Talking about vegetables, the latest boom in pastries are those using vegetables. At Patisserie Potager in Nakameguro, there is always a line of women who are looking in the showcase and unable to make a quick decision between avocado rare cheese cakes, burdock chocolate cakes, tomato short cakes, and carrot chocolate flans. A great fan of Potager says "I always buy cakes here because it is so healthy, and tastes better than cakes sold at any other pastry shops."
If you would like to find out what is "in" for the savvy Tokyo locals, or looking for another side of Tokyo besides the major tourist sites such as Asakusa, Meiji Shrine, or Tokyo Tower, this is a must-read article for you. Here are some of the places to visit for those interested in the latest food, beauty, fashion, design trends in Tokyo.
Natural & Healthy Food
Nowdays, fashion conscious natives of Tokyo are not only concerned about what they wear but very careful of what they eat. The greasy fast food hamburgers or fatty cream spaghettis are out, and many are turning to healthy oriented restaurants and cafes. In Omotesando/Aoyama area, many restaurants using organic vegetables or vegan cafes have opened in these few years. There are also many Japanese tea shops with cafes inside where a pot of green tea and lunch is served. The popular lunch includes brown rice and miso soup with more than 10 kinds of vegetables.
For healthy and beauty conscious guests, have dinner at Azabu Jyuhachiban, an anti-aging cuisine restaurant that creates menus with the best nutritional balance of selected Japanese ingredients. Each ingredients are cooked in a way that are best absorbed into the body.
The quest for beauty is universal, but for discerning women in Tokyo, the key word seems to be "exclusive customized care". In the spring of 2009, a major Japanese cosmetic company opened up a salon in Ginza where private counseling and individualized skin-care & make-up lessons can be arranged. For skin-care, the latest high-technology skin analyzing machine is used, and facial treatment that best fits your skin condition is provided. The counselor advises not only on the skin care plan, but nutrition, and lifestyle. For make-up lesson, the computer will analyze your facial features, and the counselor will advise specifically on how to put the best make-up on to gain the ideal image. The counselor will also advise on which color looks best on you which can be applied to the color of make-up, clothes, and jewelry you choose in the future. So far, the lessons are so popular that reservations are filled up as soon as it is open a month in advance.
As for body and facial treatments, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo offers various types of original treatments. One of the most popular treatments is called "Azuki Ritual". Azuki (red beans), known to have antioxidant effects, are mixed with marine salt and oil to scrub away the dead skin cells and pores. This treatment can be included as part of a custom-made treatment where a therapist decides after deep counseling with you.
At last, do not forget the meticulous artistic works done at nail salons. A nail salon which opened up in May 2009 offers a relaxing atmosphere with a private room. Esthetic treatments for the hand and foot, and beautiful nails will be created to your request. Anything can be painted or put on your nails from tiny flowers, crystals, to Hello Kitty.
For young Japanese in their teens and twenties, Harajuku and Shibuya are the places to be for the latest fashion. Just by strolling around the streets of Harajuku, you will see what the trend for that season is like. For example, for the summer of 2009, so many young women and men are wearing classical style soft felt hats or straw hats with casual clothing such as baggy jeans and printed T-shirts. Also, loose fitting pants are popular among women in their twenties. The pants are combined with marine look T-shirts, tunics, or tailored jacket depending on how casual or formal they would like to look. Of course, the latest fashion items are available at department stores or shops in Harajuku or Shibuya.
For more high-fashion for people in their thirties, Aoyama and Omotesando is where to be. At a new shopping complex in Aoyama, which opened in 2009, one can see first-class brand shops and dine in restaurants by up-and-coming chefs. Omotesando is a one-kilometer long street where leading international brand shops stand along. For brand-lovers, it is fun to find Japanese limited editions of handbags or wallets of the famous brands.
For those who would like to have an original one-and-only mobile phone, i-pod, or camera, decorate them with lots of crystals and ribbons. This is called deco-den, short for decorated denwa (phone in Japanese). Visit a specialty store, and consult with the staff to decide on a design. Then, an illustration of your original design will come out in an adhesive sheet. The staff will stick this on your phone and start placing the necessary rhinestones to it. Since it is such a meticulous work, it will take a few hours to complete.
Beams, successful clothing shop where buyers purchase brands of their choice, has recently started a new project called "TOKYO CULTUART by BEAMS". The concept is to provide the world art, design, and culture that are born in Tokyo regardless of its medium or genre. At the store in Harajuku, unique items are displayed from Gundam Robot figures and plastic fluorescent monsters, young artist's illustration art book, stool made with special durable recycled paper, plates designed by a famous artist Tadanori Yokoo.
Contrary to TOKYO CULTUART which carry items of modern design or pop culture, Rin carries tableware, interior goods, furniture, lamps, stationary made by Japanese traditional craftsmen, however, with more of a modern design. For the young generation in Japan "WA" taste fashion items and interior design products is very popular these days. Traditional elements such as Japanese textiles, lacquer ware, pottery, bamboo, are arranged to various products with contemporary design.
Another interesting shop to visit is Tokyu Hands where trendy lifestyle products, unique home improvement items which include almost everything; kitchen supplies, furniture, stationary, gift cards, stickers, painting & drawing supplies, do-it-yourself kits, cosmetics, accessories, bags, bicycles, travel products, camping gear, toys, games, costumes.... They are all so unique, and many are only found in Japan. Just strolling around the store will take a few hours because you will want to stop by at each floor to see products of each genre.
Tokyo Trend Private Tour
Michi Travel Japan has just launched a new private tour exploring these latest trends escorted by a Tokyo local English speaking guide. Let us know what your interests are, and we will customize your tour to visit the updated spots.