When you think of Christmas lights in Tokyo, one of the first areas that comes to mind is Omotesando. The so-called Champs-Elysees of Tokyo, Omotesando Dori is a long tree-lined shopping street that draws visitors from all over Japan during the holidays. Besides the insane variety of luxury flagship stores, the big draw here is the famous – and very beautiful – Omotesando Christmas Illumination.
The exact nature of the Omotesando Christmas Illumination changes every year, but one thing is constant – the lighting of the huge rows of Zelkova trees that run the entire length of the boulevard, from Harajuku Station all the way to Omotesando Station. This year in addition to the illuminated trees, there are special lighted bamboo installations near the intersection of Cat Street, a tree that changes colors when you touch it in front of Ralph Lauren, and all of the Omotesando Hills exterior lighting and decorations.
On top of all of that holiday goodness, Omotesando Dori is home to some of the most famous luxury store architecture in the world. Just walking along this street and keeping your eyes open will leave you in awe. We can’t possibly recreate that feeling with pictures alone, but we’ll do our best. So, let’s stop talking and start our Omotesando Dori Holiday Photo Walk now!
As always, you can click on any of the pictures to see them in high resolution. And don’t forget to check out our previous Omotesando Hills Christmas pictures.
We are starting this walk at the corner of Omotesando Dori and Meiji Dori – the spot where the old Gap Harajuku used to be. There is nothing in the old Gap location now – just a big under-construction lot with a fence around it. It’s not too exciting to photograph. So, we’ll start walking up Omotesando Dori toward Omotesando Station. The first store that we snap on this walk is a jewelry and accessories brand called 4C. The shop is a good starting point for a Tokyo holiday photo walk for several reasons: 1) it has many Christmas decorations inside, including a tree; 2) there is a lot of pink inside the shop; and 3) it’s a jewelry shop, and jewelry often plays a big part in Christmas gifting between Japanese couples. So, there’s our first photo. Let’s take lots more!
As we reach the intersection of Cat Street and Omotesando Dori, we’ll take a closer look at this year’s illumination. Here is one of the interactive parts of the holiday decorations. If you touch the glowing orb beneath this tree, lights flicker and music begins playing.
Aiming our camera across the street toward the famous Dior building. You can see the lights of a police car in the foreground. There’s a lot of security staff on hand every night during the illumination to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
This is a shot looking up Omotesando Dori from the pedestrian bridge near Dior so that you can see the rows of illuminated trees. We had to snap this one quickly because the guards on the bridge keep everyone moving. When it gets too crowded, they close down the pedestrian bridges altogether to avoid problems.
This is the entrance to Omotesando Hills. That lighted Christmas tree-like structure on the right side of the photo is a photo spot. You can go in there with your loved one (or anyone you randomly see on the street) and have your picture taken in front of the Omotesando Hill sign. There is a lot of Christmas stuff going on inside of Omotesando Hills too!
Ann Demeulemeester’s Omotesando Hills shop. I love this brand. They can’t really put up Christmas decorations because everything in the store is black. Well, except for those two red items you can see in the window. But usually, all black.
Even though this walk is supposed to be straight up Omotesando Dori and back, we’ve already been slightly derailed. We’re taking a quick look down the little side street where FCUK used to have a shop. Here is Edit. for Lulu with a Christmas tree and wreath.
Okay, we’ve now crossed over Aoyama Dori and are continuing down Omotesando Dori. Technically, I think this area is really Aoyama, but because it’s still on Omotesando Dori (or whatever it might be called over on this side of Aoyama Dori), we’re going to keep going. For tonight’s photowalk, doing the entire street from one end to the other makes more sense than turning back at Aoyama Dori. After crossing Aoyama, the first shop we stop to photograph is Abiste.
Back to the main road now. Here’s one of our favorite shops – Loveless! If you come to Tokyo for fashion shopping and you miss Loveless, you will regret it. Go down the stairs, take a right and go down another flight of stairs, and there you’ll find an amazing collection of mens streetwear from a variety of edgy brands.
This is where we cross to the other side of the street and start walking back toward Aoyama Dori. If we kept going down this street really far, we’d eventually reach Roppongi. If we went just a little further and then took a right, we’d be at the Rick Owens shop. I love Rick Owens, but what are the odds that his shop will have any sort of holiday decorations? Very small odds. So, let’s get moving back in the other direction!
Passing by Aoyama Flower Market means that we are about back to Aoyama Dori, which is also the location of Omotesando Station. We’ll continue down toward Meiji Dori, the same way we came from but on the other side of the street.
Once again we do what we said we wouldn’t do and snuck off onto a little side street. In this case, we didn’t want to miss several awesome H.P. France shops. On the way down the street, we see Lucien Pellat-Finet Omotesando. Cashmere anyone?
Guess what? We’ve now made it all the way back down to Meiji Dori! We are now on the corner directly across from where we started this walk. There is a Lotteria fast food place on this corner, but that photo doesn’t sound very exciting. How about aiming our camera back the way we came to show all of the people and lights?
We hope you’ve enjoyed this walk! Unlike most of our other Tokyo holiday photo walks, this one was pretty much straight up one side of Omotesando Dori and then straight back down the other side. If you visit Tokyo, we highly recommend that you give yourself a few hours to do a walk like this – on top of exploring all of the surrounding neighborhoods. Even if you aren’t looking for extreme luxury items, the architecture and ambiance of this area is unique in the world.
Happy Holidays and don’t forget to check out our other photo walks, including Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi!