Harajuku & Aoyama

This boulevard inside Jingū-gaien (the public outer gardens of Meiji-jingū) is lined with gingko trees. For a couple of weeks around late November and early December, the trees – which for some reason in Tokyo are always sculpted into soft-serve like spires – turn golden yellow (which means when the leaves fall the streets are literally paved with gold.

The gingko is actually Tokyo's official tree; once you realise this you'll see the motif of the fan-shaped leaf everywhere. For Japanese, Ichō-namiki is an instantly recognisable image of Tokyo, often used as visual shorthand for the city in TV and film.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Harajuku & Aoyama attractions

1. Honda Welcome Plaza Aoyama

0.24 MILES

The prime reason to visit Honda's showroom is not so much to admire its range of cars and motorbikes but to be wowed by the company's robot technology. At…

2. Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

0.45 MILES

In a building (1990) by Swiss architect Mario Botta, Watari-Um stages exhibits that range from retrospectives of established art-world figures (such as…

3. Canada Garden

0.46 MILES

Bring photo ID, sign in and take the escalator up to the entrance of the Canadian embassy, which is fronted by this stark and brilliant stone sculpture…

4. Aoyama Reien

0.51 MILES

The cherry-tree-lined paths of Japan’s first public cemetery are used by locals as shortcuts through the neighbourhood and as a place for picnics during…

5. General Nogi’s Residence

0.58 MILES

This wooden residence, next to Nogi-jinja, is where General Nogi and his wife committed ritual suicide on the death of Emperor Meiji. It's open to the…

6. Nogi-jinja


This shrine honours General Nogi Maresuke, a famed commander in the Russo-Japanese War. Hours after Emperor Meiji's funerary procession in 1912, Nogi and…

7. SunnyHills Minami-Aoyama

0.61 MILES

Kengo Kuma's design for Taiwanese pineapple cake shop SunnyHills uses 3D-modelled latticework that's supposed to evoke a bamboo basket but also resembles…

8. Design Festa


Design Festa has long been a champion of Tokyo’s DIY art scene and its maze-like building is a Harajuku landmark. Inside there are dozens of small…