Roppongi is located in the Minato Ward and is famous for its nightlife. The signature orange Tokyo Tower anchors the neighborhood where most of the bars, restaurants, and night clubs are, and provides an excellent point of reference as it is visible from everywhere. If you have visited Tokyo Tower, you will find many options for Roppongi nightlife only about a fifteen-minute walk away.
Off and on over the years, Roppongi nightlife has had a more or less deserved reputation for the kind of crime that foreigner’s are prone to in large cities late at night when they have been drinking too much—wherever they are in the world. However, there are a large number of reputable places to spend your time safely partying, and some basic precautions will help keep you safe. The 2003 opening of the vast high-end, multi-use shopping, entertainment, and dining complex called Roppongi Hills has recently given the district some respectability. Additionally, there are some excellent luxury hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton and the Tokyo Prince Hotel located here.
The Gas Panic Roppongi is one of the district’s many clubs and bars that has contributed to the area’s unsavory reputation. The club has been raided for violating the sex and liquor laws of the country, as have other less savory clubs. This is actually a chain of nightclubs, and you can find a less boisterous one in the Shibuya District. Nonetheless, there are many reputable clubs, including the longstanding Hard Rock Cafe.
Some guidelines for enjoying Roppongi nightlife include simply using your common sense, as you would in any unfamiliar city. Don’t be coaxed into going into unknown bars with strangers you have met on the street, don’t carry valuables, and watch your purse. Women should not wander the streets alone after dark. In most of the clubs, the ground and first floors are places where foreign tourists can have fun; stay away from upper floors. Many clubs require a photo identification. Gas Panic Roppongi and a few other clubs have been known to require that you have a drink in your hand at all times, so watch your alcohol intake. Kabukicho, the notorious Tokyo Red Light District, actually poses more hazards for unwary tourists.
Roppongi-Dori is the broad main avenue just outside of the train station. This is a good route for above-ground transportation, and there are numerous buses that travel between Roppongi and the nearby Shibuya District, also known for its nightlife.
There are plenty of things to do in Roppongi other than dance, drink, and party all night. Many tourists and residents are drawn to the Roppongi Hills complex. It is set near the train station along Roppongi-Dori (dori means avenue). Here, you will find numerous upscale dining spots and elegant boutiques, shops, and galleries. One of the city’s many museums, one of its observatories (both inside the Mori Tower), and one of its luxury hotels (the Grand Hyatt) can be found here. There are also parks and gardens and an open-air amphitheater where concerts and other events are held.