arts & crafts
Roppongi is hell to some, heaven to others. The home of embassies, foreign companies and Japan’s largest urban redevelopment centers, Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, “High-Touch Town” is an international district known for business by day, nonstop entertainment by night. Here you can eat at some of Tokyo’s finest Indian, Thai, fusion and other world restaurants—or grab a kebab off the street. After that, there are more decisions—pints of Guinness or shots of tequila? Salsa or techno dancing? Hostess club or....?
Opened 25 years ago by Chicago native John Adair, this three-story house is stacked to the rafters with high-quality unrestored Japanese antiques. 7-7-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3479-1552. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. http://kurofuneantiques.com
Mitsui’s answer to Mori’s Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Midtown is a glittering multi-use behemoth housing offices, residences, shops, restaurants, a 24-hour grocery store, a hospital, two art galleries and The Ritz-Carlton up top. 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3475-3141. Open daily 11am-9pm. www.tokyo-midtown.com
This labyrinthine shopping zone hosts big-in-Japan brands like Louis Vuitton and a host of small boutiques. Apart from shopping, the Virgin Toho cinema complex is popular with expats, while the Mori Art Museum has become one of the city’s most influential galleries. 6-10-1 Roppongi. Tel: 03-6406-6000. www.roppongihills.com. Info center open daily 10am-9pm.
|Bali Relax 24
In the middle of the madness of Roppongi exists a quite refuge for the stressed-out tourist or businessperson alike. Bali Relax 24 offers body-care courses ranging from 20 minutes (¥2,100) to two hours (¥12,600), as well as foot massages from ¥3,150. Stop by after a big night or on the way to work between 6-10am for the early bird special, and get an hour of relaxing bliss for just ¥4,730.
1F Rokuei Bldg, 7-14-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3796-2411. Open daily 24 hours. www.balirelax24.jp
This upscale lounge/bar by renowned designer Takashi Sugimoto offers nouveau Japanese cuisine in a traditional setting. B1 House 5302, 5-16-47 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3583-2611. Open daily 6-11:30pm (restaurant), 6pm-2am (bar). ¥¥¥
This vibrant ramen restaurant has branches across the city. No English menu, but try tonkotsu kohmen zenbu no se, or pork-soup ramen with the works. 7-14-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6406-4565. Open daily 11pm-6am. ¥
A favorite among visiting expats with expense accounts, this robatayaki spot is a Roppongi institution. Enjoy fresh-grilled seafood and vegetables, premium sake and a festive atmosphere, but try not to look surprised when the bill comes. 4-10-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3405-9866. Open daily 5-11pm. ¥¥¥¥
Elegant Nishi-Azabu restaurant serving shabu-shabu that is fun to cook and satisfying to eat. Try it with 18 varieties of salt that can be mixed and matched to taste. 2F Next Forum, 3-13-3 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5771-0141. Mon-Thurs 5:30pm-4:30am; Sun & hols 5:30pm-midnight. Reservations start from 1pm www.kougetsu-tokyo.com ¥¥
A Roppongi mainstay since 1961, Seryna serves all manner of Japanese beef dishes, from shabu-shabu to charbroiled steak. Surrounded by a rock garden, Seryna also serves kaiseki and seasonal cuisine. 3-12-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3402-1051. Open Mon-Sat noon-11:30pm, Sun & hols noon-10:30pm. ¥¥¥
The vegetables used at this Japanese restaurant are carefully selected and prepared so that their natural flavors are enhanced to the fullest, and there is also a large selection of fine meat and fish dishes and many types of shochu. Book the chef’s table for the full dining experience. Kishida Bldg, 7-18-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5775-5335. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-4am. Credit cards accepted. www.vegedinning.com ¥¥
Housed in a huge reconstructed treasure house, this top-quailty tourist trap serves traditional food and regional sake. Otherwise known as “The Kill Bill restaurant” or “the place where George W. Bush ate.” 1-13-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5771-0170. Open daily 11:30am-5am. www.gonpachi.jp ¥¥¥
