As a self-confessed Japanophile (a lover of all things Japanese, in case you’re wondering), I couldn’t let my recent trip to Japan go by without sharing a blog post about two of the most stylish places I’ve ever visited and my favourite spots in Tokyo: Aoyama and Omotesandō. (And let’s face it, I need an excuse to share at least a few of the approximately 9,7395 photos I took whilst there!)
Having visited a number of fashion capitals over my years of travel such as New York, Paris and London, nowhere else has quite embodied the word ‘style’ for me – or has managed to capture my heart in the same way – as Aoyama and Omotesandō in Tokyo, Japan. From award winning buildings, to unexpected bars and eateries, to some of the best street style I’ve ever seen, these two districts are a must-visit if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo! While it will be hard for this blog post to even come close to describing the incredible atmosphere and dynamic-yet-somehow-subtle vibe of these two neighbouring districts, I’ve tried to capture the best things to do there – eat, drink and shop of course! – to help anyone who’s thinking of visiting enjoy it as much as I did!
Wining and dining
There’s no abundance of good food and drink in Tokyo – especially if the food is ramen and the drink is sake! But for something a little different that stands out from the rest, you can’t go past Tokyo Whisky Library and Café Kitsuné.
The husband and I stumbled across Tokyo Whisky Library purely by accident when the word ‘whisky’ caught our eye on a menu that was on a seemingly randomly-placed stand at the bottom of a staircase in between two Diesel stores. Up the stairs we went not knowing what to expect, until we arrived at a mysterious landing filled with books and a grand wooden door. Once you open the door it’s like entering a bar straight out of the 1920s. Bottles of whisky line the walls from top to bottom (seriously, the bar boasts one of the largest collections of whisky in Japan, housing over 1,000 different kinds of whisky from all over the world), and the bar is decked out with grandiose chandeliers, plush furniture, and beautiful gold finishings. What makes Tokyo Whisky Library even more special is that while the surroundings make for a lush and opulent experience, the staff make you feel welcome and at home. My tip when you’re there is don’t just stick to the whisky: the cocktails and food (particularly the salmon whisky pasta) are also delicious!
In contrast to the opulence of Tokyo Whisky Library, Café Kitsuné is a minimalists dream. A quiet oasis in the midst of the busy Aoyama district, the beauty of Café Kitsuné lies in its simplicity. Serving a small selection of baked goods – the cafe’s main focus is definitely coffee – Café Kitsuné is the perfect place for a morning or afternoon pick me up when you need a break from shopping. It’s also home to one of the best matcha lattes I’ve ever had. Even the husband, a dedicated coffee drinker and self-confessed caffeine addict, chose to forego his usual espresso for one of their famous matcha lattes!
No post about these two areas would be complete without mentioning the shopping! These two areas are packed with every shopper’s designer dreams come true: a huge two story Acne store with the friendliest Acne staff I’ve ever encountered; an equally impressive Opening Ceremony complete with artwork, pastel vibes, and some seriously aesthetically pleasing staircases (see below for a sneaky pic I took whilst browsing); an Issey Miyaki store dedicated to his pleat range (aptly titled Pleats Please); a six story stand-alone Prada that is wrapped in diamond-shaped glass and is an architecture lover’s delight…I could go on! And of course a store very close to my heart, Alexander Wang, where I broke my wallet but fed my soul by buying two pairs of their famous Kori boots.
It’s not just about designer shopping though. There’s also a COS store housed inside a beautiful red brick building with a range that we would just never get in Australia; Tokyu Plaza, a shopping mall that describes itself as a “fashion theme park” with that famous mirrored entrance; and Harajuku just a short walk away where all style rules go out the window and anything goes!
As you can tell, Aoyama and Omotesandō hold a special place in my heart! Two visits in and they are nowhere close to losing their charm and appeal, I’m already looking forward to visit three!