Translated byLester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
Home to bars and clubs, trendsetting shops, art museums, national embassies and the headquarters of major companies, the Roppongi district has many faces. This article will tell you how to get there, what to see and how to enjoy Roppongi!
The internationally-known area of Roppongi is many things to many people: a popular bar and clubbing hotspot, a launching point for Tokyo trends, an art quarter with plentiful museums, and a business district where numerous embassies and well-known corporations are based. Once thought of as a playground for VIPs and celebrities, Roppongi has become a culture capital where all sorts of people come together, thanks to the launch of the Oedo subway line and the construction of the Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown complexes.
Close to Shibuya and Shinjuku and only a short walk away from many fascinating spots, Roppongi is the perfect place to go sightseeing. We put together a guide listing what you should know to enjoy Roppongi.
A miniature city-like complex that opened its doors in 2003, Roppongi Hills was conceptualized as “a neighborhood where everyone joins together.” In addition to office space and residences, Roppongi Hills features more than 200 restaurants and shops, the Grand Hyatt Tokyo hotel, a Toho Cinemas movie theater equipped with the latest technology, the Mori Art Museum, and the Mori Arts Center Gallery art installation. Roppongi Hills is truly an area landmark.
Address: Tokyo, Minato ward, Roppongi 6-10-1
Located on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower, the Tokyo City View Lounge is an indoor viewing platform 250 meters above sea level. The lounge affords visitors a sweeping view of Tokyo Tower and the Tokyo Skytree, and if weather permits, you can even glimpse Mt. Fuji! When lit up at night, the city looks so beautiful it might as well be a painting. You can have a relaxing time at the cafes and restaurants, and enjoy the special viewing events and exhibitions held at the “Sky Gallery.” The lounge is open until 11 PM, which is great for people who want to cap off their busy day by taking a break high above the metropolis.
The “Sky Deck” is the rooftop platform 270 meters above sea level. Feel the wind on your face and become one with the open sky, even in the heart of the city.
The Mori Art Museum is the highest art museum in Japan, situated on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower. The museum holds high-quality exhibitions throughout the year, which primarily focus on modern art pieces. It’s open from 10 AM to 10 PM (until 5 PM on Tuesdays), which gives art appreciators the chance to visit after dinner. For more information, check out our Three Museums You Can Walk to From Roppongi Station article.
Visitors can feel the turning of the seasons at this magnificent 4300 m2 Japanese garden inside Roppongi Hills, filled with cherry blossoms, gingko trees and other flora centered around the garden’s pond. The garden was named after Tsunamoto Mori, a feudal lord of the Edo period, who kept an estate on this land. For more information, check out our Five Sakura Viewing Spots in the Tokyo Area article.
Keyakizaka is a 400 meter long avenue in Roppongi Hills lined with high-class boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Drive through Keyakizaka and you’ll see Tokyo Tower, right in the center of your field of vision. Famous for its beautiful Christmas lights, visitors to Keyakizaka can also see the illuminated Tokyo Tower and listen to splendid recital contests. For more information, check out our Radiant Tokyo: 5 Great Places To See The Winter Lights article.
Tokyo Midtown is a large-scale commercial complex directly connected to Roppongi Station on the Hibiya and Oedo lines. Filled with every sort of store, from concept shops by famous brands to Uniqlo, Tokyo Midtown has art museums, restaurants, supermarkets, delis and bakeries. Grab something to go, and enjoy your snack in the park. For more information, check out our Shop For Everything You’ve Ever Wanted At Roppongi’s Tokyo Midtown article.
Address: Tokyo, Minato ward, Akasaka 9-7-1
This garden faces out onto the Galleria, the main shopping street of Tokyo Midtown. Enjoy gazing at the lush greenery during your meal at any of the fine restaurants in the surrounding area. The garden is also popular for its seasonal events, light displays and winter ice skating rink.
The Suntory Museum of Art has approximately three thousand art pieces in its collection, including national treasures and important cultural properties. The museum is currently holding an exhibition focusing on Japanese art, themed around the concept of “the beauty in life.” The space, designed by the architect Kengo Kuma, utilizes wood and Japanese paper everywhere. At the attached “shop×cafe” visitors can buy museum souvenirs and small Japanese accessories. You can also try bento boxes and Japanese snacks from Fumuroya, which specializes in wheat-gluten products. For more information, check out our Three Museums You Can Walk to From Roppongi Station article.
At 21_21 Design Sight, which is centered on temporary exhibitions, you can come in contact with all sorts of designs, developed through talks and workshops from three of Japan’s prized designers: Issey Miyake, Taku Sato and Naoto Fukasawa. The building structure, which looks like it could melt into the surrounding gardens, was planned by Tadao Ando. For more information, check out our 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Roppongi - Enrich Your Daily Life Through Design article.
The National Art Center of Tokyo opened in 2007 next to Tokyo Midtown, Japan’s fifth national art museum. Without permanent collections of its own, the center hosts exhibitions from major artists, solicits pieces from the public, and works to educate people about art. The building has library rooms with documents about the arts, as well as a connected cafe and restaurant. The glass facade of the building was designed by Kisho Kurokawa, and the interior is filled with international art masterpieces on loan. Enjoy looking at them as much as you like. For more information, check out our Three Museums You Can Walk to From Roppongi Station article.
Opened in April 2016, the Snoopy Museum is the world’s first offshoot of the Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. The museum exhibits galleries created by the father of Snoopy, Charles Schultz, and also has a shop with original Snoopy merchandise and an open-air cafe. For more information, check out our Snoopy Museum: A Happy Spot in Roppongi, Tōkyō article.
It’s best to head to Roppongi by subway or bus. Here’s a guide if you’re going to Roppongi via a major station.
a. Oedo Line Route
[Shibuya Station] (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, bound for Asakusa)→[Aoyama 1-Chome Station](Toei Oedo Line, bound for Roppongi and Daimon)→[Roppongi Station]
You need to switch from the Ginza Line to the Oedo Line at Aoyama 1-Chome Station on this 10-minute route, which costs 269 yen.
b. Hibiya Line Route
[Shibuya Station] (JR Yamanote Inner Loop Line, bound for Shinagawa and Tokyo)→[Ebisu Station] (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, bound for Kita-Senju)→[Roppongi Station]
You need to switch from the Yamanote Line to the Hibiya Line at Ebisu Station on this 13-minute route, which costs 298 yen.
[Shibuya Station] (City Bus  bound for Shimbashi Station-mae, boarding spot #51)→[Roppongi Station-mae]
Shibuya Station] (City Bus  bound for Akasaka Ark Hills, boarding spot #51)→[Roppongi Station-mae]
[Shibuya Station] (City Bus  bound for Shimbashi Station-mae, boarding spot #59)→[Roppongi Station-mae]
Roppongi-bound buses leave from Shibuya Station. The ride takes 15 to 20 minutes and costs 210 yen. Going by bus is convenient, since you don’t have to transfer.
[Shinjuku Station] (Toei Oedo Line, bound for Roppongi and Daimon)→[Roppongi Station]
It’s a direct shot from Shinjuku Station to Roppongi Station on the Toei Oedo Line. The ride is 10 minutes long and costs 216 yen.
[Tokyo Station] (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, bound for Ogikubo)→[Kasumigaseki Station](Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, bound for Naka-Meguro)→[Roppongi Station]
At Kasumigaseki Station, switch from the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. The trip is 11 minutes and costs 165 yen.
[Ueno Station] (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, bound for Naka-Meguro)→[Roppongi Station]
It’s a direct shot from Ueno Station to Roppongi Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. The ride is 25 minutes long and costs 195 yen.