Roppongi literally means "six original trees" and the name is first traced back to the 1660's.
There is not an official record as to how this area got its name, but there used to be six large Zelkova
trees (like those in Omotesando) that marked the area. Following Japan's WWII surrender
in 1945, Roppongi became occupied by the U.S. Army and Allied government officials and became known for its nightlife.
By the 60's Roppongi evolved into an international playground of discos catering to celebrities, local
musicians and trendy partiers.
Today, Roppongi still has an active international night life and thanks to a civic development
project that built mega-future complex Roppongi Hills in 2002 and the artistic concept of buildings called Tokyo
Midtown in 2006, it's cooler than ever.
The Roppongi Hills development consists
of several buildings incorporating office space, apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés, movie theaters, a museum, a
hotel, a major TV studio (Asahi TV, yes Asahi...like the beer), an outdoor amphitheater, and a few parks. The style
of architecture embraces a futuristic vision and an aesthetic of wide open spaces that incorporates nature.
The centerpiece at Roppongi Hills
is the Mori Building, standing 54 stories tall. It's also marked by a spider statue (you can see it in the picture below,
just to the left of the door).
the Mori building on the 52nd floor, is a popular observation deck called Tokyo City View. Locals say it's
the best view of Tokyo, and you can get great pics of the city (especially at night).
With a joint ticket you can also go upstairs and visit
the Mori Art Museum that
showcases contemporary art in temporary exhibits
that usually last a few months. Unless you really can't stand looking at art, we recommend checking it out, because Japanese
contemporary art is usually fun and interesting - one art piece will sometimes take up the entire space of a room. Not
too deep, not too much to take in and then you can bring back pamphlets for your friends and they'll think you're sophisticated.
At the foot of Mori Tower is a giant spider statue and
we only mention it because it's a great photo opportunity but also, we wanted to warn our arachnophobic websurfers that
the big one exists.
The pic above shows a famous spider statue at the foot
of the Mori Building in Roppongi Hills.
Dori 六本木 けやき坂 通り
Located just behind the Mori Building is Roppongi's Keyakizaka
Dori, was designed as a mini version of Omotesando Dori with its luxury shops like Louis Vuitton (pictured below),
glamorous cafes and even the trees that line the street.
In fact "Keyakizaka
Dori" means "Zelkova Sloped Road" which point to Omotesando's most famous features, its Zelkova trees and its famous
sloped road. Click here to see what Omotesando has to offer as it's really something to
see, but this street is still worth the comparison and if you've run out of time or Omotesando just isn't on your to do list than this shopping street will still
On the other hand,
if you've been cursing the urban jungle and want a nice place to enjoy nature, please have a stroll through Mori Garden.
The gardens in
Roppongi Hills were planned from the beginning to bring peace to an otherwise weary Tokyo.
Christmas Illuminations クリスマス
During the winter holidays, Tokyoites enjoy a tradition called
"Tokyo Illumination" where companies decorate their office buildings, malls and sometimes parks with christmas lights.
Of note, the Japanese don't really celebrate Christmas with family tradition. They usually go out on a date (like we
might on New Year's Eve), check out the Illuminations and pick up a (pre-ordered) fancy Christmas cake to take home and eat.
Pictured below is the Mori Garden during Illumination at night.
In fact, Tokyo Illuminations are so popular they've made
appearances as scene backdrops for many television miniseries romances (called do-ramas). Which brings us to the dramatic
illuminations of Tokyo Midtown.
If "Christmas Illumination" was some sort of Olympic competition,
it would be really hard to beat "Tokyo Midtown". To see the Christmas presentation in Tokyo Midtown
from 2008, please check out the YouTube video below.
Midtown is Roppongi's latest futuristic development and it seems the architect was intent on fusing art, architecture,
nature and commerce into a unique enchanting experience.
is a view through a skylight in the Midtown shopping mall that reveals the Midtown skyscrapers and a tree above.
Everywhere you look there's another gorgeous photo, just waiting to be taken.
and works of art line the sidewalks.
There are restaurants
in nearly every building at Tokyo Midtown but the food court in the Plaza building is very popular among Tokyites
for casual dining as it offers all kinds of food from around the world.
Thanks to the canopy at the plaza, you can choose your lunch from many inexpensive (but great) restaurants
and enjoy an "outdoor" cafe experience even when it's raining.
If you're more interested in fine dining and a real outdoor cafe experience, then make your
way over to the Garden Terrace for beautiful views of the gardens, a really nice meal and what the heck...you've been
walking around this place for awhile...go ahead and have a glass of wine or beer out on the terrace.
For more information on the restaurants offering terrace
seating, please click on the picture above to link to the official site. Once there you can choose "Advanced Search
Restaurants and Food" then click the box next to "terrace seating" to see the restaurants that make that available.
There - Roppongi
中野 - Take the Chuo 中央 line or Chuo-Sobu 中央総武 line to Shinjuku新宿 and
follow signs to the Toei Oedo 大江戸
Line and take that to Roppongi 六本木.
Time: 22 minutes
From Shinjuku 新宿 - Take the Toei Oedo 大江戸 Line
to Roppongi 六本木.