Calling itself “The House of History,” Jidaiya prides itself on traditional Japanese cuisine amid Edo Period décor. The door is alarmingly small. 7-15-17 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3403-3563. Open Tues-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-4am; Sat 5pm-4am Sun and Mon 5pm-11pm. ¥
The first Japanese branch of Shanghai’s famous Nanxiang steamed bun dim sum restaurant. 1F Hillside, Roppongi Hills, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5413-9581. Open daily 11am-11:30pm (L.O. 10:30pm). ¥
Working in association with some famous dining spots in Korea, Hann brings authentic Korean cuisine to the heart of Tokyo. All chefs have been trained in Korea and the chic modern interior and imported chinaware all add to the experience. 2F Hotel Ibis, 7-14-4 Roppongi. Tel: 03-5411-2971. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-2am; Sat 5:30pm-2am; Sun & hols 5:30pm-11pm. (L.O. 1 hour before closing) www.hann.jp ¥¥
This Thai restaurant atop the Roi Building is known as much for its view as it is for its tasty curries presented in earthenware jugs. 13F Roi Bldg, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3404-5741. Open Mon-Fri 5:30-11:30pm, Sat-Sun & hols 5pm-11:30pm. ¥¥
Hard Rock Café
You can’t miss the Hard Rock Café Tokyo, with the huge King Kong hanging off the roof. Stocked with enough memorabilia to fill a sumo
hall, both floors of the restaurant groove to the sounds
of rock all day long. The
meals are as satisfying as
ever, making it a top spot
for tasty American burgers
with fries and other classic dishes. Also check out the branch in Ueno. 5-4-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel:03-3408-7018. Open Sun-Thurs, hols 11:30am-2am, Fri-Sat 11:30am-4am. ¥¥
Bringing the feel of a high-end US steakhouse to Tokyo, Porterhouse also has mouthwatering seafood including oysters, clams and lobster. 1F Faro Nishi-Azabu, 1-15-4 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5771-5322 (English). Open Mon-Sat 6pm-midnight. www.porterhouse.jp ¥¥¥
Modern American brasserie with top-notch cuisine in a comfortable setting, with friendly international staff and
a terrace. 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku.
Tel: 03-5785-3671. Open for breakfast
Sun 11am-3pm; lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm, Sat 11am-5pm; café Sun-Fri 3-6pm; dinner daily 6-11pm (Sun 10pm). www.roti.jp ¥¥
A hit since opening in early 2007, this comfort-food restaurant serves up hearty American fare in a stylish atmosphere. The terrace, just past the main Roppongi strip, affords an excellent people watching opportunity. 3-1-5 Azabudai, Minato-ku.
Tel: 03-3505-4490. Open daily 11am-4pm, 6pm-midnight (L.O. 10pm), brunch Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. Menu in English and Japanese. http://sujis.net/japan. ¥¥
America’s best-known rib restaurant has several branches in Tokyo. Top-notch quality ribs from meat delivered specially from the US are grilled on a charcoal fire just as you’d find back home. We recommend ditching your knife and fork and digging in with your bare hands. Also enjoy their great appetizers, including spinach avocado dip and onion loaf. (Other branches in Aoyama, Akasaka and Hanzomon.) 5-4-20 Roppongi. Tel: 03-3408-2478. Open Mon-Fri, 5-10:30pm (L.O.) Sat, Sun, Hols noon-10.30pm (L.O.). Nearest stn: Roppongi. ¥¥
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Inspired by sushi bars, this latest creation by über-chef Joel Robuchon features an open kitchen where Michelin-worthy French food is created. 2F Roppongi Hills Hillside, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku.
Tel: 03-5772-7500. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm (L.O. 2pm), 6-11pm (L.O. 9:30pm). Tea time 2:30-4pm. ¥¥¥
Fine French fare with a touch of
Japanese inspiration. Simply cooked meats, exquisite desserts and a selection of reasonably priced wines. 4-5-8, 1F
Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5466-
8607. Open Tue-Fri 6pm-2am (L.O. 1.30am), Sat, Sun 5.30pm–midnight (L.O. 11.30pm). ¥¥¥
A Tex-Mex sanctuary in the heart of
Roppongi offering all the favorites. Perfect for fueling up before a night on the town. 2F Hanatsubaki Bldg, 3-15-23 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3475-4412. Open daily 5pm-1am. ¥
Absolut Icebar Tokyo
The thermostat at the Swedish vodka company’s Tokyo bar, made entirely of ice, is set permanently at -5ºC. Patrons are limited to 45-minute visits and reservations are accepted online.
