Most foreigners visiting Tokyo will probably visit Roppongi at least once on their trip. If you are into bars and nightclubs, Roppongi is the place to be.
The opening of Roppongi Hills in the spring of 2003 has given a boost to the image of the area with many famous Japanese celebrities living in the expensive high rise apartment complexes. Many foreign banks have also opened an office there.
Roppongi literally means “six trees”, although the origin of the name is unclear. Roppongi was the residential feudal lords during the Edo period. Even today it remains an upmarket place to live with many embassies located in the area. The area was completely destroyed in World War Two, it was then rebuilt as an amusement area for foreigners as there were several military bases nearby, which were overtaken by the US military after the war.
A good reference point is Almond Cafe. It is on the corner of Roppongi-dori and Gaien Higashi (East) Dori. Take exit no. 3 from Roppongi station. Almond Cafe is one of the most popular meeting places to head out for a night on the town.
Most of the bars are located along Gaien-Higashi street. It is the road which heads towards Tokyo Tower from Roppongi station. Roppongi Hills is about 50 metres from Roppongi station on Roppongi-dori towards Shibuya. If you are in the station there are many signs which point you in the right direction.
The fairly recently developed Roppongi Hills has set a new tone for the future of all future developments in Tokyo. Roppongi Hills is not developed for budget travellers, but made for the bankers and office workers working in the Roppongi Hills office block. The nearby apartment blocks offer fantastic views offer fantastic views of Tokyo Tower, with rents starting at around $6000 a month.
Roppongi Hills has become a small financial enclave with several foreign banks moving office to the tower. Roppongi Hills is also home to the famous Japanese Internet company – Livedoor.
Most restaurants aren’t cheap, but most have a lunch special for around 1,000 yen. Roppongi Hills also has movie cinemas, an observatory, a museum, numerous luxury brand shops and the internationally acclaimed Grand Hyatt Hotel.
The Virgin cinema’s website in Roppongi Hills allows you to check available seats and make online bookings: www.tohotheater.jp. They are also one of the first cinemas to offer late night shows.
Roppongi Hills Website: www.roppongihills.com
How to get to Roppongi
Take a train to Roppongi station on the Hibiya line. Roppongi is just 2 stations from Ebisu station on the JR Yamanote line. Alternatively take a train on the Namboku line to Roppongi-Itchome station, which is a little bit more of a walk to the main action of Roppongi.
Featured image in this article by Ivano Rotondo CC 2.0