Furniture, Interior Design, and Zakka Stores In and Around Aoyama

Up until now, the apartments I’ve lived in have been compact, and partly because of that I’ve had very little interest in interior design. At home I spend so much time working at a desk that I did get myself an Aeron Chair from Herman Miller; I am also very particular about audio equipment. Other than that, all of my furniture is stuff I’ve gotten from friends, or just the bare minimum from Ikea and Nitori (ever since Nitori opened up in Shinjuku and Shibuya I’ve been a frequent customer).

When it comes to stationery or smaller items, I get a lot of my stuff from Loft in Shibuya or the Tokyu Hands in either Shibuya or Shinjuku.

But ever since I started getting more translation work from T Japan: The New York Times Style Magazine, I feel like the percentage of furniture and interior design-related articles that come my way has increased, and little by little I’ve become interested in the topic.

And it turns out that there are many well-known Japanese and foreign interior design stores in the Omotesando and Aoyama areas—so I started making the rounds as research.

In terms of practicality or bang for your buck, I still think Ikea and Nitori products are excellent, but when it comes to design and how it actually feels to use a product, the items you can get at high-end interior design stores are substantially superior.

In America, it feels like well-to-do folks often have a ritual of inviting over friends or acquaintances just to show off new furniture or decor. For them, the home is not just their living space, but a kind of performance space for show.

Part of it may be that in a place like North America where there is so much land area, acreage alone doesn’t sufficiently demonstrate to others the amount of financial success a person has had. It became necessary to show off taste and opulence through furniture and fixtures.

Living in Tokyo has brought me to that realization.

In any case, it’s made me want to make it to a level where I can buy furniture from an interior design store in Aoyama.



しかし、最近NEW YORK TIMES誌の発行している、ライフスタイルマガジン『T JAPAN』の翻訳が増え、その中に家具やインテリアの分野の記事が多く、次第にこの分野にも興味を持つようになり始めました。








Photo : Cassina ixc. / カッシーナ・イクスシー青山本店提供

Cassina is an Italian furniture brand with over 90 years of history, known for its high-end designer furniture. It is synonymous with Italian industrial design.

It is especially known for its many collaborations with world-famous architects. The brand’s most iconic products include Le Corbusier’s LC2 armchair and LC4 chaise longue, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s Red and Blue Armchair and Zig-Zag Chair, and Charlotte Perriand’s Mexique Table, and many more.

The Aoyama flagship is located near Icho Namiki-dori (an avenue lined with gingko trees) and carries not only Cassina furniture but also products from Ixc., a relatively more affordable sub-brand selling both select and original products.

Photo : Cassina ixc. / カッシーナ・イクスシー青山本店提供





Cassina ixc. Aoyama shop
Unimat Bldg. 1-3F, 2-12-14 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 151-0063
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山2-12-14 ユニマット青山ビル1、2、3F
TEL : +81-03-5474-9001
Open 営業時間 11:00-19:00
Closed 定休日 : Wednesdays / 水曜日


Photo : ©RendezVous

This Danish interior design brand has over 65 years of history selling affordable luxury products. Danish design, and Scandinavian design as a whole, is about simplicity and functionality. One of the great things about BoConcept is that you can order customized furniture, choosing from a variety of shapes and sizes, materials and colors. One of the brand’s best-known designs is the Squilla Chair, which was inspired by the curve of a tennis ball. (Outside of Japan the Squilla Chair appears to be known as the Imola Chair.) When I think of famous Danish brands, I think of Lego (for me this is a relatively recent thing, as up until around college I was convinced Lego was an American brand). In that way I imagine BoConcept furniture pieces are building blocks—meant to be combined in a way that suits the space and the lifestyle in question.




代表作の「Squillaチェア」はテニス・ボールの曲線からアイディアを得たデザインだそうです。(ちなみに海外では「Imola Chair」と呼ばれているようです。)


BoConcept Aoyama flagship Store
ボーコンセプト 青山本店
2-31-8 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山2-31-8
TEL : +81-03-5452-1450
Open 営業時間
Weekday/平日 11:00-19:00
Sat, Sun and holiday 11:00-20:00
Closed 定休日 : Irregular 不定休


Photo : ©RendezVous

Hhstyle sells a range of designer furniture, including from the American maker Herman Miller, Vitola and USM Haller from Switzerland, and the Japanese maker Maruni Wood Industry.

