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101 things to do in Roppongi

Where to eat, shop and play in ‘High Touch Town’

By Time Out Tokyo Editors

As far as some Tokyo residents are concerned, the only good thing to do in Roppongi to is get the first train out of the place. The capital's most famous entertainment district is also perhaps its most notorious: popular with American GIs during the post-war occupation, it went from sleazy to classy to sleazy again over the ensuing decades. Even the opening of ambitious, upmarket developments like Tokyo Midtown and Roppongi Hills – and the neighbourhood's bizarre re-christening as 'High Touch Town' in 1989 – haven't entirely removed its negative image. But don't let that put you off: you'd be missing out on a 'hood that's diverse, fun and also surprisingly classy. Read on for Time Out's selection of the best that Roppongi (and nearby Azabu-Juban) has to offer. It'll have you seeing the place in a whole new light – and it won't be a red one this time...

1. Feel like the king of the castle

Attractions Sightseeing Roppongi

Start your Roppongi adventure with a bird’s-eye view of the city at this recently renovated observation deck that’s 250m high and offers a 360-degree vista. Tokyo City View

2. Get into an artsy mood

Art Galleries Roppongi

Emmanuel Perrotin's gallery is known for participating in major art fairs from Art Basel and Frieze to Art Stage Jakarta and represents an impressive list of contemporary stars, including Kaws, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Maurizio Cattelan, Bharti Kher and JR. Perrotin Tokyo


3. Cool down with colourful ice

Restaurants Kakigori Roppongi

Kakigori is the ultimate Tokyo summer dessert. This Roppongi spot takes the old favourite to another level with flavours like tiramisu and carrot-mascarpone while also touting a luxurious four-berry variety. Kakigori Cafe & Bar Yelo

4. Shop till you drop

Shopping Roppongi

United Arrows' biggest-ever flagship store spreads out across the second and third floors of Roppongi Hills West Walk. The lower level is for women while the upper floor focuses on men's items – both sections are full of enough clothing, shoes and accessories to warm any fashion lover's heart. United Arrows Roppongi Hills

Fueguia 1833

5. Sniff some sensible scents

Shopping Perfumeries Roppongi

Founded in Buenos Aires in 2010, this perfumery takes inspiration from South America’s rich history in art, music and nature. Probably some of the most unique scents you’ll have the pleasure of sniffing, their limited-edition fragrances are formulated from natural components, making each bottle a one-of-a-kind scent. Fueguia 1833

6. Pay your respects to a samurai hero

Attractions Religious buildings and sites Nogizaka

General Nogi and his wife, who proved their loyalty to Emperor Meiji by committing suicide when he died, are enshrined here. Besides their house, the shrine boasts about 2.5 acres of greenery and tranquillity in the middle of the city. Stop by for the antiques market every 4th Sunday (except November). Nogi Shrine


7. Seek out backstreet art

Art Nishi-Azabu

This backstreet gallery specialises in contemporary art from promising young Tokyo artists such as Yuko Murata, Fumito Urabe and Takeo Hanazawa, and stocks works by foreign artists such as the internationally renowned Rirkrit Tiravanija whose installations often involve tantalising food. Gallery Side 2

8. Stock up on sake

Bars and pubs Roppongi

Nothing goes to waste at Kanazawa-based brewery Fukumitsuya: its Tokyo Midtown shop doesn’t just sell nihonshu, but also food and skincare products derived from sake. Sake Shop Fukumitsuya


9. Dine on the finest sushi

Restaurants Sushi Roppongi

Run by famed sushi master Jiro Ono's second son, Takashi Ono, this is the perfect spot to indulge in some of Tokyo's finest fish. Be sure to make a reservation well ahead as this eight-seater is always on tight demand. For those wanting to try out an omakase sushi experience, there's no better place to start your eating adventure. Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi


11. Party until the sun rises

Clubs Nishi-Azabu

As with most Tokyo nightlife, if you are going to a sausage fest, you may want to head down to one with the most international flavour. A-Life invites you to a lively night out with different tunes playing on each floor. The club also offers three dancefloors, numerous bars and chill-out spaces with friendly bartenders. A-Life

