Tokyo Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The View from Roppongi Hills

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Built for a whopping four billion dollars, the mega-complex known as Roppongi Hills opened to the public in 2003. With museums, malls, theaters, parks, hotels, hundreds of stores and restaurants, along with some of the city’s most expensive apartments, Roppongi Hills would love to eat up several of your Tokyo days. We spent about an hour there.

 View Roppongi Hills
A view of the Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills

Until a construction tycoon named Minoru Mori decided to revitalize it with an ambitious development project, Roppongi had been a seedy neighborhood where young and/or shady people went to party and get blitzed. Actually, it still is. The first thing we saw here was an absolutely wasted woman attempting to climb into a cab. Sensing imminent disaster, we paused to watch. As if on cue, she stumbled and fell face-first onto the concrete curb. It looked awful, but she picked herself up without any visible damage, so we felt fine about laughing. This was at one in the afternoon, by the way.

It was a pratfall which set the tone for our visit to in Roppongi Hills. There’s something about the place we didn’t like. It’s too showy. Too fake. It’s both ritzy, and just below the surface, totally trashy. Roppongi Hills is a rich, drunk woman face-planting before getting into her cab.

With outdoor loudspeakers that blare late into the night, and a confusing maze of walkways which make navigation a nightmare, Roppongi Hills isn’t a favorite among its neighbors. Most horribly, a boy was crushed to death in the mall’s revolving doors because the safety sensors had been placed too high, and weren’t able to detect his presence. It was later revealed that the revolving doors had been a known safety risk, and had caused at least 32 accidents prior to the child’s death. This fact had been concealed from investigating authorities, and the ensuing scandal turned local opinion firmly against Roppongi Hills.

 View Roppongi Hills

So we were already antagonistic before arriving. We skipped past the high-end shopping opportunities, and marched straight toward the 54-story Mori Tower, through legs of a giant spider. Courtesy of French artist Louise Bourgeois, this outdoor sculpture looks neat, but its spindly, organic shape is completely out-of-place in sleek and angular Roppongi Hills. “Trying too hard,” I hissed at Jürgen. “And does her name have to literally be Bourgeois?”

Anyway, the 360° view from Mori Tower is renowned as one of the best in Tokyo. You can see the SkyTree in the north, the Landmark Tower way down south in Yokohama, and even Mount Fuji on a clear day. Usually, you can pay extra to go onto the outdoor helipad for an even higher view, but the wind was too strong during our visit. That was fine by me, because it allowed us more time to enjoy happy hour at the bar.

Apart from our visit to the tower, we paid short shrift to the rest of Roppongi Hills. The museum at the top of the Mori Tower looked interesting, but was overly expensive, and we didn’t have any desire to wander through the mall. But such indifference seems to be more an exception than a rule. Roppongi Hills has become a bonafide Tokyo tourist attraction, drawing 26 million visitors in its first six months, each of whom spend an average of $100. That’s impressive, and despite our own misgivings about the complex, it’s probably worth a look.

Location on our Map

Great Hotels In Tokyo

 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
 View Roppongi Hills
, , , , ,
June 29, 2014 at 11:18 am Comments (0)

Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

It’s best to take Sunshine City’s name at face value. And I don’t mean that it’s filled with sunshine, but that it’s truly a city of its own. This enormous complex spreads across four buildings, including the Sunshine 60, which became the tallest building in Asia upon its completion in 1978.

Sunshine City Tokyo

You could fly into Tokyo, take the metro to Ikebukuro, stay in the Sunshine City Prince Hotel, go shopping the in the Alpa mall, check out the Ancient Orient Museum, and entertain yourself at the Namja Town arcade. That’s a busy schedule, and you haven’t even left Sunshine City. In fact, you’ve barely scratched the surface of what this complex has to offer.

Over the next few days, you could shop in a second giant mall (the Alta), admire the view from the observation deck atop the Sunshine 60, check out the recently-refurbished aquarium, go to the planetarium, catch a show at the Sunshine Theater, play around at another arcade/theme-park called J-World, and choose your meals from around 90 restaurants. What a great vacation you’ve had in Sunshine City! (Next time you’ll have to check out this other city called Tokyo, which I’ve heard is okay, too.)

Jürgen and I experienced a mere fraction of Sunshine City’s attractions. After getting completely lost among the shops on the lower floors, we made our way to the World Import Mart Building, which hosts the two indoor theme parks, Namja Town and J-World. At the top of this building is the aquarium, and below that, a salon dedicated to Go, crowded with serious-looking guys bent over game boards.

We decided to entirely skip the Bunka Kaiken building, along with its Museum of the Ancient Orient, and instead wandered across the Rooftop Sunshine Plaza, on our way to the Sunshine 60. Here, one of the the world’s fastest elevators whisked us up to the top floor.

Considering the admission price, this isn’t among the better observation decks in Tokyo. It was crowded, and you’re not allowed close to the windows, except at a few points which are usually packed with people. But still, we enjoyed Sunshine City, another completely overwhelming place in the world’s most overwhelming city.

Location on our Map

Order Japanese Snacks From Here

Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
Sunshine City Tokyo
, , , , , , , ,
June 18, 2014 at 7:51 am Comments (0)
The View from Roppongi Hills Built for a whopping four billion dollars, the mega-complex known as Roppongi Hills opened to the public in 2003. With museums, malls, theaters, parks, hotels, hundreds of stores and restaurants, along with some of the city's most expensive apartments, Roppongi Hills would love to eat up several of your Tokyo days. We spent about an hour there.
For 91 Days