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....?
•arts & crafts
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.
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. ¥¥¥¥
For die-hard pork fans, this restaurant is heaven. Diners will notice that pork is in fact the only meat offered—so order various kinds prepared in various ways, and you won’t be disappointed. 2F 7-5-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5570-4821. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm (L.O. 2pm) and 6-midnight, Sun & hols 11:30am-2:30pm (L.O. 2pm) and 5-10pm. Nearest stn: Nogizaka. www.butagumi.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. ¥¥¥
Enjoy sophisticated sushi at conveyor-belt prices at this foreigner-friendly eatery just a few minutes’ walk from Roppongi station. The chef prepares sushi right in front of you, with single pieces starting from ¥137. Sashimi, tempura and other dishes are also offered, alongside a range of Japanese sake, shochu and beer, and the late opening hours make it perfect for night owls. 1F Rokumon Bldg. 6-1-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6438-1950. Open daily 11am-2pm, 5pm-5am (Sun until 3am). http://rdc-gatten.com/ ¥
Hinokizaka If you’re looking to treat a guest to a very special meal, this place is for you. Located on the 45th floor of the Ritz Carlton hotel, this elegant restaurant serves beautifully presented Japanese cuisine, and has a separate room for guests looking to enjoy private kaiseki dining. 45F Ritz-Carlton, 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 0120-798-688. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-10pm. Nearest stn: Roppongi. www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Tokyo ¥¥¥¥
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). ¥
With its elegant atmosphere, ground-central location, delicious and affordable cuisine and friendly staff, this Northern Indian restaurant caters to the Bollywood star in us all. B1 Roppongi Hills Hillside, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6438-1177. Open daily 11am-11pm (L.O. 10pm). Nearest stn: Roppongi. www.diya-dining.jp ¥~¥¥
This trendy Indian restaurant in Tokyo Midtown offers spectacular nighttime views from its balcony. With its quality food and chic, luxurious setting, it’s sure to impress—great for dates or entertaining guests. Garden Side, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5647-8305. Open Mon-Sat 11am-midnight (L.O. 10pm), Sun & hols 11am-11pm (LO 10pm). Nearest stn: Roppongi or Nogizaka. www.nirvana-newyork.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. ¥¥
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. ¥¥
This Roppongi chophouse offers some of the best steaks in Tokyo. Enjoy prime cuts of lamb, pork and, of course, beef with a bevy of no-frills side dishes at this chic and trendy restaurant. B1 Fusion Bldg, 7-13-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5785-0573. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-late, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Roppongi. http://sidedoor.tv ¥¥
Tony Roma’s 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. 5-4-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3408-2748. 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). ¥¥¥
Soul food from two continents is served up at this bistro and diner, where baked-to-order soufflés share menu space with buttermilk pancakes and duck confit. One of the best brunch spots in town, and it does good dinners to boot. Roppongi Hills, Keyakizaka Dori, 6-15-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3405-5533. Open daily 7am-11pm (brunch Sat-Sun 8am-4pm). www.lauderdale.co.jp ¥
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. ¥
A casual bar-restaurant located at the entrance to the upscale Tokyo Midtown complex, A971 offers inexpensive drinks, indoor-outdoor seating and an international crowd. There’s also a bank of computers that visitors can use for free. Tokyo Midtown East, 9-7-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5413-3210. Open daily 10am-late. www.a971.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.
