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Expert Led Tour of Tokyo: Japanese Aesthetics & Architecture

Shibuya City, Japan

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up to 24 hours in advance
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icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


Explore the modernist architectural heritage of Japan during this small-group walking tour covering the Tokyo neighborhoods of Harajuku, Omotesando, and Roppongi. Follow a local scholar as you learn the principles behind Japanese design philosophy, touching on its influence across architecture, fashion, and art. Along the way, you’ll visit some of Tokyo’s most interesting modern skyscrapers, explore the subcultures of Harajuku, and stop by the Meiji shrine for an example of traditional architecture. This intimate tour, limited to just six guests, ensures a personalized experience.
  • 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 six people
Get a first-hand look at the philosophies that underpin Japanese modern architecture on this personalized, small-group tour of the Tokyo neighborhoods of Harajuku, Omotesando, and Roppongi with a local scholar. Along the way you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the vast influence of Japanese design philosophy on contemporary visual culture, spanning the worlds of architecture, fashion, and art.

Start your small-group tour by meeting your guide in Harajuku at a prearranged time. Start your exploration of Japanese design and architecture at the Meiji Shrine, which helps to place the philosophy’s historical origins in context. 

This ancient religious site, constructed in honor of Emperor Meiji in the 19th century, illustrates just how much Japanese visual culture has changed in the past 200 years. The very modest design aesthetics on display at this shrine help to underpin the discussion of the rest of the tour’s look at more modern Japanese design.

Head next to the Tokyo areas of Harajuku and Omotesando, where you’ll have a chance to admire two more contemporary, yet very different, takes on Japanese design. Stroll first through the kaleidoscopic neighborhood of Harajuku, listening as your guide explains the history of the neighborhood’s diverse subcultures. Your guide will help explain how traditional Japanese roles and principles are expressed via the mechanisms of consumerism and clothing, helping to create social identities.

Continue to Omotesando, a district that is home to some of Tokyo’s most exclusive fashion brands like Prada and Dior, each of which uses architecture to help reinforce their brand philosophy and aesthetics. This high-end neighborhood, studded with design studios and boutiques, plays a pivotal role in Japanese design, art, and fashion. This role is evident in Omotesando’s many fine examples of modernist architecture, including the Cartier building, the Nezu Museum, Tokyo Plaza, the TOD’s building and Gyre, a structure which combines dining and retail under one roof.

Move next to Roppongi, where you’ll have the chance to view examples of Japanese design including superflat, a postmodern art movement spearheaded by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, along with modern expressions of the movement known as Japonisme. You may also have the chance to see the 21_21 Design Site, an impressive architectural masterpiece by Tadao Ando that is home to the city’s first design museum.

Finish your walking excursion in Roppongi Hills, an interesting example of urban planning that blends commercial, cultural and residential spaces into one area. The area is the brainchild of Tokyo developer Minoru Mori, who has turned the area into a centerpiece of contemporary art, including the Mori Museum at the top Mori Tower. Finish your tour here and make your own way to your next destination or your hotel.
Stop At:  
Mori Art Museum
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Roppongi Hills, Shop & Restaurant
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Nezu Museum
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Tod's Omotesando
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Meiji Jingu Shrine
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Takeshita Street
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Roppongi District
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Context Travel Tokyo
Admission Ticket Free
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Expert Led Tour of Tokyo: Japanese Aesthetics & Architecture?
This activity will have a maximum of 10 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Expert Led Tour of Tokyo: Japanese Aesthetics & Architecture.

Traveler Photos


23 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Great tour! Our guide is truly a...
Jeoffrey T
, Mar 2018
Great tour! Our guide is truly a scholar and showed us many amazing places. This tour was a real education not just in Japanese Architecture, but in culture and mentality too. Book this now!
We had an amazing tour, lead by a...
, Jan 2018
We had an amazing tour, lead by a charming, well-informed and energetic architect, who provided a wide range of insights and information. Some of the buildings and sites are easily found but many others were on back streets and one would never know about them without a skilled and knowledgable guide to show the way and provide an architectural framework for their existence. It was the highlight of our visit to Tokyo. Wear comfortable shoes - there's a lot to see.
Our guide Hugo Maia should be rated...
Edna D
, Oct 2017
Our guide Hugo Maia should be rated with 6. He is so passionate discussing the origins how the modern Japanese archi became. He went past the allotted time and we all love him.
Much more than expected or even...
Michael A
, Jun 2017
Much more than expected or even hoped for. The guide is an architect, who does the tour about once a month. He introduced me not only in the origins and contemporary concepts of Japanese architecture. He was also open to answer any other question regarding Japanese history, culture, daily life,... a deep dive into Japan. Thank you so much for this great experience!
The architectural walk is a way to...
Angela L
, Mar 2017
The architectural walk is a way to get to know a different side of Tokyo. Mike, the guide, is very knowledgeable and people oriented. He let us ask him many questions and take our time in the areas we wanted to. It was very interesting to see the contrasts within the neighborhoods.
This tour was excellent in every...
Joseph T
, Jul 2016
This tour was excellent in every way. The company that provided the scholar was excellent to work with, and the scholar was knowledgeable, personable and made it informative and interesting. I would recommend this tour. Miranda Nadel
Our tour guide was amazing...
Yasmin E
, Jun 2016
Our tour guide was amazing! Definitely wear comfy shoes because he took as long, pergolas longer, than 3 hours. A different lens with which to see Tokyo. A must do!
This walk was better than I expected...
Karen N
, Jun 2016
This walk was better than I expected Tour leader Alessandro was delightful and knowledgeable only 3 in the group and we went to some amazing buildings by cutting edge Japanese architects Loved every moment
Very interesting and varied...
Bob H
, May 2016
Very interesting and varied itinerary. Alex the guide has a broad appreciation of things Japanese and Architectural.
Great tour. Our guide was...
Lloyd C
, May 2016
Great tour. Our guide was intelligent, articulate and gave us a great insight into Japan's recent history, through the subject of architecture. We walked nearly 20km with him, and found it stimulating, informative and really, really helpful. We would wholeheartedly recommend this. Good value, very stimulating.

Product code: 5411TYO77430

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