday Lights
Across the other side of the street – the side we walked up the hill on – we can see really nice Christmas lights.

Lovely Christmas Window in Tokyo
The writing on this window says, “The loveliest Christmas Window? You’re looking at it.”

Gallarda Galante Omotesando
And back on our side of the street, a strange Christmas tree in the window of Gallarda Galante.

Louis Vuitton Omotesando
It wouldn’t be Christmas in Tokyo without Louis Vuitton. Earlier this year, they had a huge Takashi Murakami sculpture in the middle of the shop.

Omotesando Hills
On the other side of the street we can see the entrance to Omotesando Hills. Notice the huge snowflakes on the sides of the building? They are always moving around and changing shape and color.

Cute Christmas Lights in Tokyo
Just off of Omotesando Dori, the restaurant Bamboo has the most ambitious Christmas lights that we’ve seen tonight.

Omotesando Dori Christmas Lights
As we continue down Omotesando Dori, here’s just a quick shot of the street, sidewalk, and lighted trees.

Petit Bateau Omotesando
Not a great photo, but this is the Petit Bateau shop. They are doing a collaboration with Tsumori Chisato next year!

Omotesando Holiday Lights
Another wide shot of the other side of the street – with Omotesando Hills covered in digital snowflakes.

Burberry Omotesando
Now passing Burberry as we continue on toward Meiji Dori.

Tag Heuer Christmas in Tokyo
Need a watch? Feeling rich? Here’s one of Tag Heuer’s Tokyo flagship shops. No sign of Tiger Woods!

Chanel Tokyo Window Display
When we walked up the hill, we took a wide shot of the Chanel building. Now that we’re walking right by it, we can grab a quick closeup of one of the mannequins inside of a strange cage covered in luxury goods.

Rilakkuma at Kiddyland
Cute character overload! It can only be Kiddyland Harajuku. This is a special Rilakkuma pop-up shop.

Christmas at Kiddland Harajuku
A picture of the inside of Kiddyland. Lots of Christmas spirit here, and lots of shoppers.

Peltier Chocolate Shop
Now passing the Peltier chocolate shop – with a chocolate Christmas tree and cute teddy bears in the window. I have bought many gifts here over the last year. Should we pop in for a quick snack? Naw, better keep moving!

Swarovski Omotesando
This is the new Swarovski Omotesando store. I still haven’t been inside!

Anap U in Harajuku
An elegant looking window at Anap U. This Anap shop specialized in party and nightlife clothing. As we look up the road, we’re now in sight of the Meiji Dori intersection. Not far to go now!

Y'SACCS Omotesando
This is the Y’SACCS shop. They sell bags, purses, and other accessories. Their window says, “Christmas Good Time 2009”. So true!

LaForet Harajuku and H&M
Wow, we made it all the way back to LaForet! There’s the architecturally cool H&M “Ice Cubes” building in the background. The fact that we’re seeing those buildings again means we’ve covered both sides of Omotesando Street. Time to call it a night before all of the lights go out on us!

That marks the end of this photo walk. We’ve still got Christmas in Aoyama in the queue. The Aoyama walk will cover a lot of the neighborhood that surrounds today’s stroll down Omotesando Street. So, check back soon if you’d like to get more a complete picture of the area. Thanks for your time and Happy Holidays!

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for the pictures. I am always glad to see them! Arigato!

  2. no techno stuff allowed

    Such beautiful photos. I really enjoyed looking. Keep up the good work.

  3. Tokyo_Katie

    Thank you so much for the Christmas picture series this year very cool (although I have still not been able to find the 700 yen shop arrrggg)

    I was thinking it would be great if TokyoFashion did a piece of which stores did Fukabukero – just a suggestion ヾ(^∇^)

  4. tokyo

    Thanks Katie! We’ll try to do some coverage of the New Years mayhem. :-) As far as the 700 shop – if you walk down Takeshita from Harajuku Station and keep going all the way to Cat Street (go straight passed Meiji Dori), then take a right onto Cat Street, it’ll be on your right side just a few buildings down Cat. You can’t miss it because of the crazy alien out front! :-)

  5. Thanks for the photos, must have been a lot of effort! Such innovative architecture, I wonder who designed them.. Tokyo in Christmas is really pretty, I’d visit again somedya ^^

  6. Pingback: Aoyama Christmas Pictures 2009

  7. I really like your photos.they’re so beautiful.Thank you so much.