AUGUST BEER CLUB
While there’s no shortage of nightspots in Roppongi, this one is well worth seeking out. The small but perfectly-formed selection of craft beers is complemented by hearty European-style pub grub, cooked in a wood-fired oven. 3-2-21 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6804-1655. Open daily 11am-11pm. www.augustbeerclub.jp
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)
f.Bar has given the term “lounging in luxury” a whole new meaning. Located in the heart of cosmopolitan Azabu-Juban, this lounge glitters from wall to wall and hums with an international atmosphere. Enjoy a range of American dishes or grab a tasty cocktail and unwind. As the official restaurant for FashionTV, f.Bar is also able to bring customers the latest trends and fashion news. 1F Fukao Bldg, 1-4-5 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3586-6383. Open Mon-Sat 6-11pm (restaurant), 11pm-5am (lounge), closed Sun (except for private parties). Nearest stn: Azabu-Juban, exit 7. www.fbar.jp
Roppongi’s hottest new nightspot debuts with a three-day opening party on March 3-5 (free entry). Ladies get in free on Sun, Mon and Thu, with special free cocktails, and can drink all night from a special menu for ¥1,000 on Tue and Wed. Guys drink for just ¥500 on Tue, and both men and women get one free shot on Thu. But whatever the day, this self-styled “amusement bar” is guaranteed fun. B1, 3-15-21 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5772-8177. Nearest stn: Roppongi. www.greenlandjp.com
Serendipity Bar You’re only a couple of minutes from Roppongi Crossing, but it couldn’t feel further away. Discreet, stylish, and with a superb selection of original cocktails. B1, 4-1-12 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Open Mon-Thu 7pm-3am, Fri-Sat & holiday eves 7pm-6am, closed Sun & hols. www.serendipity-bar.com
The New Matrix Bar
Just like the movie of the same name, this bar is sleek and forceful, with a 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 6pm-late. www.matrixbar.jp
The Gallery Roppongi
The sister branch of NewLex Edo is a luxurious restaurant, bar and lounge with a twist: an on-site art gallery. 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 Mon-Sat, closed Sun. www.gallery-roppongi.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
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.
"Wine Dining" Sakura
A casual eatery with a killer wine cellar, Sakura has more than 800 kinds to choose from. The food menu includes French, Italian and Spanish selections (pintxos from ¥150, tapas from ¥300), and glasses of expertly chosen wine start at ¥450. Late-night weekend hours and a bustling standing bar make this one of Tokyo’s most welcome new nightspots. 6-1-12 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5786-3939. Open Sun-Wed & hols 11:30am-11:30pm (L.O. 10:30pm), Thu-Sat 11:30am-5am (L.O. 4am).
The club formerly known as Yellow recently reopened in the same space. Confusing, but the musical diet hasn’t change: expect many of the finest house and techno DJs in the business to get behind the decks here. B1/B2, 1-10-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5775-6206. Opening hours vary. www.go-to-eleven.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
| NewLex Tokyo
A must-stop spot for visiting models, celebs and jetsetters, this Roppongi institution (formerly 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. Open daily 8pm-5am. www.newlex-edo.com
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
It can feel like watching a concert at the UN sometimes, but there’s no doubting the caliber of the programming at one of Tokyo’s most exclusive live venues. 4F Garden Terrace, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3405-1133. Performances Mon-Fri 7pm and 9:30pm, Sat-Sun & hols 6pm and 9pm. www.billboard-live.com
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. www.fiesta-roppongi.com
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.
Since opening on the top floor of Roppongi’s iconic Roi Building in July 2010, Vanity Lounge has become the go-to place for models and celebrities. With space for up to 700 people, it’s one of the largest restaurant/lounges in the Tokyo area, and enjoys panoramic views of Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills. Champagne comes courtesy of Veuve Clicquot, including some rare and vintage bottles—perfect for a luxurious business meeting or date. 13F Roi Bldg, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5474-0091. Open Mon-Sat 6-11pm (restaurant), 11pm-5am (lounge), closed Sun. www.vanitylounge.jp
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
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
|Suntory Museum of art
One of Tokyo’s most prestigious galleries celebrates its 50th anniversary this spring. The Suntory Museum opened in 1961, and has since held over 325 exhibitions, drawing on its 3,000-piece collection of porcelain, lacquerware, textiles and glassware, including one national treasure and 12 important cultural properties. Some of these will be on display at a special commemorative exhibition, entitled “In Pursuit of a Dream: The Collection Today—Featuring Recent Acquisitions and Cherished Masterpieces,” which runs from March 19-May 22. 3F Tokyo Midtown Galleria, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3479-8600. Open Wed-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun-Mon & hols 10am-6pm, closed Tue. Nearest stn: Roppongi. www.suntory.jp/sma
★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
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.