Roppongi is a lively nightlife area in Tokyo popular with expats. The main road through the town is called Roppongi Dori and runs east-west. Another road at the major intersection shown below running north-south is called Gaien Higashi Dori. Both streets are strollable and provide endless things to do + see.
The central intersection in Roppongi on Roppongi Dori facing west. There are streets to the north + south (Gaien Higashi Dori), as well as the Roppongi Hills tower complex in the distance. East behind the camera down a long hill is the central gov’t area of Akasaka.
Roppongi area facing northeast. Roppongi Hills is in the lower left corner to the west, Akasaka is in the upper right corner. Roppongi Dori runs left to right (east-west), and the Imperial Guest House and gardens is in the upper left corner. In the far upper right corner is the western edge of the Imperial Palace. If you head further right out of frame, you’ll be in Hibiya and Marunouchi to the east.
Looking back east on Roppongi Dori. A bike ride down this long hill can be thrilling, after which you will arrive in Akasaka to the east.
One of Roppongi‘s biggest charms are its endless back streets + side streets. It seems around every corner there is something new to discover. There are also quite a lot of good restaurants hidden away. You’ll need to do some web research before you go.
There are also lots of small art galleries, specialty shops, dessert, and sushi places on the backstreets. Your options are nearly endless. The best way to discover is to walk around.
On the west side of Roppongi is the area’s biggest attraction: Roppongi Hills. Built several years back, the complex is the showplace of Roppongi. There’s a huge apartment/office complex, with a large shopping mall in the center + basement, as well as various other attached areas such as Roppongi Hat (see below), street-level dining, and 2 large condo complexes. You can walk to Roppongi Hills from any of the town’s streets. It’s well worth the time, so don’t miss it.
On the 3rd floor of Roppongi Hills is an entrance to the rooftop observatory (Tokyo City View) on the top floor as well as the Mori Art Museum (the complex was built by one of Japan’s biggest construction companies: Mori Construction).
Right on the street next to Roppongi Hills is a large round glass bldg. called Roppongi Hat. Mostly food + entertainment, there are lots of options here. The 2-story basement has loads of food in a huge food court.
Roppongi Dori looking west. Note the cheesy “bike lane”, which in Japan usually means nothing but a few symbols painted on the road.
Back behind Roppongi Hills is a hidden Japanese Gardern called Mohri Garden. You can stroll through the garden and enjoy the scenery. Fall is particularly spectacular.
Keyaki Hill + Illumination
Just west of the garden 1 block behind the TV Asahi building is a street named Keyaki Hill (Keyakizaka in Japanese) famous for its winter illumination with a direct view of Tokyo Tower in the distance. Keyaki is a Japanese hardwood used by artisans in Japan. The street is lined with these trees which makes for a spectacular winter light show during the cold months around Christmas/New Year’s. There is also a huge Tsutaya Books store just on the corner at the entrance to Keyaki Hill. The entrance to the street is around 35°39’33.28″ N 139°43’54.72″ E, although most people enter the street from the north end at night in order to get the direct view of Tokyo Tower in the distance.
Squirreled away and hidden just a block east of National Art Center, is Tokyo Midtown Roppongi. Like its counterpart in Hibiya to the east this Midtown complex has a lot to do + see. There’s a huge cinema, depatos (department stores), shops, a massive bakery, and lots of other stuff. There’s a huge central square with buildings on all sides. There are also hotels plus the Suntory Museum of Art (Suntory is a Japanese beverage company). If you’re in Roppongi, you won’t want to miss it.
For Book Lovers: Bunkitsu
Right on Roppongi Dori around 35°39’26.61″ N 139°44’37.12″ E is a really huge bookstore called Bunkitsu. If you’re into books, check it out.
A Few More Food Stops
Here’s a list of other potentially interesting food stops in Roppongi, but by all means, this list is not complete because Roppongi is full of hundreds of great food places.
Also check out Bistro Chick somewhere around 35°39’52.80″ N 139°43’48.87″ E.
Hotels + Hostels
Also in the Roppongi Hills complex is the fabulous, but very expensive Grand Hyatt Tokyo. Ultra-deluxe with hundreds of rooms, a stay will set you back several hundred dollars a night – in the off-peak season.
A very nice + inexpensive option is the brand new Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo-Roppongi around 35°39’39.91″ N 139°44’28.56″ E. Incredibly, off-season you can stay at this hotel as low as $29/night. It’s excellent. It also has a very nice lounge/café in the lobby.
As usual, APA hotels are a good option and the APA Hotel Roppongi SIX is excellent and is just up the street east from Sotetsu Fresa Inn. There is also another brand new APA hotel – APA Hotel Roppongi Eki-mae closer to Roppongi Hills around 35°39’44.11″ N 139°43’56.51″ E (“Eki-mae” means “At the station”). APA Hotels are always clean, cheap, quiet, and easy. You can’t go wrong.
A new gem built in 2020 right near the station + main intersection is remm Roppongi for around $70/night off-season, but it’s upscale + well worth it. There are a number of remm hotels all over Tokyo and they are all generally very good.
Comfort Inn Tokyo Roppongi is also a good cheap option around $40/night off-season.
A bit south of Sotetsu Fresa Inn around 35°39’42.91″ N 139°44’09.96″ E is another good option: Mitsui Garden Hotel Roppongi at around $80/night.
Roppongi has a few nice hostels as well + they are fairly cheap, off-season.
The Wardrobe Hostel Roppongi is around $25/night + has a kitchen.
If you’re willing to stay a bit to the east in Akasaka, there’s a nice little family-run hostel called Inno Family Managed Hostel. Tucked down a little quiet side street around 35°40’20.15″ N 139°44’23.23″ E, it has bunks, but also unique rooms with several large queen beds for multiple guests. It’s very clean + provides showers, lockers, and a shared lounge/kitchen area for cooking. Distance to Roppongi Hills is only around 1 mile.
For a complete list of good deals check agoda.com.
Well that’s it for now. You can have hours of fun cruising the streets in Roppongi, exploring its backstreets, or checking out Roppongi Hills. It would be easy to spend a couple days here and not see it all. Well worth a stop.
JR Itabashi Station is covered in Part 1. Shin-Itabashi Station is just a few blocks northwest of JR Itabashi Station. We’ll discuss it below.
First the JR Line. The main Itabashi station is on the JRSaikyo Line, and is between Jujo to the north, and Ikebukuro to the south. This is very advantageous – Ikebukuro is one of the biggest and most important interchange hubs on the JR lines, and can be used to route you to other parts of the city quickly – such as Eastern Tokyo (via Chuo Line), and south to Shinjuku. You can also get the Maronuchi Metro Line at Ikebukuro, which shoots you right into the heart of the Maronuchi district, or south to Shibuya. Itabashi is just far enough away to be inexpensive to stay at, but close enough to get to the major interchange stations in just a few minutes. In addition there is a lot to do in Ikebukuro itself, and if you stay in Itabashi you can sight-see in Ikebukuro without paying more for a hotel.
Shin-Itabashi Station is on the Toei Subway Line, and is just a few blocks from the main JR Itabashi Station. To get here, exit the main Itabashi Square area and head to the west side of JR Itabashi Station. There are several ways to do this – 1) Go through JR Itabashi Station, climb the stairs at the far end, exit at the top, head west, and into the square, 2) go through the small pedestrian tunnel at the south exit of the station, turn right on the first side street, and north into the square, or 3) walk north from the main Itabashi Square, then head west, then southwest down side streets to get to the square. The west/north side square is located at 35°44’47.04″ N 139°43’10.81″ E the main square is located at 35°44’43.10″ N 139°43’12.82″ E. The main station sits between them.
To get to the YorkMart, and station, head left (west) past this bldg. just west of the west square, which is to the right in this photo.
To get to the YorkMart, and station, head left (west) up this white-picketed street. The station is just up on the left 1 block.In early fall in Tokyo, the weather is usually still quite nice and summer-like.Just to the left of this is a large Maruetsu grocery store as well.