The main attraction of the Aoyama flagship and showroom is the wall display, which features 100 chairs. It’s a design history exhibit that’s worth a visit in and of itself. In general the product displays arouse the imagination by mixing and matching products from various brands instead of displaying brands separately.

Side note, the “hh” stands for “hundred happenings”—in the hopes that the store becomes a place for many new encounters and discoveries, and that customers come not with one set of values, but a hundred different ways to look at a single product.

Come to think of it, BigBrother is always saying something similar—that if you want to deepen your understanding about a certain field or topic, you need to look at 100, or depending on the thing, 1,000 examples in order for something to click.




ちなみに店名の「HH」は hundred happenings から頭文字をとっていて、「数多くの出会いと発見の場にしたい、ひとつの価値観ではなく100の価値観でひとつの商品を見てほしい」という思いが込められているそうです。


NTT Aoyama Bldg. 2-7-15 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061
〒107-0061 東京都港区北青山 2-7-15 NTT青山ビル 1F
TEL : +81-03-5772-1112
Open 営業時間 12:00-19:30
Closed 定休日 : Irregular 不定休


Photo : ©Actus / アクタス提供

Actus is a pioneering Japanese company that was one of the first to import modern interior into Japan, primarily from Europe. The aesthetic is a simple and natural lifestyle. In addition to furniture, it also sells a variety of fashionable interior design items related to clothes, food, and housing.

Although it is mainly known for its imported furniture, the company has also put a lot of time and energy into the development of its original in-house brand.

The brand’s best sellers are sofas, specifically the 3350 Sofa, a leather sofa from Five by Five, and the Streamline Sofa, a fabric sofa from Danish brand Eilersen.

The greenery on display by the entrance features a great selection of houseplants, along with a good number of unusual varieties you won’t often come across, and related accessories like pots sure to compliment the furniture or other decor in your home.

Photo : Actus / アクタス提供




目玉商品はソファで、その中でも特に人気なのは、『ファイブ・バイ・ファイブ』のレザー・ソファ「3350 SOFA」、デンマークの有名ソファ・ブランド『アイラーセン』の布ソファ「STREAMLINE SOFA」だそうです。


Actus Aoyama / アクタス・青山店
2-12-28 1F Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061
〒107-0061 東京都港区北青山2-12-28 1F
TEL : +81-03-5771-3591
Open 営業時間: 11:00-20:00
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays / 不定休

■Lloyd’s Antiques

Photo : Lloyd’s Antiques / ロイズ・アンティークス提供

Visiting Lloyd’s Antiques’ Aoyama store is like visiting an art museum. The store is lined with antique furniture collected from across Europe—chiefly the U.K.

Inside the spacious store you’ll find furniture, fixtures, and zakka from a range of eras and styles. The Classic Line is comprised of British antiques; the Modern Line is overflowing with the warmth of Scandinavian design; the Contemporary Line is made up of edgy Italian designs; the Country Line is a collection of furniture from rural Europe.

Each of the pieces have been repaired by a craftsperson in Europe, and it feels as if they still retain a beating heart—whether that be tradition or the bonds of parent and child passed on over time.

Although the name of the store and the logo feel like some time-honored European institution, Lloyd’s Antiques is actually one of Japan’s most well-known interior design stores, having opened its first store in Tokyo in 1988.

At the time Japan had come out of its post-war economic boom and was well into its bubble economy period. The founder noticed that Japan was losing touch with its custom to take care of material things. He hoped that by importing antique culture from Europe, he could reignite that philosophy.


Photo : Lloyd’s Antiques / ロイズ・アンティークス提供





Lloyd’s Antiques/ロイズ・アンティークス
3-1-30 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-1-30
TEL : +81-(0)3-5413-3666
Open 営業時間 : 11:00-19:000
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays 不定休


Photo : ©RendezVous

Since relocating and revamping the brand in 2014, Cibone’s philosophy has been “New Antiques, New Classics”. It is a store and brand that proposes lifestyle through interior design.

