After a good night’s sleep and a thorough washing on the TOTO magic toilet (which on its own can be hours of clean fun) there is more shopping and eating to be done. While the idea of shrines and temples and other cultural endeavors seem to be the logical travelers agenda, I don’t work that way. Tokyo is the consumers capital of the world. It must be conquered.
Days 2 & 3: Right next door to the hotel is a Gomae noodle shop. You pick your own ingredients (USE THE TONGS!) which they dump into a broth, and out comes your very own hearty bowl of noodles. Don’t be fooled by the spice. If you can’t handle the spice, ask for the boo boo tourist version. Ha! This place is SO good.
You’ll need your energy for all the money you’re about to spend in Aoyama. Take the train from Shibuya to Harajuku first. The walk through Harajuku is where you’ll see all the weird kids with bandages on their faces. The girls also like to wear really short skirts, the better to flaunt you with. You’ll walk down Takeshita Street, which is like a bad version of NYC’s Chinatown. Cheap knock-offs galore.
But the clouds will part. And you’ll be in Aoyama, approaching Omotesando Hills. You’ll see all the regulars that you’ll see everywhere in the world, except you can stand in one place and see every store in one glance of the eye. Ann Demeulemeester, Margiela, Fendi, blah blah. You can spend your money there, if you want. OR, you can go to Bedrock. The secret underground store in Omotesando Hills. Halfway between the behemoth Ralph Lauren store and the far end of the mall is a cafe called Forbidden Fruit.
Yes, this tacky coffee shop that has this crazy stalagmite chandelier. Go through the coffee shop and down the stairs. It’s the most amazing, most intricately curated shop in Tokyo. An underground cave of capes, snake backbones, stingrays, Rick Owens-esque Japanese designers that you could only dream of. It was THAT good. Like many shops in Tokyo, you can’t pull out your camera. This place is only to be seen with your own eyes.
Now it seems you should just go home, since there’s no way it can get better than that. Until you walk down the street and around the corner to Undercover. Oh. My. God. You have to walk past the Junya Watanabe store and around the corner to the backside of the street. You’ll go past Y3, Corso Como (which was a bit disappointing in comparison) and then BAM. (sorry bad photo)
The interior alone will blow your mind, even if you aren’t a fan of Undercover (whaaaat?). It sorta feels like an old space shuttle, broken down on a planet with really well dressed aliens. My kinda planet. Lots of layers and straps and drapes, dressed over finely tailored garments, costing more than the GNP of some small countries.
Somewhere off the main street, a short way down the alley, is a ramen shop. I’m a huge ramen lover, and this was by far, the BEST ramen I’ve ever had. I think it was around the corner from the the big Louis Vuitton store (next to an outdoor Thai restaurant). Maybe. The broth was so thick from pork juice. The noodles were perfectly cooked. The beer was nice and cold. You must must must eat here.
Then hop back on the train and do as all the rest of the Japanese do. Take a nap.