Roppongi is a district of Tokyo belonging to Minato area, in the center of Japan’s capital. Renowned by tourists and expatriates as a fashionable place for nights out, this district is also home of a broad urban complex called Roppongi Hills.
Surprisingly, Roppongi is one of the most famous neighborhoods known abroad. This is probably the case because it is one of the most cosmopolitan and westernized corners of Tokyo.
Indeed, after the WWII bombings, Roppongi was used as the residential base of American GIs after the armistice. The sad tradition seems to be continued up to the 21st century since numerous expatriates still live there today, far for military reasons.
It is fair to say that the district did everything to keep this international atmosphere, through a recent and interesting dichotomy depending on the hours of the day or night one explores it. Roppongi shares today two parallel and yet opposite reputations.
The famous nightlife vibes
It is naturally for its nocturnal life that Roppongi remains the most famous for.
At dusk, the district becomes trendy and festive with its abundant offer of restaurants, bars, izakaya and other nightclubs. To be fully accurate, we also have to mention hostess clubs, striptease clubs and "massage" salons.
Some nightclubs have been building this reputation for a long time, with their various musical styles : if GasPanic indisputably remains the most famous, let’s not forget about Propaganda, Grace (and Midas upstairs), Feria, Brand, Yellow, Cat’s, V2, New Lex or also the Vanilla, now closed.
It is certainly in Roppongi that foreigners will have the most chance not to be refused at the entrance, and even be warmly welcomed (with a passport and entrance fees) to party, meet young Japanese people and dance all night before catching up the first train early morning.
Even if the place keeps its reputation of being one of the less secure districts of Tokyo, it is specifically true at the end of the nights, when the nightclubs' vibes can deteriorate because of drunk festive people. Our advice: run away from street touts, rarely advisable in their nightclubs' offers.
A new day conduct
Even throughout the day, Roppongi offers a large choice of various coffee places, mainly westernized of course, including its famous Icebar.
However, the district made up its new reputation since the beginning of the 2000s, with the opening of the crushing Roppongi Hills : an enormous complex often called "city in the city". Some years later, in 2007, it was followed by Tokyo Midtown.
With these two malls, the area reveals a larger appeal to the public, and even to the high-end public, supported by:
- never ending stores
- cultural activities, pieces of art and museum notably focused on contemporary art
- neat parks and gardens such as the "Green and Park" taking up to 40% of Midtown's total space
- thousands of square meters of offices attracting prestigious Japanese and Internationals companies
- private apartments with luxurious standing
- or even numerous embassies (Spain, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, The Philippines)
It is the occasion to discover a whole new face of Roppongi.
How to get to Roppongi
- Roppongi station on Hibiya line (Tokyo Metro H04) or Oedo (Toei E23)
- Roppongi-Itchome station on the Nanboku line (Tokyo Metro)
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
六本木 (literally "6 trees")