Most visitors include Omotesando on their list of places to see. On either side of this upscale avenue are hundreds of shops, galleries, and streetscapes that are worth a side visit. Aoyama-Dori, the street that intersects at Omotesando Station, also has exclusive haute couture and specialty shops. Just a short walk south of the intersection of the two streets is Spiral, a building that fits in with this vibe. You could mistake it for an office or retail building. But take a look inside for an innovative mix of galleries, boutiques, dining and gathering spaces.
Spiral’s planners worked with architect Fumihiko Maki to create a “fusion of art and everyday life”. The building itself embodies this concept. Constructed in the 1980s, it is a visually interesting asymmetric collection of geometric shapes – square, circle, triangle, and cone. The two-story cone contains the spiral gallery for which the building is named. The forms also create intimate spaces. The Spiral Café is cozy and subdued with a low ceiling, and the mezzanine with big windows has seats creating a lookout on Aoyama-Dori.
The nine floors of the building contain cafes, a restaurant bar, an event space that can be used as a theater, boutiques, and art spaces. Spiral’s art spaces have concurrent events and exhibits throughout the year, so any time you visit, you encounter something new.
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You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.