Toranomon Superguide Part 1

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Name: Toranomon

Kind: Town

Where: 1-chome, 23-1~4, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Location: 35°39’55.04″ N 139°44’46.09″ E

Station: Toranomon Sta. on the Metro Ginza Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Yep.

Last updated 8/7/2020

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Be sure to see Part 2 of this guide.

Toranomon means ‘Tiger Gate‘ – in medevil times the area was the southernmost security point for the Imperial Palace.

Area Layout

Facing North – Toranomon Hills is the tall dark bldg. at the top, the main road (Rt. 405) runs north/south, and Shiodome area is at the bottom. APA Hotel Toranomon is in the center right of the frame, and First Cabin Atagoyama is on the center left. Tamiya Playmodel Factory is in the center, and Tokyo Tower is to the upper left, just out of frame. Further to the north is the Akasaka area and the central gov’t. Shimbashi Station if off to the lower right out of frame.

The Toranomon Incident

From Wikipedia:

“The Toranomon Incident (虎ノ門事件 Toranomon Jiken?) was an assassination attempt on the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan on 27 December 1923 by communist agitator Daisuke Namba”.

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills is the tallest building in Tokyo. That title is expected to be surpassed in 2022 when a new, taller complex in Toranomon is built. The complex is spectacular + includes an office tower, shops, and lots of restaurants. Behind the tower is a medical facility + an open space green park.

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Toranomon Hills, facing west. The tip of Tokyo Tower is just visible in the distance.

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There is a nice pastry shop on this side of the complex. At Halloween, the Japanese don’t play games.

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Entrance to Toranomon Hills.

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The park behind Toranomon Hills.

Looking east from Toranomon. Toranomon Hills is on the left.

Tamiya Playmodel Factory

Tamiya Playmodel Factory (pronounced ‘Tom-eee-ya‘, not ‘Ta-my-ya‘ is a nice small shop by Japanese plastic model maker Tamiya. There are lots of high quality models + supplies here, and some built dioramas of WW2 military scenes using the models. It’s right on the corner of the main street running north-south through Toranomon – Rt. 405.

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Tamiya Playmodel Factory in Toranomon @ 35°39’52.90″ N 139°45’17.96″ E. Usually open until around 9PM (21:00 in Japanese lingo).

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Racks of historical Tamiya military models.

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Slight Diversion – North/South: Akasaka + Shimbashi

If you head just south on 405 from Toranomon you will come into Shimbashi and just beyond that, Shiodome. Toranomon is within walking distance of both.

If you go the other direction – north – and make a few winding turns to the northwest you will come to one of Tokyo’s premiere areas – Akasaka. Akasaka is the area just to the west of Japan’s central government. In fact, you can see the Prime Minister’s office from there. The nearest Metro subway station to Akasaka is Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on the Ginza or Marunouchi Lines. There are several station exits – on Rt. 405 itself across from Bic Camera, one in the basement of Bic Camera in the .BelleVie shopping complex, and one just behind the government buildings. It’s a bit of a hike to Akasaka from Toranomon, but doable. There is also a newer Toranomon Hills Station (H06) as well – on the Hibiya Line. You can also change lines @ Toranomon Hills Sta. for the Ginza Line to Ginza, Ueno, and many other stops.

There is another station called Tameike-Sanno on the street behind the main street where the Akasaka-Mitsuke Station is. Either one works fine – if you get off at Tamieke-Sanno Station you’ll just have to walk a couple more blocks. Tameike-sanno Station is so-named because it also has an exit in the basement of the huge Sanno Park Tower – on whose top floor NTT DoCoMo has their headquarters. In the Sanno Park Tower basement there are also all kinds of restaurants, shops, and cafés. Sanno Park Tower is located on the corner of 405 and the side street where Tameike-Sanno Station is located.

As a footnote just across from Tameike-Sanno Station are two excellent hotels: APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. APA Pride is incredibly grand + it’s reasonable – off season around $70/night. But beware since it’s just behind the gov’t buildings, the gov’t will often take over the entire hotel for visiting international groups and cancel all guest reservations with only short notice. Still, it is an excellent place to stay. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is right next to APA Pride but it is orders of magnitude more upscale. It will cost you around $400/night but it’s incredibly deluxe. Both hotels make access to the main part of Akasaka easy.

Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on Rt. 405 in Akasaka.

Tameike-Sanno Station shown on Google Earth. The Ginza Line here can shoot you to the east side of Tokyo in minutes. The huge building in the distance is Akasaka Intercity Air. Just out of frame to the right across the street are APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. You can shoot down to Toranomon Station just one stop to the south from here on the Ginza Line. This photo faces south. The corner of the Prime Minister’s office bldg. is visible just under the street light.

The Akasaka view from the far end of the street shown in the previous photo looks like this – facing back north. Sanno Park Tower is just on the corner on the left. The small round circular area is an elevator entrance to subterranean shops + another station exit. The small brown bldg. just up the side street in the center is APA Pride hotel and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu just to the left of it. There is another station entrance across the street to the left out of frame in this photo. Bic Camera is out of frame up the main street to the left, also out of frame. A really interesting area in Akasaka is a small street behind the Bic Camera – it’s full of all sorts of restaurants, shops, and hotels. If you are on bike, you can ride all the way south from here, into Toranomon, and further south into Shimbashi/Shiodome.

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Prime Minister’s Office. APA Pride hotel + The Capitol Hotel Tokyu are just up the side street to the left.

Looking back south from Akasaka. Toranomon Hills is the tall tower in the distance.

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A spectaular sunset in fall cruising down Rt. 405 south on bike from Akasaka heading towards Toranomon. To the west (ahead) is Tokyo Tower just out of frame to the right. Japan is far enough north that in late fall the sun goes down around 3:30 PM.

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Inside the very swank Capitol Hotel Tokyu. A top 5-star hotel, but it will cost you. Oddly, there is even an upscale 7-11 in this hotel’s basement.

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Lobby.

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Tameike-Sanno Station entrance to the Maruonuchi Line in Capitol Hotel Tokyu‘s basement. The 7-11 is just to the right out of frame. This hotel is so deluxe even the subway entrance looks like a king’s palace.

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Bic Camera Akasaka. Just to the right in the .BelleVie complex is the Tokyo Metro subway entrance for the Ginza and Maruonuchi Lines:

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Just pop in + hang a right down the stairs to the basement – Metro signs are overhead on the right where the small colored circles are for each line. If instead you go straight ahead you’ll pop out on a charming little backstreet lined with all kinds of restaurants, shops, cafés, pastry shops, wine bars, noodle shops, izakaya, chocolatiers – you name it. Further down the street to the left is Akasaka SACAS + Tokyo Broadcasting System‘s HQ. The entrance to this street is roughly at 35°40’37.47″ N 139°44’11.90″ E.

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The charming little side street behind (west) of Bic Camera. Also shown below:

A spectacular day in Akasaka – the Akasaka SACAS/TBS complex is straight ahead. Toranomon is to the left (south).

Akasaka overall map – Sanno Park Tower, center, APA Pride Hotel/Prime Minister’s Office on the right, center, Bic Camera just out of view at the upper left corner. As a fun footnote the elevators up to the top-floor NTT DoCoMo HQ have to be seen to be believed – mostly glass, they shoot you up through the tower at incredible speed as the ground + building appear to drop out from under you. You can’t go in the offices, but you can go in their lobby + look around. Toranomon is to the right down the main street (southeast).

Sky view map: Tokyo Tower (left), Shinjuku center (far in the distance), Atago Green Hills Mori Tower, center right (see part 2), and Toranomon Hills tower, far right. This photo is facing northwest. Central Tokyo + the Imperial Palace are just a few more miles to the right (east), out of frame.

But now, back to Toranomon.

Looking south on Rt. 405 in Toranomon towards Shimbashi. Shiodome is the tall bldg. in the distance.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower is visible from Toranomon, and is well within walking distance just to the northwest.

UCC Coffee Academy Tokyo

Just down the street to the southwest is UCC Coffee Academy Tokyo where you can take coffee classes (in Japanese only, however). Also right next door is giant Family Mart conbini where you can grab a quick cheap breakfast.

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“In April 2007, UCC opened its UCC Coffee Academy, Japan’s only comprehensive educational institution specializing in coffee. The academy, which enables its students to learn about all aspects of coffee systematically and at their own level, is the repository of the coffee-related information, expertise, knowledge and skills accumulated over the years since UCC was first founded. It offers a variety of programs catering to all sorts of students, from those who simply have an interest in coffee to those who want to open their own coffee shops”.

