From High-End to High-Balls
Fancy clubs, great pubs, restaurants galore, high-end shopping and extraordinary art. What do all these things have in common? You can find each of them in Roppongi, en masse.
Located in the Minato City Ward, Roppongi is easily accessible via Hibiya or Toei Oedo line on the Tokyo Metro. Most famous for its reputation as the nightlife district, Roppongi has much to offer day-time visitors as well.
Roppongi Hills is a lovely area to start your exploration. Grab a cup of coffee area and take a stroll through the beautiful Mohri Gardens behind the Mori building. An oasis of tranquility amongst the high rises is the perfect slow start to a relaxing day. Head across the street and indulge in some real, or window-shopping at high-end stores such as Escada, Tiffany’s and Louis Vuitton.
While wandering the area you may notice an amphitheater styled structure; this is the Roppongi Hills Arena. Concerts, exhibitions and even beer gardens are commonly held here. The area surrounding the arena will fill with food stalls and people on most event nights giving rise to an intoxicating atmosphere of excitement.
The arena is located behind the 54-story Mori Building. With it’s iconic M proudly poised against the skyline, the Mori building is also home to many stores, coffee shops, cinemas and restaurants as well as the Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo City View observation deck with an incredible view. Evening is the best time to enjoy the deck as the lights on Tokyo Tower and across the city look particularly stunning. Tickets for the viewing deck can be purchased in conjunction with the art museum ticket for 1500 yen.
If you’re a bit more interested in the arts - continue your tour of beautiful things and head over to the National Art Center, Tokyo for a bit of cultural indulgence. Located slightly north of Roppongi Hills, you can access the center via the metro on either the Chiyoda line, which directly connects at exit 6 from Nogizaka Station, or on the Hybia and Toei Oedo lines at Roppongi Station with a short walk. The Arts Center does not keep a permanent collection and instead hosts several varying exhibitions at a time. The entry prices vary per exhibition.
Head to the Suntory Art Museum to complete the Roppongi “Art Triangle.” This museum is conveniently located on the top level of Tokyo Midtown, which is another great stop. Full of beautiful shops and a few seriously gorgeous (and yummy) chocolate and cake cafes, this is a lovely place to relax for an afternoon and easy your way into a night on the town. You can also take a cooking class and learn to make delicous treats for yourself!
Midtown regularly holds events throughout the facilities including the park area out the back. If you are traveling in winter you may even be lucky enough to find the park morphed into an ice rink complete with hot chocolate stands on the sides. Other events may include indoor art installations and presentations in the main foyer area on the ground floor.
Another fun and rather offbeat sight to see is the nearby pet shop. Perhaps not what you first think of visiting when you go on holiday but it can be nonetheless entertaining. Heading back towards Roppongi Dori, you will find a window full of puppies and kittens and quite regularly there are also some more unique pets such as tiny monkeys, meerkats or even prairie dogs for your viewing pleasure.
Near the pet shop and continuing back to the central Roppongi area is the beginning of the infamous Roppongi club scene. Several which are exotically themed and eye catching can be easily found and are a great place to enjoy the evening’s first cocktail. As your tour progresses into night Vanity, Muse and Wall Street are all places to put on the visit list. Be mindful of entry charges, which can get fairly steep, however also typically include a free drink and are less expensive for the ladies.
24 hours in this diverse little district can give you a lifetime of experiences and unique stories to take home with you. From amazing art exhibitions, fantastic shopping or just a fabulous night on the town, Roppongi has a little something for everyone and won’t disappoint.