The area of Roppongi and Akasaka is a central hub for international business, residential urban development, restaurants, and nightlife. Housing in this area is typically newer, high-rise apartments with fewer private homes. It is certainly a convenient and exciting location for foreign residents, especially for younger singles and couples.
A Brief History
The origin of Roppongi, which literally means “six trees”, may have come from six pine trees that once stood in the area at the crossing of two streets. Roppongi didn’t become a city until the Edo period (1603-1868) when distinguished Buddhist monks built four temples in the deserted district. Roppongi remained a quiet temple town until after WW2 when the Akasaka and Azabu areas became home to U.S. troops and personnel. Coffee shops, nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants soon emerged to meet the needs, and the Roppongi of today began to take shape. Japanese politicians and bureaucrats have traditionally patronized the black tile-roofed restaurants in Akasaka’s geisha quarter. As are many areas of Tokyo, the Roppongi and Akasaka area is definitely a place where traditional Japan coexists with a modern and international city.
Recreation and Shopping
The Roppongi and Akasaka area offer an abundance of international supermarkets and restaurants, bars, clubs, and shopping. In fact, the Roppongi of today is rapidly developing and is home to some of Japan’s largest urban redevelopment projects. In 2003, Roppongi Hills opened up as one of the cities largest developments – offering office, residential, and shopping complexes. To the north-west of Roppongi Station, Tokyo Mid-town project, opened in 2007, is even larger in scale and promises to attract even more people to the Roppongi area.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Roppongi is by far the most world-renowned area of central Tokyo, and offers lots for anyone in terms of international entertainment, and cuisine. It is the place to go for wining, dining and clubbing. It is often called “the city that doesn’t sleep” for it’s all-night culture of trendy bars and clubs. The Roppongi and Akasaka area has also become the international gourmet center of Tokyo boasting a vast and diverse selection of restaurants. World-class cuisine comes together here – traditional Japanese, Thai, Indian, Italian, Fusion and much more. It is not surprising that it has become the place to catch a glimpse of Japanese celebrities and Hollywood stars when they are in town.
The Residential Neighborhoods
Despite being a prominent center for business and entertainment, Roppongi and Akasaka offer some of the cities most prestigious upscale residential neighborhoods. This area is great in terms of its central location, international atmosphere, and prestige. This area offers great access to business districts and just about anywhere via five subway lines, (Oedo, Ginza, Hibiya, Namboku and Chiyoda lines). It is truly an inner-city lifestyle most popular with singles and couples. The typical residences tend to be modern high-rise and apartment complexes. For families wanting more spacious homes or private gardens, the area offers few spacious detached homes. Some of the popular areas include Roppongi 1-Chome, Torizaka, Izumi Gardens, Roppongi Hills, and the area around Hikawa Shrine.
Roppongi Hills, completed in the spring of 2003, is a truly revolutionary urban development project. Developed by Mori Building, Roppongi Hills began with a vision to provide residents a futuristic model for urban living and working. It has all the life amenities – a 54 floor office tower, a shopping complex, movie theaters, art galleries, supermarkets, and high-rise apartment towers – all within an amazing 21st century vertical city.
Not far from Roppongi Hills, in Akasaka 9-Chome, the renaissance plan MidTown Project was the big hit of 2007. This mega-complex – even larger in scale than Roppongi Hills with one of the tallest towers in Tokyo – is set to further revolutionize the area attracting foreign businesses and residents. The project includes, high-rise residences, office towers, hotels, shopping complexes, and park space.