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Winter Japan Day 7 - Tokyo Omotesando

Updated: May 2, 2019

#Tokyo #Omotesando #Aoyama #NikonD5100

Looking at the city through the condensated window from our hotel room with rain drops trickling down. Seemed like a cold and wet day ahead, again.

In the subway station and heading towards Omotesandō.

Arriving at Omotesandō station and exiting through Exit A5. This is where you should go if you're planning to visit the iconic flagship stores of Prada and Miu Miu (by Herzog as well and opening in March 2015). Just turn right after the exit, like what those people in the photo were doing.

The first flagship store you would encounter is Comme des Garçons, which only opens at 11am.

Continue walking for a minute and you would see Prada.

The reality in Herzog's words: "...to see constantly changing pictures and almost cinematographic perspectives of Prada products, the city and themselves".

One of the most recognisable architecture in Omotesandō / Aoyama.

There are several Issey Miyake stores all along the same street.

Tadao Ando's La Collezione building right after the FROM1st building.

Perspectives of Tadao Ando.

The street is a paradise for fans of Issey Miyake, begging for more pleats, please.

The Spiral building by Fumihiko Maki in Aoyama, completed 30 years ago.

Visited the Three Cosmetic building in Aoyama. An interesting case study of a lifestyle destination comprising retail, F&B and a spa. Take Exit B2 from Omotesandō station and turn into the small lane before Found Muji (http://aoyama.threecosmetics.com/).

Revive Kitchen - the restaurant café.

The retail shop that sells a whole range of Three products from skincare to hair care and make-up.

The new Apple Store in Omotesandō, right outside Exit A2.

An outstanding triple-volume store that is bright and inviting, with the thin elegant roof supported by 5-ply thick laminated glass stiffeners all around.

The elegant spiral staircase that leads down to the subterranean floor. Design, details and workmanship in the entire store were impeccable and extraordinary. Exposed joints and welds doesn't exist. A truly good design lies in its details.

Hugo Boss by Norihiko Dan and Tod's by Toyo Ito, side by side along Omotesandō.

Louis Vuitton by Jun Aoki - an assemblage of spaces inspired by a random stacking of trunks.

The façade of Tadao Ando's Omotesando Hills building against the zelkova-lined boulevard.

Inside Omotesando Hills shopping complex.

Lunching at a small Japanese restaurant in Omotesando Hills. It's amazing to observe how most restaurants in Tokyo operate and prepare their food in the minuscule kitchen. It makes me think about how designers would often complain not having enough room to fit this and that, or can't achieve something simply because there is "not enough space".

Delicious tempura oysters for lunch.

Diagonally across the street from Tadao Ando's Omotesando Hills is Dutch architecture firm, MVRDV's Gyre Shopping Center. Do visit the MoMA Design Store on level three where many interesting products can be found.

Other than the glamorous fashion flagship stores and vibrant shopping centres along Aoyama, the other place to visit is Tokyo Midtown - a mixed-use development designed by SOM with a 5-level shopping podium. A huge Muji store is located on B1, alongside a beautiful upscale supermarket - Precce Premium. (http://www.tokyo-midtown.com/en/)

21_21 Design Sight located in the park right behind Tokyo Midtown complex. It's accessible via a pedestrian bridge from Midtown on level one, through the exit beside Green Dog, a pet retail and grooming shop. More of Tadao Ando and Issey Miyake's collaboration below:

Roof gutter and discharge design.




Back to the hotel after a day of architecture tour and shopping. In fact, the Prince Shinjuku Hotel resides within a mixed-use building comprising the hotel, the Seibu-Shinjuku rail station, and the PePe departmental store, which has eight storeys of shops.

On the top floor of PePe is a huge store called Can Do. It's a 100¥ shop, alike Daiso in Singapore, where everything is priced at only 100¥ (which is no more than S$1.20). And some of their products are way much better than Daiso's in Singapore.

Feeling lazy to wonder the streets in search of dinner, we just grabbed some onigiri from Omusubi Gonbei located at B2. Simple, delicious and delightful. (http://www.omusubi-gonbei.com/)


CONTINUE DAY 8


GENERAL INFORMATION:


GENERAL TIPS:

  • The weather could feel colder than the numbers suggest due to wind and flurry. It's better to be over than under-prepared. Do bring along REAL winter jackets from reliable makers.

  • Jackets with hoods are absolute essentials. Scarfs, neck and face warmers are very effective as well. Some locals were even wearing ear muffs.

  • Bring a good pair of gloves that are thick enough but also fit well. Better if it's a pair of touchscreen-enabled gloves since we use our smartphones so often. It can be annoying if you are planning to use your smartphone as your camera and need to remove your gloves every now and then.

  • Consider bringing heat packs as well to add some warmth in your pockets.

  • Cold weather is dry weather. Bring some REALLY good moisturiser with you. Those little travel-size tubes will not be enough as it's easy to underestimate the amount of moisturiser needed everyday. Bring different types if you are particular about application on different areas like body and face (remember to check-in if it exceeds 100ml).

  • Get a pair of snow boots or equivalent. Sinking your feet into thick snow (intentionally, inevitably or accidentally) means water seepage into your shoes. Having water in your shoes and wetting your socks in winter do not seem like a good idea.

  • Walking on icy surfaces is extremely slippery too. I've seen many people in their usual sneakers, running or cross-trainer shoes slipped and fell. Otherwise, you may buy an ice-spike sole attachment (around 1,500¥ a pair) to enhance your foot grip. They are available in most souvenir shops.

  • A pair of shades/sunglasses would be useful as the snowy landscape can be rather glaring.


PHOTOGRAPHY INFO & TIPS:

  • Was using Nikon D5100, Nikon AFS DX 10-24mm f3.5-4.5, Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC, Nikon AFS 50mm f1.4, Nikon AFS VR 70-200mm f2.8, Sony HX50V, Sony Action Cam AS30V, Apple iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Edge.

  • Other than keeping your hands warm and functionable, gloves should be of perfect fit to handle and operate your camera easily. Best if they are designed for winter photography. Get touchscreen-enabled gloves if you're using cameras with touchscreen feature.

  • Consider bringing cameras with bigger buttons and controls if you don't mind the bulk. I find it hard to use those tiny buttons on the D5100 with my gloves on.

  • Make sure your equipment can be used in sub-zero environment. Perhaps, do a test in your home fridge before your trip. This includes your lens as many lenses have complex electronic components these days.

  • Use a lens hood. It can be useful to prevent snow from hitting the glass directly, which can be annoying and hard to wipe dry.

  • Extra batteries are critical as they deplete fast in cold weather.

  • A waterproof outermost jacket with a hood could potentially eliminate the need to carry an umbrella during light snow. Imagine carrying an umbrella while trying to shoot.

  • Most indoor areas are well heated during winter, which is great for us but not our lenses. If you have stayed in the warm indoors for long enough (e.g. for a meal), condensation will occur. Hence, try to keep your camera cold in the bag if you want to be able to shoot immediately.

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