Omotesando is an avenue, subway station and neighborhood in the Minato and Shibuya wards in Tokyo stretching from Harajuku station, the foot of the famous Takeshita Street, to Aoyama-dori where Omotesando station can be found. Zelkova trees line both sides of the avenue. Around 100,000 cars drive down the main street daily.
Omotesando was originally created as the frontal approach to Meiji Shrine, when the Shrine was dedicated in the Taisho era.
It is known as an upscale shopping area featuring several international brand outlets, ranging from Louis Vuitton and Gucci to the more affordable Gap, The Body Shop, Zara, and others. Omotesando is also home to the famous Japanese toy store Kiddyland, a well known and extremely trendy shopping center geared primarily toward young women Laforet, Oriental Bazaar, and Gold's Gym. It is sometimes referred to as "Tokyo's Champs-Elysees". Its latest development, Omotesando Hills, opened in 2006. Omotesando's side streets feature a range of trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as boutique stores specialising in everything from handbags to postcards to vintage glass bottles.
Every year Omotesando is the venue for Tokyo's Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
Omotesando Hills was built in 2005, in a series of Tokyo urban developments by Mori Building. It occupies a two hundred and fifty meter stretch of Omotesando, a famous shopping and previously residential road in Aoyama. It was designed by Tadao Ando, and contains over 130 shops and 38 apartments.
The construction of Omotesando Hills, built at a cost of $330 million, has been marked by controversy. The building replaced the Bauhaus-inspired Doujunkai Aoyama Apartments, which had been built in 1927 after the 1923 Kanto earthquake. The destruction of the apartments again raised questions about Japan's interest in preserving historic buildings. A small section of the old apartments is reconstructed in the South-East part of the new complex.