Tuesday, 15 April 2014

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

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

101 things to do in Roppongi1. 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.
Keyakizaka Dori. 6 Roppongi

2. Pay your respects to a samurai hero
When Emperor Meiji died in 1912, General Nogi Maresuke and his wife proved their loyalty by joining him in death, an act commemorated with the establishment of Nogi Shrine.
Nogi Shrine. 8-11-27 Akasaka. Map and opening hours
3. Chow on pho for lunch
Vietnamese oho 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. 1-11-13 Nishi-Azabu. Map and opening hours
4. Focus on photography
One of a number of galleries to move to Roppongi over the past few years, Hiromiyoshii specialises in photography, showcasing young talent alongside more established names.
Hiromiyoshii Roppongi. 5-9-20 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
5. Get a taste for Belarus
There can't be many countries as underrepresented on the Tokyo dining circuit as Belarus, but this superior eatery goes a long way to making up for that.
Minsk. 1-4-2 Azabudai. Map and opening hours
6. Snuggle up at the fireside
Putting an upmarket spin on the robatayaki (open-hearth) cooking beloved of Japanese fishermen, Inakaya serves succulent grilled seafood and vegetables in a vibrant setting.
Inakaya East. 5-3-4 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
7. Find some southern comfort
The spirit of Okinawa is alive and well at this easygoing izakaya, where the noodles, stir-fries and taco rice are accompanied by regular live music performances.
Shimauta Paradise. 4F, 7-14-10 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
8. Drop in on a catty bar
Be sure to say hello to the resident cat when you visit this most curious of bars, where you can have dishes like banana pizza to go with your cocktails.
Neko no Shippo. B1F, 4-8-8 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
9. Take in a museum with a view
The exhibitions are world-class, focused mainly on contemporary culture, but the secret of the Mori Art Museum's success is its location, on the 52nd and 53rd floors of Mori Tower.
Mori Art Museum. 52F-53F Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
10. Spice up your life
The name says it all, really: when you need spices, ghee, pickles and Bollywood DVDs, this well-stocked Indian supermarket opposite the Grand Hyatt Tokyo is the place to head.
Spice Home. 3-2-16 Nishi-Azabu. Map and opening hours
11. Go car crazy
Auto enthusiasts may find themselves reduced to a state of childlike glee in this self-proclaimed 'car life media shop', which stocks everything from toy miniatures to tools and accessories.
Le Garage. 1F Axis Bldg, 5-17-1 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
12. Delve into a bazaar of the bizarre
They practise a special kind of retail chaos at this 24-hour odds-and-sods shop, where the selections range from groceries to brand goods to fancy dress.
Don Quijote. 3-14-10 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
13. Indulge in some inarizushi
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. 7-14-4 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
14. Put a modern twist on tradition
Traditional Japanese craftsmanship gets a contemporary update at The Cover Nippon, the dream souvenir shop for people with impeccable taste and bottomless wallets.
The Cover Nippon. 3F Galleria, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-3 Akasaka. Map and opening hours
15. Tour a top art museum
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.
National Art Center, Tokyo. 7-22-2 Roppongi.Map and opening hours
16. Join the 99%
They claim that 99% of the customers at this old-school eatery order the tofu steak, served with bonito flakes on a sizzling hotplate. Try it once and you might understand why.
Ichioku. 4-4-5 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
17. Survey the Scotch scene
Few places in Tokyo can rival the Scotch selection at Cask, voted Bar of the Year in the 2007 Icons of Whisky awards – though you'll need an expense account to enjoy most of it.
Cask. B1F, 3-9-11 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
18. Chill out at the Cow
You might catch a jam session, stand-up comedy, art show or community get-together at this popular expat spot, recently relocated from its old home in Shibuya.
The Pink Cow. B1F Roi Bldg, 5-5-1 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
19. Hit an avant-garde hangout
A haven for adventurously minded Tokyoites, this basement venue hosts improv gigs, dance shows and Pecha Kucha nights – as well as serving the highly quaffable Tokyo Ale.
SuperDeluxe. B1F, 3-1-25 Nishi-Azabu. Map and opening hours
20. Catch a film – with your baby
The regular Mama's Club Theater screenings at Toho Cinemas are specially tailored to young parents, meaning you can take your baby to the movies, worry-free.
Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills. 6-10-2 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
21. Give yourself a Cinderella makeover
When you need to get glammed up – and fast – Dress Code has got you covered, with a wardrobe of luxury brand dresses and accessories that can be rented by the night.
Dress Code. 2-25-19 Nishi-Azabu. Map and opening hours
22. Stock up on saké
Nothing goes to waste at Kanazawa-based brewery Fukumitsuya: its Tokyo Midtown shop doesn’t just sell nihonshu, but also foods and skincare products derived from saké.
Fukumitsuya. B1F Galleria, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-4 Akasaka. Map and opening times
23. Get addicted to karinto
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. 1-7-9 Azabu-Juban. Map and opening hours
24. Seek out a backstreet art spot
Promising young artists from a range of disciplines get represented at this backstreet gallery, which has helped introduce the likes of Elizabeth Peyton to Japan.
Gallery Side 2. 3-3-5 Roppongi. Map and opening hours
25. Tour the world of rum
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. 2-15-14 Nishi-Azabu. Map and opening hours

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