4-2-4 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5464-2161. Sun-Thurs 6pm-midnight,
Fri-Sat 6pm-2:15am. www.icebartokyo.com
Want tequila? Agave carries over 400 kinds, served up in a low-lit, comfortable setting. B1 Clover Bldg, 7-15-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3497-0229. Open Mon-Thu 6:30pm-2am, Fri-Sat 6:30pm-4am.
Just like the movie of the same name, this bar is sleek and forceful with its metallic interior and thumping DJ sets featuring a mix of reggae, rock, trance, hip-hop and R&B. Happy hour is from
6-10pm and the draft beer and wide selection of cocktails flow all night long. B1 Wind Roppongi Bldg, 3-13-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel:
03-3405-1066. Open daily
This long-running bar serves Bitburger
and pretzels, and a variety of German beers. 2F Pure Bldg, 5-18-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5563-9232. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-2am. (L.O. 11pm)
|The Gallery Roppongi
The sister branch of NewLex Edo is a luxurious restaurant, bar and lounge with a twist: an on-site art gallery. Now you can mingle with Tokyo's finest while checking out work by up-and-coming artists and photographers. B1, 1-1-1 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. 03-5771-4447. Open Tue-Sun 8pm-5am, closed Mon. Nearest stn: Roppongi. www.gallery-roppongi.com
This British bar near Nishi-Azabu Crossing offers a good selection of beverages and better-than-average pub fare prepared by the talented chef. Daily happy hour from 6-8pm offers all drinks for ¥500, while soccer and rugby games are shown on TV. 205 Azabu-Empire Mansion, 4-11-28 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3499-6366. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-5am, closed Sun. www.grailbar.com
Museum Café and Bar
Entrance to this stylish bar atop the Mori Tower comes free with admission to the Mori Art Museum and Tokyo City View. 50F Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6406-6652. Open daily 11am-11pm (10:30pm L.O.). www.tokyocityview.com
Enter the turnstiles of this standing bar modeled on a London tube station, plop down your ¥500 and drink up. Piccadilly Underground is a reliable place for cheap drinks in Tokyo’s leading nightlife district. 3-15-15 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6662-5944. Open Mon-Wed 5:30pm-1:30am, Thu-Sat 6pm-4am, closed Sun. www.tokyounderground.jp
A key stop on most big Roppongi nights out. It’s usually busy even early in the evening, with happy hour from 6-9pm (7-9pm on Saturdays). 2F Yua Roppongi Bldg, 3-14-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3423-0988. Open Mon-Fri 6pm-late, Sat 7pm-late.
Quest brings you the best from Down Under, including a fine selection of Aussie lagers including VB, Crown Lager and Coopers, all the usual cocktails and even classic meat pies. A big-screen TV and a wide range of music played by DJs provide ongoing entertainment. You can also kick back Australian-style along the U-shaped bar and watch the photogenic bartenders hard at work. 3F Rene No.2 Bldg, 5-3-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5414-2225. Open daily 7pm-late.
The First Bar
This elegant Roppongi bar and lounge is the perfect place to party in Tokyo, with drink specials that are especially popular with women. On Thursday nights, ladies get their first drink on the house until 11pm, and on Fridays, everyone gets their first drink for only ¥500 until 11pm. On Saturdays, all female guests receive free shots all night. The First Bar also offers karaoke, darts and free billiards. Other special events include Bollywood Night on Wednesday and Brazilian music and dancing every Sunday. B1F Roi Bldg, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku.
