Many people I talked to before I left for Tokyo told me how commercialized and uninspired the architecture is there. I actually found it to be exactly the opposite. Sure, there are places where all you can see are billions of lights blasting advertisements that typically involve angry animals, fire, and guitars, but there are some really amazing gems too. Here are some that I spotted while walking around.
The Prada building in Omotesando was my favorite, it was so clean and bubbly, I just wanted to touch it. Also, when you buy something there (which I didn't, hello weak dollar!), the sales associate will walk you to the door, present you with your bag and then bow to you until you are completely out of sight, which can take up to five minutes. The building was constructed in 2003 by Herzog and de Meuron.
Famed Japanese architect Toyo Ito is responsible for both the new Mikimoto store in Ginza (2006) as well as the Tod's building in Omotesando (2004). I really love his style.
I really liked the Brazilian fashion store Herchcovitch Alexandre in the lesser-traveled neighborhood of Daikanyama. It was designed by Brazilian architect Arthur Casas, and recently the facade was redone. First how it used to look, and below that is how I saw it (bad photo, I know).
And then there's the Imperial Hotel originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923. When I walked in I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be an international traveler in Asia in the 1920s. Incredible.
In 1968 they moved the facade and pool to another location and rebuilt the hotel almost completely. But, the design still preserved some original pieces and certainly paid tribute to Wright's vision.