12. Bite into some crisp tonkatsu

Restaurants Nishi-Azabu

If you're looking for a quality and filling meal, look no further than this speciality pork cutlet shop in Nishi-Azabu. Pick your pig from the pork options ranging from Spanish to domestic, the latter sourced from numerous regions across Japan. Tonkatsu Butagumi


13. Join the craft beer scene

Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Roppongi

Housed in a stylish space close to Roppongi Station, Japan’s first BrewDog bar has a total of 20 varieties of beer on tap, while the food menu holds its own with offerings like homemade burgers and hotdogs. BrewDog Roppongi

14. Browse art books after sunset

Shopping Bookshops Roppongi

Housing an impressive selection of art and design books, this is the ideal place to pick up a gift for a discerning friend – and the opening hours are perfect for late-night browsing. Aoyama Book Center


15. Tour the world of rum

Bars and pubs Aoyama

It's easy to end up missing your last train home at this warmly inviting rum bar – and you'll need until dawn to sample even a fraction of the rare tipples on offer. Tafia

16. Have fish for dessert

Restaurants Cafés Azabu-Juban

Famous for being the original maker of taiyaki (fish-shaped dessert filled with sweet bean paste), Naniwaya opened in 1909 and is still at the top of the taiyaki game. Buy the treats as gifts or enjoy fresh warm ones at the shop. Naniwaya


17. Dig into a steal-of-a-deal lunch

Restaurants Japanese Roppongi

Treat yourself to some quality wagyu at this meat specialist hidden down the side streets of Roppongi. One of the highlights of visiting Matsurokuya is the special lunch, limited to 30 bowls per day. Get there early to avoid missing out on the wagyu hitsumabushi (A5-grade wagyu served over rice) for an easy ¥2,000. Matsurokuya


18. Warm up with oden

Restaurants Japanese Azabu-Juban

Oden – vegetables, fish cakes, tofu and other ingredients simmered in broth – is one of Japan’s favourite winter warmers, and it doesn't get much tastier than at Fukushimaya. Also available in summer. Oden Fukushimaya


19. Get addicted to karinto

Shopping Azabu-Juban

A word of warning before you join the queue outside this popular confectioner: their crispy karinto – deep-fried snacks flavoured with brown sugar – are dangerously addictive. Azabu Karinto

20. Hit the bull's-eye

Bars and pubs Sports bars Roppongi

A hip darts bar with an even hipper ‘i Tower’ drinks machine that serves a cocktail of Hennessy Cognac and iced black tea. Look out for seasonal events especially over Halloween and Christmas. I Darts Tokyo


22. Luxuriate in an open-air bath

Hotels Roppongi

This flashy boutique hotel sits on a calm side street close to the National Art Center and Roppongi Hills. The suites have garden terraces and open-air baths, while other rooms feature traditional Japanese elements like sliding doors and washi paper. Design Hotel Iroha


23. Turn a curry lunch into a chic experience

Restaurants Indian Roppongi

The bland uniformity of your average Indian eatery menu is swiftly forgotten at Nirvana New York, where the cuisine is as inspired as it is wallet-busting. The chic indoor dining room is appealing enough, but when the weather’s good it’s hard to resist the outdoor terrace. Nirvana New York

24. Samba with churrasco

Restaurants Brazilian Roppongi

Tokyo’s love of Brazilian barbecue seems to know no bounds. One of the finer churrascarias in town is this Roppongi branch of Barbacoa, which has seating for 200, bookable private rooms, and a great value churrasco lunch for ¥3,600 (plus tax). Barbacoa Roppongi Hills


25. Nestle into an off-kilter music spot

Clubs Nishi-Azabu

Don’t forget to take your shoes off when entering Tokyo’s cosiest music venue, complete with sofas, beds and lush red carpets. Enjoy the interesting lineup, which sometimes includes artist Atsuhiro Ito’s experimental performances with light bulbs. Bullet's

26. Kit yourself out with a kimono

Shopping Azabu-Juban

Kimonos are available both tailor-made or ready-to-wear at this friendly store, alongside a range of crafts and ornaments fashioned from recycled kimono material. Kimono Arts Sunaga

