Omotesando Hills in Harajuku, Japan

Omotesando Hills in Harajuku, Japan

This is Omotesando Hils/ Omotesando Dori in Harajuku. Omotesandō is known as one of the foremost ‘architectural showcase’ streets in the world, featuring a multitude of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects within a short distance of each other. These include the Louis Vitton store (Jun Aoki, 2002) Prada building (Herzog & de Meuron, 2003), Tod’s (Toyo Ito, 2004), Dior (SANAA, 2004), Omotesandō Hills (Tadao Ando, 2005) and Gyre (MVRDV, 2007), amongst others. It is known as an upscale shopping area featuring several international brand outlets, ranging from Louis Vuitton and Gucci to the more affordable Gap, The Body Shop, Zara, and others. Omotesandō is also home to the famous Japanese toy store Kiddyland (Wikipedia).

We finally come to the foot of Takeshita Dori at about 3:30 in the afternoon. We were famished and we still planned to go to Kiddyland and Oriental Bazaar in Omotesando Hills. We found a Lotteria in the corner of Omotesando and decided to just eat there as we needed to rest our feet and there’s no way we’d look for a better one at this point.

Lotteria in OmotesandoMavis ordered some burgers, chicken, fries and drinks. It wasn’t that great but if you are hungry, it wouldn’t really matter. The chicken is very good though. It’s like eating the “old” KFC recipe, without the greasiness. Much, much better than what KFC serves now. Typically, we usually find a spot, put down your bags and then order but when eating at a small area like this, you order your food, wait for your food and then get seated when your food is ready. We were off at 4:30.

Since it was just the start of Autumn in Tokyo, the Zelkova trees on both sides of Omotesando are just about to turn yellow/orange. We’ll see if we can visit Omotesando again before we leave to see if the Zelkova trees have been totally painted with colors of autumn.

The streets are filled with designer brand shops but our target was Kiddyland. Kiddyland is one of the biggest toy stores in Japan. They had a shop in the main street of Omotesando but they are now renovating it so the moved  to the inner street. While walking towards Kiddyland, we grabbed some Takoyaki!

Takoyaki

Shaved Bonito flakes were "moving"!

Takoyaki

People lined up for these Takoyaki Balls

People were lining up for these Takoyaki Balls that  they had rows of Takoyaki Grillls! People were still lining up by the time we finished our trip to Kiddyland! More details about the Takoyaki later though.

We finally reached Kiddyland before 5 PM. We were greeted with lovely “Kawaii” toys! These were items that you don’t see outside of Japan. You have Hello Kitty dressed in a Cookie Monster and Big Bird costume, exclusive made for Japan Transformers, Totoro and Ponyo toys, Snoopy. Pastel colored Elmos,Star Wars, Barbie Collectors Edition, and more. I was supposed to get a Godzilla figure but decided against it. Xianelle was able to get some Pokemon Gachapon Toys, Mavis got some Hello Kitty Stickers and got a friend of ours a Hello Kitty Stuff toy! We decided to just go home as it was getting late instead of going to Oriental Bazaar.

Enjoy the photos!

Hello Kitty in Cookie Monster Costume

Hello Kitty in Cookie Monster Costume

Tototro, Ponyo and other Ghibli Toys

Totoro, Ponyo and other Ghibli Toys

Pastel colored Elmo

Pastel colored Elmo

Pokemon Plushies

Pokemon Plushies

Godzilla!

Godzilla

Revoltech Transformers!

Revoltech Transformers!

Star Wars figures and toys

Star Wars figures and toys



Waiing for the JR Yamanote Train to Yoyogi

On day 3 of our Tokyo trip, we were supposed to wake up early to go to Harajuku and visit the Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park. Harajuku is the common name for the area around Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Japan.  Every Sunday, young people dressed in a variety of styles including gothic lolita, visual kei, and decora, as well as cosplayers spend the day in Harajuku socializing. The fashion styles of these youths rarely conform to one particular style and are usually a mesh of many (Wikipedia)

Walking down the Takeshita-ori Exit of Harajuku Station

Walking down the Takeshita-ori Exit of Harajuku Station

However, with the jet lag, lack of sleep, and aching feet, Mavis and I decided that we sleep some more, leave late and come back again on our 2nd Sunday for Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine. We will just fill our day with the trip to Takeshita Dori and Omotesando Hills which are in the same area. Our trip to Akihabara, though short as it was, plus the visit to Shibuya and Tokyu Hands, made us feel like walking with big round stones on our soles! Tokyo is about walking to where you want to go to. Even taking the trains forces you to walk and walk is what we did!

How to get to Harajuku from Akihabara:
AKIHABARA
> JR Sobu Chuo Line > YOYOGI > transfer to > JR Yamanote (I)HARAJUKU

Cost: 190Yen

Takeshita Dori
Takeshita Street (竹下通り, Takeshita-dōri) is a pedestrian-only street lined with fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants in Harajuku. Stores on Takeshita Street include major chains such as The Body Shop, McDonald’s and 7-Eleven, but most of the businesses are small independent shops that carry an array of styles (Wikipedia).

Takeshita Dori in Harajuku

Takeshita Dori in Harajuku

Upon alighting the Yamanote Train in Harajuku and taking the Takeshita exit, the photo above is what would greet you (of course, without me and Xiane). During Sundays, this small street is filled with people, mostly teenagers flaunting their own style of dressing and shopping among the several shops lined up in Takeshita Dori.

This is Takeshita Dori

This is Takeshita Dori

When you enter Takeshita Dori,you’ll immediately notice  that this street is not your typical street as it is filled with a mass of people.  You’ll find Lotteria to your left and Wolfgang Puck on your right. Also, do notice that if you are going down Takeshita Dori, you try taking the left side while those coming up take the right side of the street. This makes it a walkable street instead of people just pushing.

Crepes at weet Box Takeshita Dori

Our first stop was at Sweet Box Crepes. Tokyoites fancy crepes a lot and fills them up with different fruits, creams, and toppings.  Xianelle chose Double Chocolate and  Chocolate Cream. It was so good that she was half-hearted when she agreed to share some to us! You’ll see about 2 more of these Crepe Stations in Takeshita Dori alone!

Different toppings for youe Crepe at Sweet Box

Different toppings for your Crepe at Sweet Box

Xianelle eating her Crepe

Xianelle eating her Crepe

We went inside Japan’s 100Yen shop Daiso which has 3 floors in Takeshita Dori. Sadly, since it was Mavis who was assigned the Camera, she wasn’t able to take any photos of the facade itself. I guess she was excited to go in right away. After an hour, she was carrying 2 plastic bags of goodies while telling me she had to keep herself from buying more stuff! To men out there, if you are bothered about bringing your wife to Tokyu Hands, then you can never bring her to Daiso!

Since we were running late, we went down and entered some stores that were filled with “kawaii” stuff!  In one store alone, I heard the word “kawaii” at least 20 times said aloud by Tokyoites grabbing stuff here and there! The thing that we noticed about Tokyoites is that the really buy these items and clothes. Clothes are quite expensive too.

Here are more photos of what we saw and would probably get more photos if we go back there next Sunday!



Tokyo, Japan - Sewer Cover

Sewer Cover

I am not sure if being in Japan is messing me up and making see things differently. The image above is a sewer cover we saw before crossing a street  right after “Takeshita-Dori” in Harajuku. See anything interesting?



Tokyo, Japan 2010 Trip

This is our blog of our 14-day trip to Tokyo, Japan! Itineraries, budget, where to go, what to see and what to do!

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