Hills – Tokyo's spectacular city within
a city – sets a new standard for 21st-century urban
spread: Roppongi Hills occupies 28 acres in the heart
of downtown Tokyo.
The Museum Cone, the dramatic elliptical glass-and-steel
entrance to the Mori Art Museum.
The Roppongi Hills arena is an outdoor community-event
The 54-story Mori Tower is now one of Tokyo's most important
As one of the world's great commercial and cultural
centers, Tokyo has always captivated visitors with its high
energy level. However, from an architectural point of view,
the city was disappointing with its sprawl of low-rise, unremarkable
buildings. Japanese real estate tycoon Minoru Mori, president
and CEO of the privately held Mori Building Company, was determined
to change the face of Tokyo with his vision of a vertical
garden city: offices, apartments, shops, museums, theaters
and a hotel – all within walking distance, integrated
into a parklike setting intended to add value and vibrancy
to the lives of both residents and visitors.
The stunning result is Roppongi
Hills, one of Japan's most daring and ambitious mixed-use
real estate developments. At a cost of more than $4 billion,
this 28-acre project in Tokyo's international district
took 17 years to complete, and required assembling and swapping
more than 400 private lots in exchange for luxury condominium
apartments on the site.
Roppongi Hills includes the
54-story Mori Tower, the largest office building in Japan,
having more than 4.3 million square feet of office space.
Filling the tower's top floors is the five-story Mori
Arts Center, consisting of the Mori Art Museum; Tokyo City
View, the city's highest public viewing area; Roppongi
Academy Hills, a learning-and-meeting facility; and Roppongi
Hills Club, with private membership. Also part of the mega-complex
are the five-star Grand Hyatt Tokyo hotel; four luxurious
residential towers with 840 apartments; an indoor and outdoor
mall with more than 200 luxury stores, restaurants and cafés;
a Virgin multiplex cinema; the headquarters of TV Asahi; an
outdoor amphitheater; Japanese gardens featuring contemporary
works of art; and a temple, chapel and shrine.
Since opening in April 2003,
Roppongi Hills has had an average of 100,000 visitors daily
and 200,000 each weekend day. It has become the preferred
setting for high-profile events and exhibitions, where visiting
dignitaries, tourists and citizens work, play, mingle and
share their culture. The largest private redevelopment ever
undertaken in Tokyo – and one of the largest in the
world – may well establish the city as a destination
for the 21st century. “I want Roppongi Hills to become
the true cultural heart of Tokyo,” says Mori. On the
following pages, one can view Mori's new interpretation
of urban living.
A view of the museum's interior.
The entrance to the Mori Art Museum.
Tokyo city view from the sky deck.
MORI ART MUSEUM
The cultural centerpiece of Roppongi Hills and one of the
largest spaces for contemporary art in Asia, the 32,300-square-foot
Richard Gluckman-designed Mori Art Museum is dedicated to
making art accessible on a daily basis. The museum –
which also focuses on architecture, design, photography, film
and fashion – is open late at night and offers various
programs for schools, the community and the general public.
ART AND DESIGN
Another example of the commitment to making Roppongi Hills
a center for contemporary art: 20 pieces of sculpture and
street furniture, many specially commissioned, adorn the complex
– works by Ettore Sottsass, Ron Arad, Sol Lewitt and
Shigeru Uchida. The giant spider sculpture Maman
by Louise Bourgeois, located in the Roku Roku Plaza, has already
become one of Tokyo's most popular meeting places.
CITY VIEW AND
TOKYO SKY DECK
Roppongi Hills offers unparalleled 360-degree views of the
entire city as well as of Mount Fuji at two venues in the
Mori Tower – the 52nd-floor observation deck and the
open-air observation area on the roof. Open from 9 am to 1
TOHO CINEMA AND
ROPPONGI HILLS ARENA
This nine-screen high-tech movie theater has the largest screen
and keeps the longest weekend hours in Japan. The arena functions
as an outdoor theater with seating for over 2,000 and is the
venue for many performing arts and other special events.
Above left: The Mohri Garden, a reproduction of a traditional
Japanese garden centered around the Mohri pond. Above right:
Louise Bourgeois's giant spider sculpture Maman.
Shunbou is one of ten restaurants and bars located in
the Grand Hyatt Tokyo.
West Walk, Roppongi Hill's four-level galleria
The complex has more than 60 food options, ranging from
upscale cafés to formal restaurants offering international
Excellent Chinese seafood.
IL MULINO NEW YORK,
The Tokyo outpost of the celebrated New York restaurant
attracting a sophisticated clientele.
L'ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON,
Fabulous French food from the legendary Parisian chef in
a stylish dining room with counter seating and an attentive
OLIVES TOKYO, 03.5413.9571
A showcase of celebrity chef Todd English's inventive
Imaginatively prepared authentic Japanese fare served in
Kaseiki style (a set menu presented over a series of courses).
THE FRENCH KITCHEN,
A casual French brasserie and bar in a dramatic open-kitchen
THE OAK DOOR, 03.4333.8784
The Grand Hyatt's premier restaurant – an elegant
steakhouse with an impressive international wine list.
WOLFGANG PUCK BAR & GRILL,
Puck's signature-blend Asian and European cuisine.
Roppongi Hills easily competes with
Tokyo's famed Omotesando and Ginza districts as a
luxury-shopping mecca. Each of the four retail areas has
a distinctive character and architecture. The lovely tree-lined
Keyakizaka Street, Roppongi Hills'
equivalent of Rodeo Drive, is home to some of the world's
best known luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton
and Hugo Boss. The shops of West
Walk, located in the light-filled four-story galleria
within the Mori Tower, include such well-known names as
Byblos, Anne Fontaine
and Mandarina Duck. The Lulu Guinness,
Michal Negrin and Anna Sui
boutiques found in the Hill Side shopping
area face the complex's 17th-century Japanese garden.
Stores catering to a younger and more casual clientele at
the MetroHat/Hollywood Plaza complete the
LA PERLA, 03.3746.2422
TO STAY IN ROPPONGI HILLS
The Grand Hyatt Tokyo.
Since opening in April 2003, this property has set new standards
for excellence in Tokyo's competitive luxury-hotel market
and has become the hotel of choice for many foreign visitors.
Recently spotted celebrity guests include Today Show
host Katie Couric, and designer Giorgio Armani in for the
opening of his recent retrospective at the Mori Museum. The
Hyatt has become the place to see and be seen, thanks to its
grand public spaces and ten outstanding restaurants and bars.
All 389 hotel rooms are designed in a luxuriously minimalist
style that features contemporary Italian furniture, spacious
spalike bathrooms, flat-screen TVs in both the bedroom and
bath, the fastest Internet connection available in Japan,
a sophisticated touch-panel lighting system and electronic
blackout shades. The presidential suite occupies the entire
21st floor and is the only hotel suite in Tokyo to feature
its own private outdoor heated pool. The state of-the-art
13,900-square-foot Nagomi Spa and Fitness center boasts a
stunning red-granite swimming pool. Room rates range from
$485 per night for a grand room double to $5,400 per night
for the presidential suite.
Above left: the Hyatts ambassador suite private dining
room. Above right: the presidential suite outdoor heated
American Airlines offers nonstop flights
to Narita Airport from New York, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth,
San Jose and Los Angeles. At press time, round-trip business
class airfare in July is priced at $9,175; round-trip first-class
airfare is $15,237. All prices are subject to change.
All images Courtesy of Mori Building Co. except last three,
Courtesy of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo