Aoyama stands for luxury and style and is one of the most exclusive, elegant and desirable areas in
Located in the Minato Ward of the Japanese capital, it is flanked by some of the city’s most famous districts – Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Roppongi. However, Aoyama is cut from a finer fabric than its more famous neighbors.
Simple but upscale, it’s known for its high-fashion boutiques, hard-to-book restaurants, avant-garde art galleries, and exquisite minimalist architecture, not to mention tree-lined boulevards and lavish green spaces, all of which make it a particularly sought-after address in the metropolis.
Aoyama is divided into two areas: Kita-Aoyama or North Aoyama on the north side of Aoyama-dori Road and Minami-Aoyama or South Aoyama on the south side.
Gaien Higashi-dori Street draws the eastern border of Aoyama from the Gaien Campus of Kyoto University of Art and Design in Meiji Jingu Gaien Nikoniko Park, which stands on the northeast corner of the district until it meets Metropolitan Road Route 413 which includes Aoyama Aoyama Cemetery, the site of the Nezu Museum and crosses Roppongi-dori Avenue, which goes around 7-chome Minami-Aoyama south and then west.
The western boundary of Aoyama traces the edges of the Shibuya campus of Kokugakuin University and the Aoyama campus of Aoyama Gakuin University before meeting the northwest boundary that follows Lohas Strait and continues on the same trajectory as the Meiji – Leaves Jingu Stadium to neighboring Shinjuku until it finds the Gaien campus of the Kyoto University of Art and Design.
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Prices in Aoyama are high, even compared to the already high averages in Tokyo. According to Japanese real estate platform Utinokati, the average cost per square meter of a used condominium in the capital is 916,000 yen ($ 8,030 USD). Brokerage Japan Property Central currently lists a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit on the 20th floor of a building in Aoyama that was completed in 2004 for 260 million yen, or 2.65 million yen per square meter, nearly three times the city average.
The same goes for used houses in the area. Japan Property Central’s portfolio also includes a three-story, two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Minami-Aoyama, designed by the renowned architects Sakakura Associates in 2005. The price is 618 million or 1.64 million per square meter, well above the urban average for existing housing: 551,000 yen per square meter, according to Utinokati.
For new builds, the apartments in the Grand Hills Minamiaoyama project, due to be completed in February 2022, start at 165 million yen for a 70 square meter unit with two bedrooms and one bathroom.
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Aoyama is known for its architecture, so it’s not surprising to find some outstanding residences in the neighborhood, including those of Atelier Tekuto and Conran and Partners. In addition, the area has low zoning and many low buildings, which give the residents a rare sense of space.
The neighborhood is a mix of single family homes, many of which are minimalist, ultra-modern concrete structures that evoke a unique Japanese brutalist aesthetic. At the other end of the spectrum, new luxury condominiums tend to tower above older complexes, although the former remain a rarity in the area and are often on the periphery, like the aforementioned Grand Hills Minamiaoyama, which will be 18 stories tall when completed.
Parking spaces are often adjacent to freestanding properties and are sometimes available in apartment buildings, many of which have 24-hour security and common areas.
What makes it unique
Zoe Ward, director of Japan Property Central, said of Aoyama, “It has a great combination of flat and affluent neighborhoods with large houses and high-profile schools like Aoyama Gakuin University. Like Ginza, the big fashion and luxury brands also want to be present here. It’s also a very central location close to Shibuya, Roppongi, Akasaka and Azabu. “
With the area’s reputation as a hub for art, architecture, fashion, and design – all of which come together in the hip Omotesando neighborhood – owning an address in Aoyama has a certain stamp of approval. Japanese and international labels – including Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamato and Prada, whose store designed by Herzog and de Meuron is a destination in itself – have their flagships here. It is also home to high quality, independent shops selling vintage designer clothing, traditional handicrafts, and housewares.
However, Aoyama isn’t just about spending money and looking stylish. The Aoyama Cemetery offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and an insight into the history of the region. In spring, the cemetery’s cherry trees bloom in powder-pink blossoms, while its elevated position offers great views of the city all year round.
Equally relaxing, the Nezu Museum houses a collection of more than 7,400 works of Japanese and East Asian art in a poetic building designed by the famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The site also includes a landscaped garden.
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The neighborhood is also known for its jazz clubs, ranging from the US implant Blue Note, which regularly attracted international talent in pre-pandemic times, to the intimate Body & Soul Club that has existed for more than 40 years.
As Ms. Ward mentioned, Aoyama is known for its excellent educational institutions. For younger children there is the Clarence International School in Omotesando, a preschool for children aged 18 months to six years. The British School on Tokyo’s Shibuya campus, which is no more than 15 minutes’ drive from central Aoyama, accepts students from kindergarten through third grade (ages 7 and 8).
There are also a number of continuing education opportunities, such as the Kyoto University of Art and Design Gaien Campus, which opened in 2010 to serve as the Tokyo outpost of the Kyoto-based institution and its sister university, Tohoku University of Art, and design. Aoyama Gakuin University in neighboring Shibuya is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the country, offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a research institute. It is also home to two listed buildings: the Majima Memorial Hall and the Berry Hall.
There is no shortage of renowned restaurants in Aoyama. Yoroniku serves seasonal yakiniku or grilled meat and its signature ice cream dessert in an elegant, modern setting. At Sushidokoro Minami, guests enjoy an omakase menu that changes with the freshly available produce and a good selection of sake and Burgundy wines; For French upscale cuisine, Florilège is number seven on the list of the 50 best restaurants in Asia and has two Michelin stars on top of that.
Who lives there
Aoyama attracts “high earners and their families,” Ms. Ward said. “There is also a slowly shrinking contingent of the original landowners who have lived here for decades and decades.”
Consistent with the Japanese disposition to discretion, Ms. Ward simply said that “there are very likely many high-profile residents.” [in Aoyama]In fact, acclaimed fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garcons and Dover Street Market, lives in Aoyama, within walking distance of the CDG boutique. The late Japanese author and kimono designer Chiyo Uno lived above her kimono shop, Aoyama.
According to Ms. Ward, “housing prices have generally increased since the pandemic started last year” and by and large have “increased an average of 10% over the past 12 months”. Yukiko Takano, global real estate advisor at List Sotheby’s International Realty, agreed, noting that the Aoyama real estate market was “very active”.
“Transactions in the luxury sector are on the rise,” she said. Although the homes were selling quickly, she added that “new supply and remaining inventory has declined. That drove up prices. ”
“Aoyama didn’t have very many units to star in, but there are even fewer now,” said Ms. Takano. “Buyers should keep an eye on the market and jump in when a good one becomes available.”
Ms. Ward added, “Future supply appears to be somewhat limited in the Aoyama area due to the many sparse zones and very few locations for potential development. Historically, Aoyama was a very popular location and I cannot imagine that this will change in the future. “
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