Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tokyo Tourism: A Trip to Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills is a huge complex in Roppongi (funnily enough) that includes shops, restaurants, cinemas, an art museum, and an observation deck that offers a stunning view of the city. You can even get an English tour of the facilities (by reservation only). The construction of the complex apparently lastest 17 years, and it finally opened to the public in April 2003.

I went to Roppongi Hills for the first time this month. It was after a day spent wandering around Meiji Jingu and Harajuku and a dinner at Tony Roma's (famous for ribs), so there wasn't a lot of time to see the entire complex. I was able to see the observation deck and the art museum this time. I guess I will just have to make the trip down to Tokyo again sometime to see the rest.

The museum was showing a retrospective of a video artist named Bill Viola. I have to admit that my first impression of this show was "weird" and "I don't get it". I think I have a fairly open mind about art, but watching the initial pieces felt like a waste of my time. After a while, though, I found myself being drawn into the artist's world, and I felt like I didn't have enough time to enjoy the pieces fully. I had to get back to Tsukuba that night, so my nervousness about catching the last train out of Akihabara interfered with my appreciation of the artist's work. I ended up enjoying the show so much that I would even consider going back to the museum and paying the 1500 yen (which includes admission to the observation deck) to see it again at a more leisurely pace.

Bill Viola "Hatsu-Yume (First Dream)"
Venue: Mori Art Museum
Schedule: From 2006-10-14 To 2007-01-08
Open until 10pm on Tuesday 2nd Jan. 2007.
Address: Roppongi Hills Mori Tower (53F), 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-6150
Phone: 03-5777-8600

The concept of Roppongi Hills is that it is meant to allow people to "live, work, play, and shop in proximity". I'm not sure that many people will have enough money to live anywhere near Roppongi Hills, nor will many of us ever work for Goldman Sachs, TV Asahi, J-WAVE, or Yahoo! Japan, but there certainly are enough attractions for us to play and shop in proximity. I think a trip to Roppongi Hills should definitely feature into one of your jaunts to Tokyo during your time in Tsukuba.


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