The furniture is, of course, fantastic, but I would especially recommend the simple but gorgeous crafts, fixtures, tableware, and zakka—all intended to be a long-term investment. They even have beauty products, room fragrances, and baked sweets.

Just inside the Aoyama flagship’s entrance is a gallery space that holds a new exhibition every 1 to 2 months.


2014年の移転・リニューアル以降「New Antiques, New Classics」というコンセプトを掲げてきた、インテリアを通してライフスタイルを提案するショップ/ブランドです。



2F 2-27-25 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山2-27-25 ヒューリック南青山ビル 2F
TEL : +81-03-3475-8017
Open 営業時間 : 11:00-21:00
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays / 年中無休


Photo : Francfranc / フランフラン提供 (Nacasa & Partners Inc.)

Francfranc is a major Japanese interior design store with over 100 locations across Japan. It is all about “casual stylish” home furnishings.

Compared to the simple and economical designs of Muji and the Scandinavian style of Ikea, Francfranc is more about individualistic designs and decorative patterns. (They also have plenty of simple designs as well.) People who want to have a little bit of fun with their interiors will find high quality products at affordable prices.

It’s most popular products include aroma diffusers—which come in a variety of shapes—tableware, a Rabbit Rice Spoon, a table lamp shaped like a French bulldog, and more. There’s lots of cuteness to go around, and it’s no surprise that Francfranc is especially popular among women in their twenties and early thirties.

Photo : Francfranc / フランフラン提供


「A LIFE OF COLOR」をブランドスローガンとし、日本全国に100店舗以上を展開する日本の大手インテリア・ショップです。


・人気商品にはバリエーションが豊富なディフューザーや食器、うさぎ型の立つしゃもじ「ラビット ライススプーン」やフレンチブルドッグ型のテーブルランプなど、カワイイものが多く、特に20代〜30代の女性に人気のブランドです。

1-2F 3-1-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山3-1-3スプライン青山東急ビル1~2F
TEL : +81-03-5785-2111
Open 営業時間 11:00−21:00
Closed 定休日 : Irregular 不定休


Photo : ZARA HOME / ザラホーム提供

Zara Home is the home furnishing store run by the Spanish company Intidex, which is also behind the fast fashion brand Zara. The product lineup features stylish designs that pre-empt coming trends, and expensive-looking items are actually available at very affordable prices.

The brand carries mostly linens and other textiles for the bedroom and the dining room, as well as tableware, roomwear, items for kids, and various other zakka (miscellanea and curio). The most popular products are the bed sheets and bed covers, which come in a wide variety. If you’re ever in the mood to redecorate—try out something different—then this is your place.

There is an impressive variety of cushion covers, chest knobs, napkins, tablecloths, and more. For people who are always inviting friends over and hosting dinner parties, you should have no trouble finding a conversation piece for your home.

Photo : ZARA HOME / ザラホーム提供




クッション・カバーやチェスト用のノブ、ナプキンやディッシュクロスのバラエティも見事で、友達をよく部屋に呼んでディナー・パーティーをやるタイプの人は、英語で言うconversation piece (話の種となるアイテム)を入手できること間違いないでしょう。

ZARA HOME Aoyama/ザラホーム 青山店
Aoyama Rise Square 1F, 5-1-22 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山5-1-22 青山ライズスクエア 1F
TEL : +81-(0)3-6418-5171
Open 営業時間: Mon to Sat 月〜土10:30-21:00、Sun & holidays日・祝 10:30-20:00
Closed 定休日 : No fixed holidays 不定休

■Alessi Shop

Photo : ©RendezVous

Zara Home is the home furnishing store run by the same Spanish apparel manufacturer behind the fast fashion brand Zara. The product lineup features fresh designs that pre-empt coming trends, and expensive-looking items are actually available at very affordable prices.

The brand carries mostly linens and other textiles for the bedroom and the dining room, as well as tableware, roomwear, and various other zakka (miscellanea and curio). The most popular products are the bed sheets and bed covers, which come in a wide variety. If you’re ever in the mood to redecorate—with for something different—then this is your place.

There is an impressive variety of cushion covers, chest knobs, napkins, tablecloths, and more. For people who are always inviting friends over and hosting dinner parties, you should have no trouble finding a conversation piece for your home.