27. Dunk into a decadent doughnut

Shopping Bakeries Azabu-Juban

Friends of airy, fluffy, New York-style doughnuts will want to stop by this new Azabu-Juban shop, where around a dozen different kinds of sweet carb delights are available every day. Combine your choice with a cup of dark roast coffee from Kyoto bean purveyors Arabica. Dumbo Doughnuts and Coffee


28. Relax, Roppongi-style

Health and beauty Spas Roppongi

Whatever the time, you can always unwind at this multi-storey spa complex, which offers baths, saunas, Korean body scrubs, facials and massages 24/7. Roppongi Vivi

29. Cosy up with a top mixologist

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Azabu-Juban

Talented mixologist Gen Yamamoto returned from New York to open this eight-seat bar in early 2013 – an intimate setting to enjoy his seasonal, individually tailored cocktails. Gen Yamamoto


30. Shop for artistic souvenirs

Art Roppongi

Visit this gallery for exciting modern art exhibitions and the adjoining art and design shop for all your souvenir needs. Find one-of-a-kind trinkets from Japanese artists including Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami plus interesting gifts you won’t see elsewhere. Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery Store

31. Spin yourself into shape

Sport and fitness Cycling Roppongi

Get your spin on at Feelcycle, an intense 45-minute spin class that will have you sweating bullets but feeling great afterwards. Incorporating both aerobics and strength training into each class, spin is a total body workout that you'll definitely feel afterwards. Feelcycle


32. Savour artistic creations

Restaurants Pâtisseries Roppongi

Watch as pastry chefs whip up beautifully handcrafted sweets right in front of you – as much about the experience as it is about the eating, Toshi Yoroizuka at Midtown isn't your average dessert den. Enjoy unique treats like blue cheese ice cream and molten chocolate souffles filled with tangy passion fruit compote. Toshi Yoroizuka


34. Slurp a bowl of late-night noodles

Restaurants Roppongi

How better to round off a night in Roppongi than with a hearty bowl of noodles? Tsurutontan keeps serving its udon – ranging from traditional Kansai styles to carbonara – until 8am. Tsurutontan

35. Scoop up a Tokyo-style souvenir

Shopping Nogizaka

The in-house shop at the National Art Center, Tokyo does a lot more than sell postcards: it also offers an array of Tokyo-themed goods that, as the name says, make great souvenirs. Souvenir From Tokyo


36. Eat the best croissant in Tokyo

Shopping Azabu-Juban

One of the very few Japanese bakers to make it really big in Paris, Yoshimi Ishikawa founded Maison Landemaine together with her husband Rodolphe Landemaine. Their artisanal bread and pastries have convinced even the famously conservative French gourmet press. Maison Landemaine Tokyo

37. Treat yourself to veggie-inspired snacks

Shopping Chocolate and sweets Azabu-Juban

Selling various sweets and dainty desserts made from fruit and vegetables, this shop is great for finding that perfect edible gift. Yasaigashi also has an in-house café offering sweets, coffee and tea, plus kakigori (shaved ice) during the warmer months. Azabu Yasaigashi


38. Work out at the dinner table

Restaurants Cafés Roppongi

The ideal lunch spot for athletic types, Total Workout Cafe offers a range of low-fat salads, sandwiches, pastas, protein drinks – and even healthy desserts. Total Workout Cafe

39. Sweeten up with Japanese treats

Restaurants Azabu-Juban

Specialising in traditional Japanese sweets, this shop serves up popular dishes including their ogura toast, made with sweet bean paste, and gelatinous warabimochi dusted with kinako soybean flour. It's not all desserts, though: there's a smaller section of the menu devoted to savoury dishes. Amanoya


40. Keep it rockin'

Restaurants American Roppongi

The hamburgers are juicy, the walls are crammed with memorabilia and the music's always cranked up to 11 at this long-running institution, recently given a slick makeover. Hard Rock Cafe

41. Dig into the world of design

Art Roppongi

Famed Japanese designers Issey Miyake, Taku Satoh and Naoto Fukasawa are the brains behind this sleek, design-centric art space, housed in the grounds of Tokyo Midtown. 21_21 Design Sight


42. Catch a gig, film, fashion show...

Music Roppongi

Opened in 2013, Ex Theater hosts pop and rock gigs, musicals, film screenings, fashion shows and other events, but if you head up to the second floor you’ll also find a spacious garden and a café. Ex Theater Roppongi