Tel: 03-5474-5547. Open Sun-Thu 6pm-5am, Fri-Sat 6pm-6am. www.thefirstbar.com
Wall Street Bar 1 & 2
With a central location near Roppongi station and over 200 varieties of drinks on offer at reasonable prices, Wall Street Bar is a popular spot in one of Tokyo’s most exciting neighborhoods. Wall Street Bar features all-night partying with world-class bartenders and an in-house DJ spinning a variety of genres. Wall Street Bar 1, Marina bldg 3F, 3-15-5 Roppongi. Tel: 03-3478-7659. Sun-Thu 6pm-6am, Fri & Sat 6pm-7am. Wall Street 2, 1F Hanatsubaki Bldg, 3-15-23 Roppongi. Tel: 03-5785-2705. Sun-Thu 6pm-5am. Fri-Sat 6pm-6am. www.wallstreetbar.jp
Wall Street House
Enjoy a special night out in one of Roppongi’s little-known hotspots. Wall Street House offers a luxurious atmosphere and boasts the biggest bar in Roppongi, with sofa space for more than 50 people, a large-screen TV, and even a fireplace. Watch sports or enjoy the live DJ every night from 9pm. A large selection of all-you-can-drink deals start from ¥3,500; beers (draft: 7 types, bottle 12 types), cocktails and shots are available from ¥800. B2 Imperial Roppongi Bldg. Tel: 03-3586-0874. Open daily 6pm-8am. www.wstokyo.com
Don’t miss an unforgettable night at Kaguwa, where you can feast on fine Japanese food and liquor while enjoying an elaborate stage show. The interior is shaped like a theater, with Japanese-style tables instead of rows of seats. The spectacular shows combing Meiji-era themes with modern twists, including dancing, upbeat music, and even flying performers. Admission is ¥3,500 and there is a 20 percent service charge. Showtimes 7:30 & 10:30pm (Fri-Sat also 1:30am). 5-4-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5414-8818. Open Sun-Thu 6pm-1am, Fri-Sat 6pm-4am, closed Mon. www.kaguwa.com
Five-floor entertainment complex combining several dancefloors and an elegant lounge Entrance charges may apply. 7-13-7 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5775-2949. Restaurant open daily from 5pm, bars and clubs from 8pm. www.grace-roppongi.com
An unbeatable location on the main Roppongi drag and an eclectic lineup of events make this nightclub an attractive option for late-night partying. The weekend admission of ¥2,500-¥3,500 includes 2 drinks. Roi Bldg 2F, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5785-1761. Open Wed-Sat 7pm-late. www.roppongi-flower.jp
A must-stop spot for visiting models, celebs, and jetsetters, this Roppongi institution (formerly known as Lexington Queen) has reopened as a bar/restaurant/lounge space. The difference is only in the name: expect the same classic ambience and exciting crowd that made the club famous all over the world. B1 Third Goto Building, 3-13-14 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3479-7477. Nearest stn: Roppongi. www.newlex-edo.com
This underground haven for singles is divided into areas for dancing, lounging, darts, billiards—and even ping-pong. On weekends ladies get in free, and guys pay
a few thousand yen for entry, which includes a few drinks. B1F 4-1-1 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5467-1188.
This creative enclave is a bar/club/restaurant/gallery/live house—anything you want it to be. Look out for the monthly PechaKucha nights, when young artists and designers get to show off their work. B1, 3-1-25 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5412-0515. Hours vary. www.super-deluxe.com
This underground club is a gallery by day, and intimate local jazz venue by night. Great food, stiff drinks and affordable prices keep customers coming back. B1 Harrington Garden, 7-7-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3401-5077. Open Tue-Sun 6pm-midnight (first stage 7:30pm, second stage 10pm), closed Mon. Music charge: ¥1,000 (Tue-Wed), ¥2,000 (Thu-Sun). www.cooltrain.jp/en
This is no ordinary karaoke box complex. Each themed room is exotically appointed and one even has a bath. 3/4F Hotel Ibis, 7-14-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5771-5511. Open Mon-Thu & Sat, 6pm-5am; Fri 6pm-7am; Sun 6-11pm.