Alessi Shope/アレッシーショップ 青山店
3-2-5 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061
〒107-0061 東京都港区北青山3-2−5
TEL : +81-03-5770-3500
Open 営業時間
Mon - Sat and holiday/月〜土・祝 12:00-19:00
Sunday/日曜日 11:00−18:00
Closed 定休日 : Irregular 不定休


Photo : AREA / エリア提供

This high-end Japanese home furnishing brand operates two locations near Gaienmae Station.

It’s philosophy is that an interior space (or area) is made by the space itself and the pride that is poured into it. As such it doesn’t limit itself to trends—and it endeavors to create and provide ever-evolving interiors for the future.

The flagship Area Tokyo is located in Kita-Aoyama, and is filled with original furniture pieces made using only choice materials. And there are members of the staff who specialize in helping put together an entire selection of interior furnishings as well as custom furniture orders—they provide total design services and will help you plan out the interior of your home.

Area Original Furniture is a new store that opened in celebration of the brand’s 15th anniversary. It sells sofas, dining room furniture, and a large number of one-of-a-kind tabletops. Customers can choose their tabletop from a variety of sizes and designs and order a custom-made table. Someday I hope to order a table here myself—one that will last a lifetime.

Photo : AREA / エリア提供




北青山の旗艦店「AREA Tokyo」では選び抜かれた素材を使ったオリジナル家具が店頭に並んでいます。また、インテリア・コーディネートやオーダー家具を専門とするスタッフもいるので、インテリアのプラニングをサポートしてくれたり、空間のトータル・デザインも行なっています。


北青山の旗艦店「AREA Tokyo」では選び抜かれた素材を使ったオリジナル家具が店頭に並んでいます。また、インテリア・コーディネートを専門とするスタッフもいるので、インテリアのプラニングをサポートしてくれたり、空間のトータル・デザインまでも行なっています。

ブランド誕生15周年を記念して出店した「AREA Original Furniture」では、ソファやダイニング家具の他、豊富な一点モノのテーブル板の中から好きなサイズとデザインを選び、自分だけのテーブルをフルオーダーすることができます。僕もいつかここで一生モノのテーブルを作ってみたいと思います。

1F 2-10-28 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061
〒107-0061 東京都港区北青山2-10-28 1F
TEL : +81-(0)3-3479-5553
Open 営業時間 11:00−20:00
Closed 定休日 : No holidays (except year-end and New Year’s holidays) / なし(年末年始除く)
AREA Original Furniture/エリア オリジナルファニチャー
1F,2F 3-2-2 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061
〒107-0061 東京都港区北青山 3-2-2 1F・2F
TEL : +81-(0)3-6804-5073
Open 営業時間 11:00−20:00
Closed 定休日 : No holidays (except year-end and New Year’s holidays) / なし(年末年始除く)

Scarlet often comments on how affluent Japanese—specifically the nouveau riche—spend their money in questionable, crude ways when it comes to making purchases that require a degree of taste in design or creativity.

For example, when it comes to buying a car, most will buy the kind of German car that everybody knows in one of the low-grade colors usually offered for free (in most cases white).

She says that if you’re in the market for a German car, the unique qualities and characteristics of each manufacturer only really start manifesting themselves from the mid-grade models—5 million yen and up. So wanting to save money on the paint job is stingy, to say the least.

In other words, she says, those buyers don’t know much about cars, nor do they have taste in colors—they’re just looking to buy a white car from a famous manufacturer.

Naturally, having had little experience riding luxury cars, their home interiors are often museums dedicated to the cheap and gaudy.

My guess is that’s because strangers will see what kind of car you ride, but they will never see what the inside of your house looks like.

According to Scarlet, when it comes to choosing cars and interior design, taste is an extension of intelligence.

What kind of clothes is that person wearing? What kind of furniture and decor do they have at home? Scarlet maintains that these things are an expression of that person’s personality and intelligence.



現在のドイツ車で言えば、そのメーカーのいいところが出てくるのは、中位グレイド以上の車種ですし、500万円以上支払う車なのに、ペイント代を少しでも安くするというのは、どこかケチくさいと感じられるとのこと。 つまり、車のことはよく知らず、色に対するセンスもないので、とりあえず有名なメーカーの白い車を買っておくというのが実情なのでしょう。