43. Check out a hip ramen joint

Restaurants Ramen Roppongi

Who said ramen was just for blokes? The Afuri chain woos the ladies with its light, chicken-based broth, served in a setting that’s more like a designer dining bar than a noodle shop. Afuri

Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori

44. Take in a classic view

The hillside Keyakizaka Dori offers a picturesque vantage point for gazing out at Tokyo Tower. Best enjoyed during the winter months, when its trees are decorated with fairy lights. Roppongi Keyakizaka Dori

45. Live it up at the Hyatt

Bars and pubs Hotel bars Roppongi

When you need to entertain clients in style, this low-lit hotel bar is the place to head... and lose yourself in a sophisticated world of cocktails, cigars and live jazz. Maduro


46. Carb load on fluffy bread

Shopping Bakeries Azabu-Juban

These long-established bakers are best known for their Hokkaido milk bread, featuring a fluffy interior and light buttery sweetness, making for the perfect accompaniment to your breakfast or tea. Mont Thabor


48. Indulge in some inarizushi

Restaurants Sushi Roppongi

There aren't many sushi restaurants that you'd recommend for something other than fish – but then, there aren't many that make inarizushi as distinctive as Otsuna's. Otsuna Sushi

49. Tuck into authentic dumplings

Restaurants Gyoza Nogizaka

Gyoza (aka Chinese dumplings) are normally eaten with soy sauce, but this family-run Chinese restaurant puts a twist on tradition by serving it with vinegar and pepper. It’s juicy on the inside and crispy golden brown on the outside. Perfect paired with a beer. Minmin Gyoza


51. Chow on pho for lunch

Restaurants Vietnamese Nishi-Azabu

Vietnamese pho noodles are the speciality of this eatery, whose out-of-the-way location hasn't stopped it becoming a popular lunch spot. Just leave some space for the spring rolls too. Pho Dragon

52. Feast on sumptuous seafood

Restaurants Seafood Roppongi

Take your pick from the seafood lined up on a bed of ice inside the restaurant; choose your favourite fish and preparation method (as carpaccio, with pasta, the list goes on) and you're good to go. #Uni


53. Gaze at priceless works of art

Art Roppongi

Some of Japan’s best-known contemporary artists – such as Yayoi Kusama, Tsuyoshi Ozawa and others who deal with the politics of identity – show at this well-established gallery, which moved to Roppongi in 2011 after a lengthy stint in Ginza. Ota Fine Arts

54. Build a completely customisable burger

Restaurants Burgers Roppongi

The Counter is located on the basement floor of Midtown and offers relief to local patty-munchers. Customise your very own burger with a long list of choices: pick exactly what type of patty, cheese, sauce and topping you'd like from a myriad of options. The Counter Roppongi 


55. Appreciate the art of Japanese confections

Restaurants Pâtisseries Roppongi

Toraya has been crafting wagashi (Japanese traditional confections) since the early 16th century. Besides its main shop, this branch also houses a café and gallery, and stocks a wonderful range of traditional souvenirs. Toraya Tokyo Midtown

56. Ogle at some gender-bending dancers

Nightlife Alternative nightlife Roppongi

Even by Roppongi's standards, a visit to Kingyo can be a real eye-opener: those dishy damsels performing in the evening shows are actually all transvestites and transsexuals. Roppongi Kingyo


57. Choose quirky crafts

Shopping Azabu-Juban

Putting a quirky twist on traditional crafts, Blue & White have been surprising customers with its original handiwork for 40 years now. Visit them for an interesting selection of yukata and tenugui. Blue & White

58. Dine and dance at one convenient location

Clubs Roppongi

Formerly known as Vanity, V2 Tokyo is one of the city's flashiest and most popular clubs, perched high above central Roppongi and offering rather nice panoramic views of the Tokyo skyline at night. Earlier in the evening it functions as an eclectic restaurant that serves up everything from molecular cuisine to pizza and pasta. V2 Tokyo


