Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills is a “futuristic micro-city” that was built in Roppongi (Tokyo) in 2003. The complex has more tha 800 apartments, Livedoor, Yahoo Japan, Lehman Brothers, Rakuten, Konami and Goldman Sachs offices, a cinema, a hotel, bars and luxurious restaurants, a museum, a TV studio, gardens, a gym, a shopping area etc. All you need to live compressed in various towers, the main one is the Mori Tower that has 54 floors. It seems a convenient place to live but living there would cost you an arm and a leg, 100 square meters rental it’s about 10.000$~20.000$. The construction of Roppongi Hills was a changer, it reactivated the financial activity in Roppongi and brought many business from Shinjuku (Businessweek article from 2002).

If you travel to Japan, here there is a map with the most interesting places to visit in Roppongi Hills.

Roppongi

Roppongi
More detailed maps here and here.

Blue circles are the best exits from Roppongi station if you want to go to Roppongi Hills. But you can also go to Roppongi using Oedo line and then take exit 7. If you love architecture you will love Roppongi Hills and you will spend a long time enjoying it, if not maybe just with one hour you will have enough to grasp the essence of the area. Add one extra hour if you go to up to the Tokyo City View and the Mori Art Museum

1.- The giant spider: is a sculpture made by Louise Bourgeois. I love the eggs detail.
2.- Muesum: on the top floor there is a panoramic city view and a museum. If it’s a clear day you will even be able to see Mount Fuji.
3.- Cinema: interesting if you are living in Tokyo. You can make reservations from the web or from your keitai.
4.- TV Asahi and Doreamon shop: next to the Mori Tower there is a huge TV studio owned by Asahi TV. Inside the building there is a shop full of Doreamon merchandising.
5.- Heartland bar: it’s a ‘classic’ bar. It’s a meeting point to have the first beer of the night. It’s located below Zara.
6.- Garden: is specially beautiful with night illumination.

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The Mori Tower is more than 200 meters tall, but the most impressing feature is how wide it is.

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roppongi roppongihills
The giant spider(Number 1 in the map)

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Below the spider.

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roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills
Map of the first floors. It’s really complex!

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roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills
Mori museum entrance (Number 2 in the map)

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roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills

roppongi roppongihills
Asahi TV studio and Tokyo Tower in the horizon (Number 4 in the map)

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Tokyo Tower taken from Roppongi Hills.

First impression

The first thing you see in Japan after Narita International Airport is:


Rice, rice and more rice!

I took this video from a Narita Express train, my favorite train (fast and comfortable) to travel from Narita to Tokyo. Other lines from the Airport to Tokyo are Keisei Skyliner a little bit cheaper, JR Sobu Line much slower and Keisei Limited Express that is the slowest and the cheapest one.

For lines from the airport, not bad. The problem is that Narita is very far away from Tokyo. Narita Express takes more than one hour, and is the fastest train. In the seventies they started to built a shinkansen (bullet train) from the airport to Tokyo but the project stop because there were some political problems… (Who knows). Good news is that right now there is a new line in construction called Narita Rapid Railway that will start to work around 2010 and will connect Narita Airport and Tokyo in 36 minutes.

One curiosity about Narita is that there is a “type” of divorce known as “Narita Divorce” (Narita rikon). “Narita rikon” is broadly used by people because it seems that many Japanese couples decide to divorce when they are back at Narita Airport after their honey moon travel. There is even a Japanese drama called “Narita rikon” that made the expression even more popular.