I recently walked past this cute bookstore in Omotesando. The second floor is a gallery, and to be such as small store they seem to have a lot of staff! Only Japanese language books on sale though. If you come from Harajuku along the main Omotesando Street, just turn left at the big crossing at Omotesando, and it will be just on the corner, to your left. Sanyodo – 山陽堂書店. I read recently that on average, one book store closes every day in Japan, over 350 book store every year close up for good due to a shift in consumer demand. It is good to see that some shops manage to go against the stream.
I haven’t done a fashion check and to be quite honest, there’s been a distinct lack of absolute trends for the last two summers. The above average heat doesn’t help either, people dress as little and as lightly as possible, and in simple, easily washable airy garments. These have been the summer of the cheap wear once throw away fashion chain stores, like H&M and the domestic Uniqlo, as well as the usual suspects. From what I hear people are aiming for cheaper and simple clothes, cuts and colors. The only thing that you see more of this summer than last are hats, to protect against the harsh sun. Even make up is lighter than usual and practically everyone is wearing sandals these days, in Tokyo’s hip Harajuku and Omotesando districts. I took these photos right in front of my favorite Harajuku building, the only one in the area with real character! More fashion checks to come!
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary when it comes to restaurants in central Tokyo, I can wholeheartedly recommend 246COMMON in Omotesando, very close to Omotesando subway station. According to their website, it is a collective of cafes, restaurants, designers and makers who have gotten together in an unusual mix of entrepreneurs, chain stores and big corporations to create a rather wild open air food court in the middle of the most fashionable place on Earth. I have been in this spot hundreds of times as it has put to various uses over the years, the land itself probably the victim of the burst property bubble in the early nineties, I have seen it used as everything from a gallery spot to a car park to a farmers market. You might remember the post I did on the Hakushu Whiskey the other day, that cafe is at the far end of this spot. It gets buys later at night but it is by no means really discovered yet, so if you are in the area for lunch, dinner or drinks this summer, I really recommend heading over to try it out, There’s also a few stores selling handicrafts, and who wouldn’t want to buy handmade shoes while eating a vegetable burger and sipping champagne? I wish more of the urban blight areas in our cities could be put to instant creative use in this manner!
Japanese make really good single malt whiskeys. There, I said it. One of my favorite whiskey makers in Japan is Suntory, and although I am not a big drinker (I hardly ever touch the stuff) it is really well crafted whiskey. In Tokyo’s Omotesando district the brewery is currently running a pop-up bar and eatery with whiskey drinks on tap! I don’t think I have ever seen single malt on tap before. There’s quite a few varieties of the whiskey brand they are promoting, Hakushu (白州) but I only sampled one. If you are in the area and looking for a different drinking experience, I recommend this bar, which is not so difficult to find if you get out of Omotesando Subway Station Exit A4, turn right and then right again, walk a little bit and you’ll find it at the end of an open air food court on your right hand side. There’s also a pretty nice campaign site that you might want to visit if for no other reason than to listen to the soothing BGM of a forest soundtrack and birds chirping in the forest. I visited the area where their distillery is last year but I think I have to make sure to make a proper visit to the factory this summer!
This place is part of food truck collection called 246COMMON, and you can see my post about it here. Enjoy!