59. Catch picture-perfect shots

Art Roppongi

First established in Shibuya but now sharing Roppongi's Piramide Building with several renowned galleries, this photo-focused spot isn't exactly well-known but often hosts highly interesting exhibits. Zen specialises in Asian photographers, especially Japanese and Chinese ones. Zen Foto Gallery

60. Wrap yourself in a ‘pastoral’ towel

Shopping Roppongi

The towels are organised according to ‘touch’ – from ‘crispy’ and ‘silky’ to ‘mother’ and ‘pastoral’ – at this specialist shop in Roppongi Hills. Yup: pastoral. They also stock a range of comfy casualwear. Touch


61. Experience a Japanese-style cabaret club

Nightlife Roppongi

Tantra Artistic Lounge is the most prestigious members' lounge in Tokyo. Look forward to artistic pole dancing, fire shows, a bevy of beautiful hostesses and some celebrity spotting. They also have a restaurant and karaoke facilities. Tantra Tokyo

62. Delve into a bazaar of the bizarre

Shopping Roppongi

At this 24-hour variety goods discount store you can find a range of items such as food and beverages, daily essentials, home electronics and brand-name goods. They accept credit cards and foreign currencies and, of course, all items are duty-free. Don Quijote


63. Spend the day in a world of art

Art Roppongi

Opened inside Roppongi's Complex665, this Taka Ishii gallery (there are two more dotted around the city) shows photography by major international and Japanese artists (Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Thomas Demand). Taka Ishii Gallery


65. Hit an avant-garde hangout

Bars and pubs Roppongi

A haven for adventurously minded Tokyoites, this basement venue hosts improv gigs, dance shows and Pecha Kucha nights – and serves the highly quaffable Tokyo Ale. SuperDeluxe

66. Sample soba with an international twist

Restaurants Soba Roppongi

Koichi Kobari closed his popular soba joint in NYC to open this Roppongi shop, and SoHo's loss was our gain. Even measured against the far stiffer local competition, Honmura An's noodles are superb. Honmura An


67. Calm down at a hidden temple

Attractions Religious buildings and sites Roppongi

If you're looking for a moment of repose, head across the road from the Grand Hyatt Tokyo to this small temple, an urban oasis amidst the bustle of Roppongi. Myozenji Temple

68. Cut into a juicy steak

Restaurants Steakhouse Roppongi

Hailing from New York City, Benjamin is a solid destination for quality-conscious carnivores. Hungry diners can look forward to dry-aged USDA Prime beef in all the usual cuts. Benjamin Steakhouse


69. Get in-the-know with contemporary art

Art Roppongi

Formerly housed in Kiyosumi's gallery complex, ShugoArts moved to Setagaya's Mishuku in 2015 and subsequently to its current location inside Roppongi's Complex665 in 2016. It shows an eclectic range of contemporary Japanese and international artists, such as Shimabuku and Candice Breitz. ShugoArts


71. Watch the game

Bars and pubs Sports bars Roppongi

Legends sports bar has become a hotspot for watching football, drawing in large crowds with its big-screen TVs and appropriate menu of pizzas, chicken wings, French fries and beers. Legends Sports Bar and Grill

72. Fill up on deep-fried bean balls

Restaurants Vegetarian Roppongi

The takeout-only Falafel Brothers serves up fried-to-order crispy and gluten-free treats in both sandwich and salad form. Choose your toppings from a selection of ten or so options and wash it all down with a bottle of Maccabee beer. Falafel Brothers


74. Tour a top art museum

Art Nogizaka

The undulating glass facade is worth a trip in itself, but the National Art Center, Tokyo also hosts some superb exhibitions. Well, it has to: it doesn't have a permanent collection of its own. The National Art Center, Tokyo


75. Treat yourself to carrot cake

Shopping Azabu-Juban

It only takes a glance at the countertop display case – crammed with carrot cake, blondies, buckles and brownies – to know this NYC-style bakery is the real deal. Hudson Market Bakers

76. Become friends with Snoopy

Art Pop art Machida

Snoopy fans can view plenty of original drawings and art for 'Peanuts', plus a number of vintage collectibles and other materials, all of which are rotated every six months. And fear not: there's also a themed café on the premises. Snoopy Museum

