Words like “trendy” and “upscale” suit Aoyama better than “cheap”. One of Tokyo’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the area’s popular with young people for shopping and entertainment. International fashion houses, spas, and cafes and restaurants make this the place to treat yourself. But if you know the right places, you can definitely find the cheapest ways to get the full VIP treatment.
Where to eat and drink in Aoyama
As you might’ve guessed, Aoyama has pretty nice dining options. There are endless options for cafes. Our favorites include A to Z Cafe, Aoyama Flower Market Tea House, and the Royal Garden Cafe.
Looking for something more filling? Look no further than Yanmo (see our full low-down on the place here). The atmosphere in this Japanese-style restaurant is more upscale, but you wouldn’t believe it from the prices on the menu. They offer fresh seafood from the Izu Peninsula, which you can enjoy raw, steamed, or grilled (their specialty). Make a reservation if you plan to go for dinner, and expect a queue for lunchtime.
What to do in Aoyama
Aoyama-dori and the equally famous Omotesando can easily give you a shopping spree experience that lasts the whole day. Aoyama-dori also sees the occasional festival, so there’s more to enjoy that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Killer-dori is an ominous-sounding shopping street and several theories float around about the name’s origin story. But if anything is certain, it’s that there are tons of great street fashion stores to pop into.
Sorry to continue with the topic of death, but believe it or not, Aoyama Cemetery is a beautiful place worth visiting. It’s especially nice in the spring as a popular cherry blossom viewing spot. As Japan’s first public cemetery (since 1872), it’s host to countless graves, including the famous dog Hachiko’s owner.
Another popular non-shopping attraction is the Nezu Museum. Here you can find a beautiful collection of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean antiquities with pretty good English explanations to boot. Select items are also displayed in seasonal exhibitions. Contemporary architect Kuma Kengo designed the gallery space and glass-walled cafe. The backyard is a Japanese-style garden made for an afternoon stroll. For our full article, click here.
How about a haircut while you’re in the neighborhood? Sounds weird, but many tourists are making a trip to the salon a priority on their Tokyo trip bucket lists. Most of the best salons are in and around Aoyama. See here for our favorites, some of which welcome foreigners with open arms at reasonable prices.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of swanky hotels around the area, but swanky also means moola, so we generally recommend nearby areas instead, like Shinjuku or Akasaka.
That said, Sakura Fleur Aoyama is a great stay in Aoyama. Set in a brick building with a quirky and vintage lobby, this is a hotel with an elegant difference. The hotel is only a six-minute walk Omotesando station, which links to other trendy area such as Shibuya. There are great facilities in the hotel and you can upgrade your room to include sitting areas with sofas. Children over 12 are welcome. A very stylish place with a retro decor—something different for Tokyo.