Twenty years ago, any Tokyo local could tell you exactly what you could do during the day in Roppongi – nothing. Since the end of WW2, Roppongi had been a seedy area one had better avoid. It was the site of crime, home of occupation forces barracks, the turf of gangs of dancing teenagers, and round the clock haunt of hordes of partying ex-pats and soldiers on leave. It’s no longer the delipidated place it once was, let’s see what else there is to see in this area besides bars and clubs!
A New Roppongi
Things changed in 2003: Roppongi Hills became a fancy new city center and the arts take center stage. The complex is home to Louise Bourgeois’s giant alfresco spider sculpture, and the area is delightfully landscaped with trees that are illuminated at night. The Mori Garden is a gorgeous modern version of a Japanese garden and a welcome strip of greenery in this concrete jungle.
Piece de resistance is the Mori Art Museum, the world’s highest exhibition space, and the first major museum in Japan to hire a foreign director. It is a good guess that its soaring presence has helped persuade several of Tokyo’s best galleries to relocated to Complex, a five-story building down the hill that is now home to Ota Fine Art, Roentgenwerke, and the Hiromi Yoshii print and photographic gallery.
For those with a keen eye for modern art this part of the city has a lot of hidden treasures in the form of public outdoor art like sKape, roboroborobo, and Chair that Disappears in the Rain.
At night, the bar still fills with an international crowd that sticks around until the small hours of the morning, when the trains finally resume service.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour, including destinations like Roppongi. Experienced guides can help you make the most of your limited time in Tokyo and show you all the best this city has to offer, famous highlights as well as lesser-known, more local places. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!