The strong scent of worked leather is immediate. You walk down the stairs into the shop, and are immediately struck by the multitude of leather bags arranged on the tables. There is a Classic-style influence to the store design, with a wonderful combination of wood and leather, as well as country music filling the room.
But the store’s most arresting feature is its unorthodox layout. The leather workshop of Herz Omotesando is open to the store. You can stop and watch the leatherworkers, cutting and sewing as they practice their craft. All the customers can see the production process for themselves and smell the leathery atmosphere. This link between the shop and the workshop, where the freshly finished leather products are then placed for sale, lends credibility to the items in the store.
Herz made a name for themselves as is a Japan-based upscale leather goods company that makes finely-crafted leather bags. Designer Kondo Akimasa founded Herz in 1973, naming the company after the German word for “heart” (herz), as he wanted to create “products with heart.” And there’s no doubt that Herz certainly puts a lot of passion and heart into their leather products.
Herz Omotesando has twenty leatherworkers, and each leather bag is handmade solely by one craftsman in the Tokyo store. This is a fundamental principle of Herz, as it ensures each bag has its own characteristics and qualities backed with the pride of the local craftsman who created the product.
There are no chief designers for Herz Omotesando. Herz encourages all of their craftsmen to create new products and bag designs. The working environment reflects the open environment of the store. Craftsmen brainstorm and come up with new innovative ideas. Due to this design-friendly approach, Herz currently offers over 600 bag designs, and new designs are always in development. By being located in the center of Tokyo, the craftsmen can absorb and reflect new trends as inspiration for their ever-evolving products.
Although expensive, it’s easy to see the value a customer gets for their money from a Herz Omotesando bag. Herz bags are strong and durable. The bags have a smart and casual look and are good for any occasion. Herz Omotesando also makes an exclusive randoseru (Japanese school bag) for students. All bags sold by Herz have an aftercare policy in which they may be brought back to the store (even decades after they were sold) to be repaired.
Herz always has a wide range of bags on display, and they can accommodate special orders. Some of the in-store staff can speak English, but ordering online is difficult. They do not support English on their online store, and there is no overseas shipping. With no division-of-labor system and an aversion to outsourcing production, the delivery times for built-to-order bags take 7-8 weeks. All of these factors make it difficult for short-term visitors and tourists to order a customized bag, but don’t worry! Herz Omotesando makes excellent products, and one of the handsomely-made bags on their tables will catch your eye. You won’t be disappointed when you visit them during your Tokyo trip!
Herz Omotesando Location Information
Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Omotesando Station (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)