Harajuku Architecture: 10 photos of great buildings

Yes, I know that in the past I’ve complained about buildings in Tokyo. Many of them are just concrete, steel, and glass boxes. But some areas are changing. Harajuku architecture is pretty good. That is one place I’ve seen some good developments in recent years.

Well, we should say some of those buildings so you can judge for yourself. Here are ten buildings along or near Omotesando. They aren’t in any order. The only thing they have in common is that they are pretty cool.

Harajuku architecture Hugo Boss building Omotesando
The Boss building on Omotesando.

Hugo Boss building

Opened in 2012

Designed by Norihiko Dan

This might be my favorite piece of Harajuku architecture. It’s all concrete and grey. That is what makes it stand out in the area. For me, it’s a little reminiscent of a Lord of the Rings tower. It’s stunning and stylish.

Prada Aoyama glass tower
Doesn't Prada look like one piece?

Prada Tokyo Aoyama

Opened in 2003

Designed by Herzog & de Meuron

The interior of the building is fluid. Visitors can’t easily distinguish the connections between each floor. Everything looks like one continuous space. 

And outside? The structure looks like a single piece. It’s a glass tower with convex, bubble-like diamonds. At night, the interior lights transform it into a tower of light.

The Iceberg
The Iceberg.

The Iceberg

Opened in 2006

Designed by Benjamin Warner

Another stand-out piece of Harajuku architecture. Blue-tinted glass combined with its angular facade gives the building a three-dimensional feel. It is a crystal tower created by a fantasy writer.

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku mirrored entrance
The mirrored walls of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku.

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku

Opened in 2012

Designed by Hiroshi Nakamura

This building is on the main intersection of Harajuku. The trendy people crowd its mega fashion shop The Shel’tter Tokyo. Others head to its restaurants like Bills Omotesando and Urth Caffe. Many also photograph its incredible wall-of-mirrors entrance. For that, it’s worth a photo or two.

Hulic Aoyama No. 2 Building
Hulic Aoyama No. 2 Building.

Hulic Aoyama No. 2 Building

Completed in 2008

Designed by Jun Aoki and Associates

Seven types of windows punctuate the facade of this nine-office building. They range from 1.5 to 2.2 meters in size. The ceilings are a luxurious 4.9 meters in height.

In a strange way, it reminds me of Derinkuyu underground city in Turkey. Of course, this is vertical! By the way, this building used to be known as Sia Aoyama. A long time ago, I used to English there to the staff of Red Bull!

Spiral building interior art space
It really is a spiral.

Spiral Building

Completed in 1985

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki

Spiral is an arts complex in Tokyo’s Aoyama that fuses culture and business.  It has spaces that can be used for different activities. They include an art gallery, a café, a multipurpose hall, restaurants, gift shops, and a beauty salon.

The name derives from the exterior of the building and its interior design. They express the image of an ascending spiral. Walk inside and it’ll be right in front of you.

Miu Miu Aoyama
Miu Miu Aoyama.

Miumiu Omotesando

Completed in 2015

Designed by Herzog & de Meuron

Miu Miu is a sister brand of Prada which is over the road. Both were built by the same architectural firm. The building is different from many in the area.

Herzog & de Meuron didn’t want to build another glass tower. They made it see-through so that you can see into the interior from all sides. It’s an interesting design. Aoyama Cemetery is nearby too!

Dior Omotesando Glass Tower
Dior Tokyo Omotesando.

Dior Omotesando

Completed in 2003

Designed by Kazuyo Sejima+Ryue Nishizawa

The Dior building is a trapezoid box. Due to building laws, the building couldn’t be higher than 30 meters. So, to maximize space, the architects used floors of different heights.

The building’s showpiece is the exterior glass. It has two skins. A clean, square, outer one of clear glass with the inner one of translucent acrylic. The external facade gives a gentle hint at what is inside while revealing nothing. It’s spectacular at night.

Yoyogi National Gymnasium
Yoyogi National Gymnasium no. 1 building.

Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Opened in 1964

Designed by architect Kenzo Tange

With its sweeping profile, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium is iconic modern architecture. It was completed for Tokyo’s Summer Olympic Games. This building isn’t out of place in the twenty-first century. This was probably the first great piece of Harajuku architecture.

Ao Building
Ao Building.


Completed in 2009

Designed by the architectural firm Sakakura Associates

With its striking silhouette, this shopping and office complex stands out in Aoyama. Apparently, from the rooftop, you can see Mount Fuji. I need to check that out!

Where can you see this Harajuku architecture?

Click here to see them on Google Maps.

Wrapping up

And that is ten great pieces of Harajuku architecture!  Well, one or two might be a little closer to Shibuya to be truthful. But what do you think? Do you agree with me? If you think they are good let me know. And let me know if you think I’m wrong! It would be great to hear some opinions.

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