The end of the year holidays – which, in Japan, mostly means New Years and Christmas – are quickly approaching. Now that we’re into December, Christmas decorations and lights are quickly appearing all over Tokyo. The local government of each neighborhood in Tokyo generally has its own ideas about what trees should be illuminated, what end-of-year events would be fun for their residents, etc. Many Japanese business and shops also get into the spirit by decorating their buildings, store interiors, and display windows. At this time of year, you’re also likely hear Christmas music (often bossa nova versions of popular western holiday hits) in many of the shops around central Tokyo.
In an effort to share the Tokyo holiday spirit with those of you who aren’t in Japan – or even those of you who are in Japan, but not central Tokyo – TokyoFashion.com is going to publish a series of photo walks featuring popular Tokyo neighborhoods. The first of those walks will be Shibuya. The way it works is pretty simple: we’ll wander around each neighborhood with our camera taking Christmas/holiday-related photos, then post them here for you with related comments. We’ll try not to post too many pictures from any one neighborhood, so hopefully you won’t get bored.
So, here goes the first Tokyo Christmas 2009 photo walk. Welcome to Shibuya…
(You can view a high quality version of any photo by clicking on it.)
We start off this walk by exiting Shibuya Station at the famous Hachiko Exit and heading toward the Shibuya scramble, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings on the planet. In the above photo, we are looking across the scramble with the station behind us. You can see Center Street on the left side of the photo, and Shibuya 109 up the street on your left.
Now, we’ve turned around 180 degrees and are looking back across the road we just crossed toward Shibuya Station and Tokyu department store, with all of its billboards and a big “Christmas 2009” sign.
Cutting back toward Center Street, we see that a lot of the love hotels in the Dogenzaka area are decorated for Christmas. Christmas night is big business for love hotels in Japan! But, we don’t want to take too many pictures here, as most people coming and going don’t want to be seen. Let’s keep moving!
After passing several popular clubs (Shibuya O-East, O-West, Womb, Club Asia, etc.), we find ourselves standing in front of the massive recently opened H&M Shibuya. They aren’t really decorated for Christmas (yet?), but they’ve hung large billboards for the Sonia Rykiel lingerie collection. Nothing says Christmas like sexy designer lingerie, right?
Still heading in the direction of Center Gai, we pass a restaurant with a cute mannequin out front dressed in Christmas fashion – and possibly giving passers-by some sort of WWII German military salute? (Just kidding, I’m sure it’s just waving to us as we pass.)
Now we’re wandering around the Center Gai (Center Street) area of Shibuya. There is a Christmas tree in the window of the ANAP Latina women’s clothing store. ANAP – and their various other related fashion brands – is very popular with Shibuya girls.
Walking up the hill (away from Shibuya Station) from HMV/Coach, we stop for a couple of pictures on Spain Zaka (aka Spain Slope). This is a close-up of the window of the Girls Door shop. I always love the Napoleon look jacket, even though it’s a little overexposed right now.
Around the corner from FrancFranc is the legendary Tokyu Hands Shibuya. If you need something for your home in Japan, you can find it here – as long as you’re willing to climb about 10,000 flights of stairs. Inside the front doors of the store, we can see that the first floor is filled with Christmas trees and other holiday items you can purchase to decorate your Japanese apartment.
A “Shock the World” sign related to some kind of Casio G-Shock promotion outside of Parco. This is related to the Masaru Ozaki Christmas Trees installation that we covered previously.
Walking down the hill from Parco Part 1, standing in front of Opening Ceremony, we can look directly across the street and see the Shibuya Apple Store with their “Give Mac” message in one window and a Christmas Tree covered in iPhone apps in the other.
Veerying off into the back streets between Koen Dori and Fire Dori, we take a closer look at the strange Rag Tag holiday window. It seems to feature a guy in a recliner with a Santa painting on the wall, a small deer next to his chair, lots of presents, and a disco ball. Okay.
Continuing our wander around the streets just off Koen Dori, we find perhaps the most excellent window of the evening. It’s Santa with a guitar at the clothing store Midwest. Well, actually it’s only Santa’s top half sitting on a table, playing guitar. Not sure what happened to his legs.
Another promotional Christmas tree. This time, the tree is advertising the Japanese movie “Amalfi”, which has a Christmas theme. In the movie, a Japanese girl gets kidnapped around Christmas time. Cheery stuff!
Our walk now takes us in a different direction. We head for the back of Shibuya Station, take a left at Meiji Dori, and start walking toward Harajuku. Don’t worry, we’re still in Shibuya – but the line between Harajuku and Shibuya is a bit blurry, so must be careful.
The first picture we take on Meiji Dori is a view of the holiday window display of the La Boutique handbag and accessories store owned by the Japanese brand Crystal Ball (previous Garcia Marquez Gauche).
If we go any further than this down Meiji, we’ll be entering Harajuku – and this photo walk is Shibuya only. So, let’s cross the road and try to catch any other shops we missed on the other side.
The Edifice shop on the other side of Meiji Dori from Paul Smith has a Christmas campaign featuring Popeye. Not sure when Popeye learned French, but this year in Tokyo he’s wishing us a “Joyeux Noel” instead of a “Merry Christmas”.
The Rune Christmas tree is what color? What else – pink! Cute, but…just as we are taking this photo, the lights go out. Uh-oh! That means that it’s around 8pm and the shops are closing. Just about time to wrap this walk up and head home!
Walking back toward Harajuku, we can’t help but sneak in one last picture. From the other side of the street, we didn’t notice that Paul Smith’s Shibuya shop had a huge bow on the side. It’s too cool to pass up, so here is the actual last photo of the night.
That’s it – the end of the walk, the end of the night, the end of our Shibuya Christmas 2009 pictures. We hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. Sorry if some of the pictures weren’t as great as they could have been, but we promise to try harder on our next walk. What will the next Tokyo Christmas 2009 photo walk be? We’re not sure yet, but maybe Harajuku. Check back soon to find out! Also, please leave a comment to let us know what you think and what you’d like to see more (or less) of in our Tokyo holiday pictures.
Once again, click any of the photos above to enlarge them – the bigger versions look much better!