Experience, Future, Gourmet,

An architecture-lover’s night stroll at Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills

In Tokyo, most of the main shopping areas are located around the train stations of the Yamanote-line, which train tracks draw a big circle around central Tokyo. But there is one exception: Roppongi.

I already introduced Roppongi in some of my articles and videos before. Roppongi is a special place with an international atmosphere. When people all around the city crawl into their beds (or futons) Roppongi’s thriving nightlife just begins. Party people come together and have a great time in clubs, bars, and restaurants until the sun rises again.
Today I want to focus on something different: the interesting architecture you’ll find at Roppongi.

Tokyo Tower

From Roppongi Hills you have a great view!

After the sun went down, I headed to Roppongi. I love pictures of fabrics and industrial scenes at night. For some reason, I had the feeling that Roppongi Hills would also look great at night and so went there for a walk. I made the right decision!

When you finally get out of the deepest subway station of the Oedo-line in Tokyo, it is just a 5-minute walk down the road until you arrive at Roppongi Hills. From there, you climb a big stairway (or just use the hidden escalator on its right) to reach a huge platform.

Platform

I finally arrived! This is the huge platform that surrounds the “Mori Tower” skyscraper.

“Roppongi Hills”

The redevelopment of the old neighborhood Roppongi was the biggest project of such kind in Tokyo. It opened to the public in 2003. You can spend quite some time in this huge building complex with its 238 meters (781 ft) high signature tower – the Mori Tower – arising from its midst.

Mori Tower

The Mori Tower looks like a UFO that will fly away any moment… It’s a unique building that you’ll be able to recognize even from very far away.

Since the tower is located at a certain distance to other skyscrapers, you can see it from very far away at many locations in Tokyo. For me, the Mori Tower always seems like a big, rocket-like UFO that decided to land in central Tokyo. Doing some research on the design concept I found out that the tower, which was designed by the architect Kohn Pedersen Fox, is actually meant to resemble an origami Japanese helmet and armor.

Maman (sculpture)

I hope you aren’t afraid of spiders because you’ll meet this huge buddy at Roppongi Hills. It’s the “Maman” sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois

Roppongi Hills is a mixed-use development with tenants like Goldman Sachs, Google (with YouTube) in the main tower and TV Asahi in a glass building right next it. The complex has a Japanese garden, an arena for live concerts and events, and designer boutiques, restaurants, and a movie theater in the desert sand colored stone shell that surrounds the Mori Tower.

TV station

This is the headquarter of TV Asahi, a Japanese tv broadcasting channel. The building has been designed by the Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. On the left, you can get a glimpse of the Mori Japanese garden.

Exploring the maze

The platform and side buildings of the Mori Tower resemble a snail shell and – compared to the space-age feel of the tower – have a more organic touch to them. This is actually no surprise since a different company designed the outer buildings: the Jerde Partnership (Jon Jerde). Even tough the design consists of many straight, sharp lines you won’t find any straight paths. Even the height of the ceilings inside the malls seems to change.

Platform

The platform goes round Mori Tower

Mori Art

This is the entrance of the MORI ART MUSEUM and the “Tokyo City View” observatory. Both are located in the main tower but you can’t go directly into the tower. This is the only way in 🙂

Sweets

People lining up to buy sweets…

The outer layer of the snail shell is a huge (but kind of hidden) staircase. Paths wind slowly down to the garden and arena area, so if you don’t mind taking the stairs you’ll get the chance to explore the architecture from different angles.

Arena

View from above the arena. The glass dome is beautiful!

Arena 2

The arena seen from ground level. It has kind of a roof or screen so you won’t get wet if it rains. And: there is always some kind of event going on!

On your way down to the arena, you’ll find various restaurants on your way. There is something for everybody – there were even restaurants with vegan dishes (which is still a rarity here in Tokyo).

I decided to get a salad at “CRISP SALAD WORKS” where they offer 8 different types of chopped signature salads (with greens or grains) and custom salads with a variety of fresh dressings. Prices range from about 1000 to 1500 yen. Not too bad – since my salad was super yummy!!!

Salad

Fresh and healthy! I earned my sweet treat afterwards…right?

For dessert, I went up to the platform again where I’d discovered a stylish crepe restaurant with blue walls and blue velvet sofas. I ordered a berry crepe with frozen yogurt and I have to say that this was the best “Japanese style” (rolled like a cone) crepe I have ever eaten in Tokyo. I’ll definitely come again!

Crepe

Best Japanese crepe ever!

My night stroll around Roppongi Hills was a great success. Even if you don’t go to the movie theater, the observation deck or the Mori Art Museum (which you should do) the place is great fun and worth a visit.

 

Roppongi Hills

6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
From the Toei Subway, Oedo Line, Roppongi Station, Exit 3: 4-minute walk
From the Toei Subway, Oedo Line, Azabu Juban Station, Exit 7: 5-minute walk

CRISP SALAD WORKS

Hill Side 1 F close to the glass dome at Roppongi Hills

CAFE CREPE

Hill Side 2F (platform level) at Roppongi Hills


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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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