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Roppongi Travel Course

Exploring Roppongi

Popular with the Tokyo expat crowd and younger thrill-seekers and party-goers, the vibrant entertainment and shopping district of Roppongi is famous for its late-late nightlife and fabulous high-rise, all-purpose development of Roppongi Hills. Crammed with upscale shops, trendy restaurants, buzzing clubs and cool condos, the new complex has lent much-needed respectability to the former Yakuza-controlled area.

Roppongi, in the Minato-Ku district, is a great place to stay thanks to its luxury hotels and a huge choice of eateries. The Tokyo Metro network also gives fast access to everything this amazing city has to offer. A half-hour stroll will bring you to the Imperial Palace to the east, while the lively neon-lit Shibuya, with its massive department stores, sits to the west. Just down the road is the Tokyo Tower, the city’s answer to the Eiffel Tower, offering magnificent views over the whole of Tokyo from its viewing deck.

Sights nearby

Roppongi is best experienced out on the streets after 23:00, when the district is flooded with late-night partygoers heading to the bars and clubs. The mega-complex of Roppongi Hills is backed by another mixed-use development, Tokyo Midtown, giving even more choice of dining and entertainment. In complete contract, a wander through the narrow twisting backstreets off Roppongi Dori leads visitors through old residential areas, past local eateries and tiny shops.

Roppongi Dori (street)
The nighttime adventures begin at Roppongi Crossing, adjacent to Roppongi Metro station and close to several mid-range hotels. Ten minutes’ walk away (or one stop on the metro) in gentile Minami-Ku is the mid-range Hotel Asia Center of Japan, a little gem with excellent service and a favourite among expat drinkers. Roppongi Dori’s tall buildings are crammed with bars, clubs and eateries, and the street is Tokyo’s only late-late night party hub; the party starts here after midnight, only shutting down as the sun rises.

Roppongi Hills
The massive Roppongi Hills complex soars over the downtown end of Roppongi Dori. Its main Mori Tower is home to gardens, green spaces, endless designer boutiques and mid-range to fine dining restaurants, the Mori Art Museum and the Mori Arts Center Gallery. The Heartland bar, at the foot of the tower, is a great place to start the night, especially if you’re staying in the complex’s Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel.

Tokyo Midtown
The latest in a long line of huge mixed-use developments in Tokyo, Midtown beats Roppongi Hills in regards to height at least. The complex’s general ambience is also somehow more human than the concrete modernism of its rival. Expect acres of upscale shopping, dining and clubbing, along with the Fujifilm Photography Exhibition, the Suntory Museum of Art and the state-of-the-art Ritz-Carlton Hotel. A short walk away is the National Art Center, set in an undulating, wave-modelled, post-modern construction.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Roppongi offers an amazing selection of eateries and bars concentrated in a small, easy-to-explore area. Everything from international cuisines to a vast variety of Japanese culinary treats can be found here at price to suit all pockets. The bars serve every alcoholic drink you’ve ever heard of, and a few you haven’t, including innumerable varieties of the national drink, sake. Notables here are Tony Roma’s, the Roku Roku at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Kushinobo in Roppongi Hills. Mori Tower is the area’s main shopping hub, with its several floors of retail outlets.

Public transport

Getting in and out is fast and comparatively inexpensive by Tokyo standards, with the Roppongi Metro station at the area’s heart and Roppongi-Ichome and Nogizaka Metro stations a short walk away. Public buses run along Roppongi Dori until late at night, and metered taxis operate 24 hours. The district is just a short Metro journey from all of Tokyo’s sights, including its old heart of Asakusa, the famous shopping street of Ginza and the massive main railway station.

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