Welcome to the fashion capital of the Far-East! From high-fashion in Omotsando to the latest Gyaru craze in Shibuya, from limited runs of European Haute-couture in Ginza to super-flash nail salons in Shinjuku and from trendy Daikan-Yama boutiques to the daring manga-fashion retailers of Harajuku, Tokyo has more to offer than any fashionista could ever want. So if fashion is your thing, then make sure not to miss TTDIT’s exclusive Japanese fashion highlight package.
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This area is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan, particularly for young people, and as a major nightlife area.
One of the best-known stories concerning Shibuya is the story of Hachikō, a dog who waited on his late master at Shibuya Station every day from 1923 to 1935, eventually becoming a national celebrity for his loyalty. A statue of Hachikō was built adjacent to the station, and the surrounding Hachikō Square is now the most popular meeting point in the area.
Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing. It is located in front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō exit and stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection. The statue of Hachikō, a dog, between the station and the intersection, is a common meeting place and almost always crowded.
Three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings overlook the crossing, as well as many advertising signs. The Starbucks store overlooking the crossing is also one of the busiest in the world. Its heavy traffic and inundation of advertising has led to it being compared to the Times Square intersection in New York City. Tokyo-based architecture professor Julian Worrall has said Shibuya Crossing is "a great example of what Tokyo does best when it’s not trying."
Shibuya Crossing is often featured in movies and television shows which take place in Tokyo, such as Lost in Translation, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Resident Evil: Afterlife and Retribution, as well as on domestic and international news broadcasts.
While widely recognised as the district of Harajuku nowadays, it was formerly referred to as Onden, a low-lying area close to Meiji Street and Old Shibuya River (Onden River. Currently a promenade (Old Shibuya River promenade) also known now as ‘Cat Street.’) Up until 1965, the town name ‘Harajuku’ referred to the northern end of Omotesando, the tableland around Aoyama, currently known as Jingu-mae block 2, a large area of Jingu-mae block 3, and the tableland extending behind Togo Shrine in Jingu-mae block 1. On the other hand, the area from Harajuku station to the area surrounding Takeshita Street was called ‘Takeshita-cho’. After 1965, this whole area in the Japanese addressing system was unified to ‘Jingu-mae’ and the name ‘Harajuku’ was abolished.
Many leading fashion houses' flagship stores are located here, being also recognized as having the highest concentration of western shops in Tokyo. It is one of two locations, in Tokyo, considered by Chevalier to be the best location for a luxury-goods store. Prominent are Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Dior, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.
Flagship electronic retail stores like the Sony showroom and the Apple Store are also here. Ricoh is headquartered in the Ricoh Building in Ginza. The neighborhood is a major shopping district. It is home to Wako department store, which is located in a building dating from 1894. The building has a clock tower. There are many department stores in the area, including Hankyu, Seibu, and Matsuya Co.. There are also art galleries.
Today, Omotesandô is known as one of the foremost 'architectural showcase' streets in the world, featuring a multitude of fashion flagship stores within a short distance of each other. These include the Louis Vuitton store (Jun Aoki, 2002) Prada building (Herzog & de Meuron, 2003), Tod's (Toyo Ito, 2004), Dior (SANAA, 2004), Omotesandô Hills (Tadao Ando, 2005) and Gyre (MVRDV, 2007), amongst others.
It is an upscale shopping area featuring several international brand outlets, ranging from Louis Vuitton and Gucci to Gap, The Body Shop, Zara, and others. It is one of two locations, in Tokyo, considered by Chevalier to be the best location for a luxury-goods store.
Omotesandō is also home to the Japanese toy store Kiddyland, a shopping center geared primarily toward young women, Laforet, Oriental Bazaar, and Gold's Gym. It is sometimes referred to as "Tokyo's Champs-Élysées". Its latest development, Omotesandō Hills, opened in 2006. Omotesandō's side streets feature a range of trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as boutique stores specialising in everything from handbags to postcards to vintage glass bottles.
Today, along with Shibuya and Harajuku, it is one of the most popular entertainment and shopping areas for young people in Tokyo. It is well known for its fashion houses, restaurants, and shopping. Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium is in the North part of Aoyama.
Aoyama is also the location of Japan's first municipal cemetery, Aoyama Reien, which was opened in 1872. The cemetery is famous for its cherry blossoms, and at the season of hanami, many people visit.
Famous Japanese people buried here include General Nogi Maresuke, a war hero who joined his leader in death by committing suicide when Emperor Meiji died in 1912. Many noted foreigners are buried in the small foreign section of the cemetery, which was at risk of being cleared to make a park in 2005, but has since been preserved by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Famous non-Japanese buried at Aoyama Reien include the British minister plenipotentiary Hugh Fraser who died in the post in 1894, Captain Francis Brinkley, Guido Verbeck, Henry Spencer Palmer, Edoardo Chiossone, Joseph Heco, Julius Scriba and several others.
One of the cemetery's most famous graves is that of Hachikō, the dutiful dog whose statue adorns Shibuya Station.
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