ultramarinus – beyond the sea

HARAJUKU & AOYAMA, Tokyo

Strolling along the small streets in Harajuku and Aoyama offers quite a different experience than checking out the buildings by star architects along Omotesando.  Just a stone throw away, the neighborhoods behind the high street are indeed full of surprises.  With interesting fashion boutiques, accessory shops, and hair salons, these tranquil and tidy backstreets provide a different sense of urban beauty.  It is a place of intimate scale, and a crossover of avant-garde styles and domestic living.  Every house is unique.  Every shop has its own character.

DSC_4850This pink shop on the narrow Takeshita-dori offers freshly made crepes with numerous flavours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEntering the Harajuku street, we were attracted by this white escape stair.

DSC_4207Visiting these streets before the shops opened their doors offered us a quiet moment to admire the unique architecture in the area.

DSC_4231No extravagant materials were used but each building is uniquely designed according to the character and needs of the shop owner.

DSC_4229Studious is a sleek fashion boutique designed by Suppose Design Office.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis narrow building covered by ivy plants is a mental clinic.

DSC_4252“NOW IS FOREVER” – We couldn’t agree more.

DSC_4851The cafe in Design Festa, an artist hub with dozens of studios, was a good spot to take a break.

DSC_4260Shops and residences mingle neatly in the neighborhoods of Harajuku.

DSC_4406This little shrine between two stores caught our attention.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARight next to the stacked parking structure is a glass box boutique.

DSC_4514This store has a small patch of green for visitors to enjoy. The green lawn brings a sense of welcome and warmth to enhance the cool and sleek boutique design.

DSC_4535We stopped on the street countless times captivated by the neat streetscape created by the unique architecture.  Building massing, facade treatment, and architectural detailing come together in an harmonious way.

DSC_4546In the evening, we walked to Watari Museum of Contempory Art in Harajuku.  Before we entered the museum, we spotted this eye-catching building across the street.

DSC_4543Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, Watari Museum of Contempory Art was built in 1990.  We went in and saw an exhibition on Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.  The exhibition occupied 3 levels of the museum, presenting the life of Isozaki when he is not doing architecture.  An one to one scale tree house designed by Isozaki was reconstructed as the centerpiece of the exhibition.  We loved to use the outdoor staircase to move up and down the building while touring the exhibition.

* * *

Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo

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One response

  1. ouu very artsyy

    October 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

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