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Also on this street is the HQ for Iwatani Corporation – makers of small tabletop gas stoves + other appliances.

Oki Printers HQ

Just to the west a few blocks is the world headquarters of Japanese printer maker Oki. Oki makes office printers, but in the 1980’s they were famous for a full-color ribbon-ink printer for Atari and Commodore personal computers called the Okimate 10 (which you can still find today on eBay in working condition).

Okimate 10 color printer from the 1980’s

Okimate 10 color print.

Atari 400 (1979) | Oldcomputr.com

Early Atari 400 Personal Computer circa 1980’s.

First Cabin Atagoyama

If you’re looking for a capsule hotel in Toranomon, look no further than First Cabin Atagoyama – a top-notch capsule hotel just to the southwest of Toranomon Hills. Prices in off-season run around $45-$55 and it’s quite nice. The hotel is located just to the west of the Tamiya Playmodel Factory a few blocks – on a side street.

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First Cabin Atagoyama. Oddly there is no lobby on the ground floor – go to the 5th floor instead.

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Inside First Cabin

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Just a block to the east of the First Cabin is this little Vietnamese noodle shop.

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It’s easy to eat breakfast cheap in Tokyo – in this case a tomagoyaki (fried egg) + a small BOSS Coffee from a conbini. Total: just over $2 USD.

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Don’t be afraid to explore the local side streets on foot.

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There is also a very nice Japan Post Office in the area.

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Well, that’s it for Part 1. Be sure to see Part 2 of this guide.

LINKS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toranomon

Toranomon Station

Toranomon Hills Station

Toranomon Hills – Wikipedia

Toranomon Hills Mori Tower

Okura Museum of Art

Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills

Aman Tokyo – Luxury Urban Hotel (A mere $1,000-$2,000 USD per night)

5 Things to Do in Toranomon

Oki Data C531dn Digital Color Printer

Tamiya 1/35 Military Miniature Series

BOSS Coffee

Capitol Hotel Tokyu Akasaka

https://whenin.tokyo/The-Tavern-Grill-Lounge-Toranomon-Hills

VIDS

Tokyo’s Toranomon Neighborhood View | General MacArthur Road

Toranomon Superguide Part 2

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

©2020 tenmintokyo.com

Name: Toranomon

Kind: Town

Where: 1-chome, 23-1~4, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Location: 35°39’55.04″ N 139°44’46.09″ E

Station: Toranomon Sta. on the Metro Ginza Line

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? Don’t miss it.

Last updated 8/7/2020

Page may take some time to load due to photos.

Be sure to see Part 1 of this guide.

For info on how to get here, also see Part 1.

A Few More Photos

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Facing north on Rt. 405 looking at Toranomon Hills at night. Note the spotless street pavement.

There are plenty of interesting side streets in Toranomon. Feel free to wander around + explore. If you head south on Rt. 405 towards Shimbashi, there’s a lot of good food + there’s also the Avant Cycles shop on the west side of the street.

Avant Cycles shop. High-end racing bikes. A bike is a must-have in Tokyo.

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Plenty of high-end Japanese shops fill the areamany of them with astonishingly good nighttime lighting.

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Caffé Veloce has a retro 1950’s vibe – but it’s known for not having the best coffee in Tokyo. It does have some pretty decent cheap food, though – such as hot dogs for around $2.00 USD.

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Just across from the main Toranomon Hills complex is the Good Morning Cafe + Grill. It’s right on the corner and has lots of open air outdoor seating. Be sure to give it a try. There is also one in Shibuya and Harajuku.

TREX Toranomon Café

Just behind Good Morning Cafe + Grill is TREX Toranomon Café + bike shop. You can rent bikes here – or take a paid bike tour around Tokyo. The bike shop is out front, and the café is in a smaller bldg. around the back. Both definitely worth a look.

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

More Good Stuff

Rt. 409 (Hibiya-Dori) which runs E-W + intersects Rt. 405 (the main street in Toranomon) has some interesting things to see + do. At the southwest corner of this intersection is The Monument of the Site of Asano Takuminokami’s death (Asano was involved in the famous medevial Japanese Legend of the 47 Ronin – which was made into a US film in 2013).

