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Both Harajuku and Aoyama have quietly become fashion, art and design centers of Tokyo. Harajuku's main boulevard, Omote-sando, is lined with elegant shops and haute couture, while its side streets, more notably Takeshita-dori, teem with teenagers on the hunt for next big thing.

Also here are some of the city's best art galleries, museums and design book stores. Because of the sheer density and high quality of art spaces in the area, it's often the case that stellar, emerging artists will show here before they have hung their work anywhere else.

Before leaving Harajuku, you will probably also want to stop in at Meiji-jingu, one of japan's finest Shinto shrines.


Completed in 1920, Meiji-Jingu was built in memory of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, under whose rule Japan ended its isolation from the outside world. Unfortunately, like much else in Tokyo, the shrine was destroyed in the bombing at the end of WW2. The rebuilding of the shrine was completed in 1958.

Meiji-Jingu might be a reconstruction of the original but, unlike so many of Japan's post war reconstructions, It is altogether authentic. The main structure was built with Japanese cypress for the huge torii was imported from Alishan Taiwan.

Ota Memorial Art museum
- Ukiyo-e museum

This cozy museum, which asks that you trade your shoes fir a pair of slippers at the door. Has an excellent collection of Ukiyo-e prints. The original collector, Ota Seizo, former head of the Toho life insurance Company, Began to buy Ukiyo-e when he realized that many important examples of Japanese wood-block prints belonged to foreign museums, Making it impossible for Japanese to view many of genre's masterworks. The museum displays from a collection that hold more than 10,000 prints, including those by masters of the art such as Hokusai and Hiroshige.
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1-13-10, Sanshin Building 2A, Hatchobori, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan