4 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

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  • Location:Tokyo, Japan
  • Duration:3 hours (approx.)

Scholar-Led Architectural Walking Tour: Harajuku, Omotesando and Roppongi

Turn a critical lens on Japan's modernist architecture during this 3-hour walking tour of Tokyo, including Harajuku, Omotesando and Roppongi. A local scholar will introduce traditional and contemporary principles of Japanese design through architecture, fashion and art. During fascinating discussions with your expert guide, you’ll learn where Japanese designers draw their inspiration and appreciate how Japanese ideals of beauty inform their aesthetics. Enjoy personal attention on this small-group tour, limited to 6 people.


  • 3-hour art and architecture walking tour in Tokyo
  • Hear fascinating commentary on art, design and architecture from your guide, a Tokyo scholar
  • Visit Meiji Shrine for a fine example of traditional Japanese architectural design
  • Witness the subcultures of Harajuku
  • View modern skyscrapers in Omotesando, including the buildings of Cartier, Prada and Dior
  • See Mori Tower in the multi-use urban development of Roppongi Hills
  • Enjoy personal attention on this small-group tour, limited to 6 people

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Scholar-Led Architectural Walking Tour: Harajuku, Omotesando and Roppongi

Scholar-led Art & Architectural Walking Tour: Harajuku, Omotesando, and Roppongi

Meet your guide—a local scholar of art history and architecture—at a central Tokyo location. Your expertly trained guide uses a multidisciplinary approach to help you understand Tokyo’s contemporary visual culture, starting with traditional concepts of Japanese architecture at the Meiji Shrine.

Here, you can start to appreciate how the visual landscape of Tokyo has changed in the last 200 years. Dedicated to the Emperor Meiji in the 19th century, the modest aesthetics of this Shinto shrine provide a foundation for discussing the contemporary design techniques that followed.

Spot examples of these newer techniques as you venture to Harajuku and Omotesando, two closely situated areas with quite different representations of Tokyo’s modern design. As you walk through the district of Harajuku, delve into some of the colorful subcultures that Tokyo is known for. Your guide will point out how modern Japanese values and roles are reflected in consumerism and clothing to form social identities.

As you move through the neighborhood of Omotesando, notice how luxury brands—Prada and Dior, among others—use architecture as an extension of their aesthetic principles. As a hub for design, fashion and architecture, the famous avenue is dotted with design studios and boutiques, each showcasing their own idea of Japanese beauty. View buildings by great modern architects, such as the Cartier building, the Nezu Museum, the TOD’s building, Tokyu Plaza and Gyre—a mixed-use building for retail and dining.

Your discussion in the Roppongi District may include subjects such as superflat, a postmodern art movement exemplified by Takashi Murakami, and modern forms of Japonisme. You might also wend your way toward the 21_21 Design Site, Tokyo’s first design museum and a stunning piece of architecture by Tadao Ando.

Complete your walking tour in Roppongi Hills, an urban development that integrates commercial, cultural and residential Tokyo. Real-estate tycoon Minoru Mori—who also created Omotesando Hills and the neighboring Tokyo Midtown Center—has made Roppongi a central hub for contemporary art in Tokyo, punctuated by the Mori Museum at the top of Mori Tower.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our guide is great. It gives us a good insight into the architecture of Tokyo.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

I love architecture and really enjoyed this tour. Fernando was very informative and showed us parts of the city that we would never have otherwise explored.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

It was cool! We enjoyed it!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

We were lucky to meet Aurelia who was a knowledgeable and personable guide. It was like going for a walk with a friend who had done her research and more on the architecture and culture of Japan. We found out a lot about the symbolisms and the design concepts of the buildings. Aurelia started from the historical perspective at the Meiji temple in Harujuku and we learnt very quickly about the historical progression and architectural context. We proceeded to Omotesando and Roppongi. A Phd Scholar with a architectural background from Romania, Aurelia's acute perception and depth of knowledge of architecture was a plus and her personable skills made us feel like we were walking with friends. From an architectural perspective, this tour is highly recommended. My husband and I had a great time revisiting these buildings again in Tokyo from Australia. Make sure you have good walking shoes and architectural appreciation.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

Our tour guide, Jay, was knowledgeable and passionate. He was forthcoming with information and the itinerary was very interesting. We enjoyed it immensely.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

This tour gave us a chance to talk to someone one on one and get all our questions answered. Our guide was very knowledgeable and just a really nice guy! It was like spending half a day with your best friend. The tour would have been better if the weather had been better (we had snow and were just not dressed appropriately) but other than that it was quite enjoyable. He pointed out things we would have simply missed on our own, or would not have understood the significance. Nice job!

4 star rating: Recommended March 2015


We very much enjoyed our trip around central Tokyo with your guide.

However,when we arrived at our hotel in Tokyo the paper which you had sent to us advised that we telephone a number to confirm.The number you quoted was a local number somewhere in America,and we were unsuccessful in our attempts get through.

Best regards,

Peter Schuberth

4 star rating: Recommended April 2014

It was really a pleasure to meet John. He was very informative and professional.
Me and my husband enjoyed his company, we spent a lovely morning together.
Thank you.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better May 2015

The tourguide had a lot of know how on the building environment. Unfortuntely she not a positive view on the Japanese society and was very opinionated on certain architecture, while I think you should first let people form their own.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better March 2015

This tour was alright

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Tour code: 5411TYO77430


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