There are new retail openings all around Tokyo, but few look more impressive than the new Apple store opening today in Omotesando.
With two stories of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, an aluminum roof, a central spiral staircase, and a “green curtain” doubling as an eco-friendly wall to cool the building, the Omotesando location certainly surpasses its predecessors in Tokyo (Ginza and Shibuya). The new space, with one floor at ground level and one below, resembles the “Stanford 2” store in Northern California, except with a lot more floor space and much higher ceilings. We like the looks of that spiral staircase, too…
The Omotesando store opening marks the first new store for Apple in Japan since 2006, the first in Tokyo since late 2005, and the eighth retail location in the country. The company has had a strong presence in Japan since 2003, when Apple opened its first ever international store in Ginza. Steve Jobs was on hand for that opening, while newly appointed retail chief Angela Ahrendts helped open this store. The iPhone has gone from being a rarity to one of the more ubiquitous tech products in Japan, and given the Japanese penchant for intense phone customization, colorful ones at that.
The strongest growing market for the company can be found here, and after Japan’s largest carrier, DoCoMo, started carrying the iPhone last year, rivals au and SoftBank set up rivaling campaigns to draw in potential customers. Apple commands 36.6 percent market share in Japan, and currently 1 in every 3 smartphones are iPhones.
Apple watchers have long been speculating about the opening of the new location, which had been covered in scaffolding until very recently, and more recently, a light frontage wall with a green leaf design. Check out the one-minute sneak peak Apple released on YouTube, as the company opens its doors today.