Directly across the street to the east of this is the SHINTORA-DORI CORE – a mixed used development which also has a huge coffee shop on the ground floor.

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SHINTORA-DORI CORE

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SHINTORA-DORI CORE

If you head west on Rt. 409, Ueshima Coffee Lounge No. 11 is at 35°39’45.62″ N 139°45’10.39″ E. They also have a wide variety of sandwhiches + other food. The Iwatani HQ mentioned in Part 1 is right across the street.

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Ueshima Coffee Lounge No. 11. The place is spotless. There are several of these around Tokyo – and one in Taipei also.

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Ueshima Coffee Lounge No. 11

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Rt. 409 (Hibiya-Dori) facing east. At night this is an interesting stroll. If you follow 409 far enough east for several miles, it will eventually take you to Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace.

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Stunning fall trees in Hibiya.

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Heading in the opposite direction – east – leads to this monster Family Mart + Miyamoto Drug.

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… and a Maruetsupetit organic supermarket.

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Facing south on Rt. 405 towards Shimbashi/Shiodome. Again, note the spotless pavement.

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There are all kinds of other interesting side streets/paths to explore.

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Even small side streets are usually clean + well-lit.

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Tokyo has spotless pavement – mainly because all plastic waste is collected, recycled, and plowed into new road pavement to make it rubbery + elastic so it doesn’t chip or crack. The plastic gets reused, and the country gets better roads. Brilliant. You rarely see any road gravel in Tokyo. The only downside is Japan hasn’t mastered bike lanes yet – as indicated by the double arrow + cyclist icons on the right.

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©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

Vending machines are good for quick, cheap drinks. You can now also pay electronically via IC railway cards such as Suica in most places. Suica also supports payment via smartphone or Apple Watch.

沖縄でもSuica利用へ、国交省が仕組み導入検討 「来県者に利便性 ...

Japan’s Suica electronic rail IC card. You add money to the card, then use it at electronic turnstyles at train stations to pay your fare. You can also use them at convenience stores and most vending machines.

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Another abandoned bike in Tokyo – an all too common occurrence.

Atago Green Hills Mori Tower

Just to the west of Toranomon Hills complex is Atago Green Hills Mori Tower – another mixed-use complex worth checking out at 35°39’50.56″ N 139°44’58.20″ E. This complex includes a huge park + a nice restaurant with a view of Tokyo looking down on Tokyo Tower. The NHK Museum of Broadcasting is also here.

Zojo-ji Temple

Further to the west down Rt. 403 just south of Tokyo Tower is world-famous Zojo-ji Temple. You can easily walk to it from Toranomon.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it for the Toranomon Superguide. We hope you found it useful. Enjoy your stay. You can easily spend a few days in the area and see everything. If you also want to see Shimbashi + Akasaka too, plan on a week or so for all 3. You can stay in one of the inexpensive hotels in Toranomon (such as APA), or one in Akasaka. There is also a First Cabin on a main street in Akasaka. It is conveniently located + has a Key’s Cafe embedded right inside it. There is also a Tully’s Coffee just around the corner. Or choose the very nice APA #215 Hotel Shimbashi Toranomon. If you do stay in Akasaka, be sure to check out the excellent Akasaka SACAS area.

Additional Photos

Looking east in front of Toranomon Hills.

There are lots of great restaurants and shops on the backstreets.

And some great restaurants under overpasses + between streets.

LINKS

New subway station opens near Tokyo’s Toranomon high-rise complex

SHINTORA-DORI CORE

Ueshima Coffee Lounge No. 11 @ cia.tokyo

Ueshima Coffee Lounge Taipei

Good Morning Cafe + Grill

TREX Toranomon Café

Saddle Up: Getting a Bicycle in Japan

Atago Green Hills

NHK Museum of Broadcasting

Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

Zojo-ji Temple

47 Ronin

Samurai Archives Japanese History Page

VIDS

Japan’s tallest Skyscraper planned in the Mori Toranomon-Azabudai Proj

Mori Construction is planning a new tower in Toranomon which will become Japan’s tallest.

https://www.rethinktokyo.com/news/2019/08/27/japans-tallest-skyscraper-revealed-mori-toranomon-azabudai-project/1566862334