77. Take in today's leading young artists

Art Higashi-Azabu

Take Ninagawa represents young standard-bearers for the contemporary art world such as Shinro Ohtake, Soju Tao, Misaki Kawai, Yukiko Suto and Yuuki Matsumura. The gallery is also one of the few places to see top-quality international art made by young artists without having to leave the shores of Japan. Take Ninagawa


78. Dine at one of Tokyo's best

Restaurants French Nishi-Azabu

L’Effervescence is, for many, the pinnacle of French dining in Tokyo. Under chef and owner Shinobu Namae, the restaurant has received countless national and international accolades – including two Michelin stars and a spot on the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the last three years. L’Effervescence

79. Snack on green tea peanuts

Shopping Azabu-Juban

Once you’ve got your head around the idea of green tea-flavoured peanuts, take in the fact that Mamegen has around 90 other flavours for you to choose from. Their roasted nuts and beans, which they've been selling since 1865, make great snacks and gifts. Mamegen


80. Sip some flavourful coffee

Restaurants Coffeeshops Roppongi

Hidden behind a patch of greenery one level down from Gaien Higashi-dori, Blue Bottle offers a measure of peace and quiet to go with the familiar speciality coffee and simple but tasty edibles. Sold only here, the Roppongi sandwich (¥650) is a colourful combo of vegetables like tomato, carrot and avocado. Blue Bottle Coffee Roppongi

81. Fill your wardrobe with luxe finds

Shopping Fashion Roppongi

A stylish and rather swanky offshoot of their main Shinjuku store, Isetan's 'select shop' in Tokyo Midtown fuses fashion and art, showcasing high-end designer labels as well as other women's fashion, accessories, cosmetics and more. Isetan Salone


82. Dine out, Tarantino style

Restaurants Nishi-Azabu

Dominating the Nishi-Azabu crossing like a feudal Japanese castle, Gonpachi was supposedly an inspiration for Kill Bill, making it an essential stop for cinema junkies. Recommended dishes include the soba noodles and kushiyaki. Gonpachi

83. Start your day with eggs benedict

Restaurants American Roppongi

Gone are the days you couldn't find a decent breakfast in Tokyo. Eggcellent opens at 7am (8am on weekends) and has been satisfying early birds with a range of eggs benedict (made with organic eggs) since November 2013. Eggcellent


84. Sit in on a stylish concert

Music Roppongi

This high-end supper club attracts some seriously big names from the worlds of jazz, pop and rock. Choose between reserved seating, table seating and casual seating sections spread out on three floors surrounding the stage. Billboard Live Tokyo

85. Marvel at a museum with a view

Art Roppongi

The exhibitions are world-class, focused mainly on contemporary art from in and out of Japan, but the secret of the Mori Art Museum's success is its location – on the 53rd floor of Mori Tower. Mori Art Museum


86. Experience cutting-edge kaiseki

Restaurants Japanese Hibiya

Experimental chef Seiji Yamamoto has put modern Japanese cuisine on the map with his three-Michelin-star restaurant. Hailed as Japan’s leading molecular gastronomist, Yamamoto applies cutting-edge technology to the tradition of kaiseki ryori, which involves a theatrical series of small courses. Ryugin

87. Feed your coffee craving

Restaurants Coffeeshops Nishi-Azabu

Equipped with a state-of-the-art Steampunk machine, Maruyama teems with discerning coffee lovers every day, serving up speciality brews made with a range of single-origin beans. Admittedly a little pricey, but they do let you sample all varieties. Maruyama Coffee Nishi-Azabu


88. Go for fish and chips at all hours

Restaurants Fish and chips Roppongi

At this authentic British fish and chips shop fresh cod is delivered each day before being fried in a secret batter mix, and then served with fries and mushy peas. The result is a deliciously rich and crispy comfort lunch – or late-night snack since the shop is open till 4am on the weekends. Malins

89. Specialise in Turkish delights

Restaurants Turkish Azabu-Juban

Dedicated to the preservation of the Ottoman Empire's court cuisine, the chefs at Burgaz Ada incorporate a myriad of exotic herbs and spices into their dishes. Try the chef's signature creation: grilled spring lamb chops quickly dipped in a 'secret', herb-packed marinade before being prepared over an open fire. Burgaz Ada