Roppongi Hills and the Tokyo City View

29 Aug

On our last full day in Tokyo we decided to try to see the city from above even though it had turned cloudy and was threatening to rain.  There is a newer tower – the Tokyo Sky Tree, but we went for the old standard – the Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills.

Roppongi Hills is a high end shopping mall/residential complex in the heart of the city.  The upscale stores are framed by sculptures and modern art.  We did a little window shopping as we made our way to buy our tickets inside.  One of the unique elements in the complex is an enormous metal spider that takes over the entrance.  Of course – I had to get a picture with it!

What a spider!

What a spider!

I think I could be swallowed alive!  Look how long the legs are!

I think I could be swallowed alive! Look how long the legs are!

We decided we didn’t need to go all the way to the top for the open air view – it is really high and instead made our way to the glassed in viewing area on the 52nd floor.

Tokyo City View

Tokyo spread out below us – I could see the density of the city – the number of high rise buildings – small swimming pools on the top of some, others with gardens – trying to capture every single inch of space.

Green - in patches

Green – in patches

To the northwest a large park spread across the city – an expanse of green among the man-made structures.  Like Central Park in New York or People’s Park in Shanghai – the green becomes an oasis in the center of the city.

The helpful guide to the sights (in Japanese)

The helpful guide to the sights (in Japanese)

Different views pulled me in as I snapped photos. I even noticed the buildings under construction.  Because of the density, renovating a building is more dangerous in Tokyo than other cities.  That means that keeping all pollution – noise as well as materials – low is key.  The buildings are wrapped as tight as presents and then the construction can be done without disturbing the neighbors.

A main highway - flanked by tall buildings

A main highway – flanked by tall buildings

I enjoyed my visit up to the Tokyo City View and would recommend it for anyone who wants to see Tokyo from high above.

Posing over 50 floors up

Posing over 50 floors up

What do you notice high in the sky?  I realize I have been to towers all over the world now – Tokyo, Shanghai, Taiwan, Chicago, New York, Paris… What next?

17 Responses to “Roppongi Hills and the Tokyo City View”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia August 29, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    I especially love the last pic! 🙂

    • gkm2011 August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Thanks – have to give the credit for that one to my friend!

  2. ladyofthecakes August 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    I saw those spiders in 2001 in New York, very impressive. I didn’t realise they moved about…!

    • gkm2011 August 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      There have been several other comments about the spiders – seems that they have been all over!

      • ladyofthecakes August 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

        Eeeeeek! That’s just made my flesh crawl!!!!

  3. pollyheath August 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    So interesting about Japanese construction tactics — sounds like they’ve got it down to a science!

    There’s apparently a sushi place in Moscow City (the new, monstrous building complex in Moscow) that has the best view of the city. It’s technically invite-only but apparently you can bluff your way in. I haven’t yet been brave enough to try… Maybe you’d like to take a chance…?

    • gkm2011 August 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      I figure after living in China for so long I should be able to bluff my way in. I just need to be clueless enough that they really believe my friends are inside!

  4. Sherri August 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Fascinating, loved the photos and just like pollyheath I was so interested to read about the construction precautions in Tokyo, but it does make sense! How about The Shard in London? It literally does look just like a massive shard of glass sticking out of the ground and towering way up in to the sky!

    • gkm2011 August 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      The Shard – that’s a great name! I haven’t been in London for over 10 years, but if there is a trip in my future I will check it out.

      • Sherri August 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

        Well worth it! The Shard has only recently been completed and is very, very different to all the other buildings in London 🙂

  5. expatlingo August 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Funny! That same artist has a big spider in Bilbao, Spain too! (that’s where I thought you were when I first saw the photo).

    • gkm2011 August 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

      I haven’t been to Spain in over 11 years now, can’t believe how quickly time passed. Would love to go back, but at least I saw the spider in Tokyo!

  6. lunaflorencia August 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    I just revisited Roppongi Hills today for the first time in a while. Such a great part of the city and that view is always incredible! I hope you enjoyed Tokyo.

    • gkm2011 August 30, 2013 at 6:58 am #

      I had a great trip, much enhanced because my friend speaks Japanese. I would love to go back if opportunity presents.

  7. roseglace September 8, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    your spider (or one much like it) lives near me. the one near me is named ‘Maman’:

    • gkm2011 September 9, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      That’s neat – so many of them! I think this one is the one by the Mori Art museum so they are a set.


  1. The 9th quarter review | 中国 Jumble - October 17, 2013

    […] Roppongi Hills & Tokyo City View – a post on my visit to Tokyo in May and getting swallowed by a spider (not […]

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