This world-famous karaoke bar with more than 10,000 foreign songs and 70,000 Japanese hits recently reopened in a bigger, better location. Tuesday is ladies’ night, when admission is ¥2,500 with three drinks (regular admission is ¥3,500 w/3d). Fiesta has a top-quality sound system and two 50-inch plasma screens, so you too can be a star for the night. (Thu-Sat English songs only; Mon-Wed Japanese songs OK). 3F Crest Roppongi-1, 7-9-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5410-3008. Open Mon-Sat 7pm-5am.
A sophisticated lounge bar offering a range of exotic tobacco served in Middle Eastern water pipes. 7F, 21 Taimei Building, 3-11-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5772-6922. Open daily from 6pm-8am. www.bar-sheesha.co.jp
Tokyo’s first Irish pub, Paddy’s still draws a 30-something business crowd. B1 Roi Bldg, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3423-2250. Open daily 5pm-late.
El Café Latino
Dance the night away in Latin surroundings spread over two dance floors. Win Roppongi Bldg, 3-15-24 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3402-8989. Open Tue-Sat 6pm-5am, Sun & Mon 6pm-midnight.
Merengue, bachata, and Cuban salsa are
the moves to make at this popular club, which holds lessons every night. 3F Rue Palette, 7-13-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5474-8806. Open daily 6pm-late. www.salsasudada.net
Roppongi hills The centerpiece of the Mori Building empire houses glittering shops, fine restaurants, cinemas and more|tokyo tower Japan’s answer to the Eiffel Tower offers views of the city and beyond from two observatories|Tokyo Midtown This upscale new shopping and dining complex boasts Japan’s tallest skyscraper| tokyo city view Channel Godzilla while peering down on Tokyo from 250 meters up|
almond The bakery at Roppongi crossing where everyone meets
before painting the town red|gaien
higashi dori The area’s main drag is lined with a bar, restaurant or nightclub to suit any and every taste or interest
It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008 and Tokyo Tower still offers plenty of attractions for sightseers. Enjoy outstanding views of the city and waterfront at 250m above ground in the Special Observatory, while a bit lower down on the Main Observatory, you can sip drinks and listen to live music at Club 333, or pray at the highest Shinto shrine in Tokyo’s 23 wards. Perched between the tower’s four curving legs at ground level is Foot Tokyo, a four-story complex housing a wax museum, an aquarium (www.suizokukan.net), the Guinness World Records Museum Tokyo (www.gwr-tokyo.com/english) and several restaurants, among them Chinese Buffet Taiyourou (www.888j.net/taiyourou) and pork cutlet sandwich shop Genkatsu (www.genkatsu.com).
4-2-8 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku. Nearest stn: Akabanebashi (Akabanebashi exit) or Kamiyacho (exit 1). www.tokyotower.co.jp/english
on the rise
Roppongi’s reputation as one of Tokyo’s sleaziest areas is under attack from developers determined to make the neighborhood more presentable. The first big project was completed in 2003, when Roppongi Hills opened and immediately changed the tenor of the district. Besides the city’s plushest cinema and the iconic, 54-story Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills boasts an array of shops, residences, gardens and theaters, all laid out in a chaotic sprawl that’s meant to mirror Tokyo itself.
The area got a further dose of culture with the 2007 opening of The National Art Center, Tokyo. At an astounding 48,000m2, the museum is the largest in all of Japan. Curiously, it houses no permanent collection of its own; instead, the center’s 12 exhibition rooms are divided between shows organized by nationally recognized art associations and site-specific, locally curated exhibitions. In addition to the state-of-the-art exhibition spaces, The National Art Center houses a Paul Bocuse restaurant and three cafés, a gift shop, an auditorium, three lecture rooms and a public library containing 50,000 publications, largely art exhibition catalogues. The National Art Center also runs educational programs, lectures, gallery talks, internships and volunteer programs.
With the opening of Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi’s transformation is just about complete. This ritzy mini-city comprises high-end shops, restaurants, and business facilities, as well as vibrant cultural centers and expanses of greenery. The five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel offers 250 guestrooms and sits on the 47-53 floors of Tokyo’s new tallest building, the Midtown Tower. Intended as an urban complex devoted to contemporary living, Tokyo Midtown signals Tokyo’s—and Roppongi’s—leap into the 21st century.