We won’t cover the Naka-Itabashi Station because it’s several miles to the west, but it’s interesting nonetheless. It’s also on the Tobu Tojo Line. There is also a nice shopping street + cafés around the station. There’s also a vast long walkway along a small tributary river which you can walk all the way back into central Itabashi. In fact, this waterway runs all the way back east to the Arakawa River, which empties to the south into Tokyo Bay.
South to Ikebukuro
Before we get to Itabashi’s main attractions, as a footnote, note that Ikebukuro is just to the south. Itabashi is so close to Ikebukuro, you can walk there. It’s less than 1.5 miles. Or of course, you can take the JR Saikyo Line 1 stop south. To walk, get to the east square outside JR Itabashi Station, head south past the koban, past the APA Hotel, and follow the street all the way east to Rt. 305. Once on 305, head south (right), and walk to Ikebukuro. Very short and easy walk.
Itabashi is small Japanese town, and there aren’t any big, spectacular attractions. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do, and nothing to see. In fact, the town is quite charming with shopping streets, and a main walk all the way to Sugamo to the south along the Nakasendo Hwy, as mentioned above. There are 6 main areas: 1) the area to the east of the station where the main square is, with shops and cafés, 2) the area on the west side of the station, also with side streets + shops/restaurants/cafés. 3) the large shopping street to the north of the Nakasendo Hwy– well worth a look. Lots of charming cafés along this walk. There is also a huge Life Supermarketalong this street, 4) the Nakasendo Hwy itself – which you can walk all the way to the south to Sugamo, and beyond that, Tokyo Dome City, 5) Happy Road Oyama Shopping Street, 6) Sugamo Jizodori Shopping Street.
Let’s take these 1-by-1:
East Square + Shops
Outside the JR Station east exit is a small park with new benches, a fountain, and lots of shops and cafés around the area. On the street to the south are several cafes, and there are restaurants to the north including a big Italian place. There is also a nice Lawsonconbini at the square where you can get some food to take back to the hotel/square, although eating in public is frowned on by the Japanese in general. There’s a also a new small public toilet in the square.
If you head right outside the east square, there are lots of side streets + things to explore. 2 blocks to the north is an east-west street which leads to the west square on the other side of the station. To the right is a small 7-11 and supermarket, along with a lot of other shops. To the south, a nice large Family Martconbini. If you go farther east to the next main north-south street and turn right, you can get to Ikebukuro in less than 2 miles.
Looking north just outside the east square. Lots of restaurants and shops. If you head left at the 2nd light above, you’ll come to the west square. There is also a 7-11 and small supermarket just a few blocks to the right.The Lawson is just to the left before the 1st light.
East-west road from west square outside Itabashi Station. Turn right here, then right again to get to the south/east side of the station.The CO-OP grocery on the corner is quite good and inexpensive. Just above that is a Gusto Café.
More nice local restaurants and shops on the east side.
Explore the area to the east of the station – side streets and interesting things around every corner. If you go far enough east, you’ll come to Rt. 305, which leads to Ikebukuro to the south.
Also on the east side – further east beyond the shops – is the Toden Arakawa Line – better known to locals as the Sakura Tram – and is one of the last small-scale functioning trams in Japan. You can buy a ticket at the station, and ride a loop line around Tokyo and back. The tram has huge windows – giving a vast and clear view of the surrounding area.
West Square and Streets
To the west of the station is another central square, with side streets with lots of shops, restaurants, cafés. If you walk far enough west down the side streets from here, you’ll find the YorkMart grocery store. There is another large grocery (CO-OP) on the corner on the north side of the block the square is in too. To get here, exit JR Itabashi Station at the west exist, and head straight ahead.
A pano of the west square – west exit from the JR Itabashi Station on the left, square in the center, around to the bike locker on the right. Turning right beyond the bike locker takes you down a road to the east side of the station.The large organic grocery (CO-OP) is the orange building shown on the right to the north of the bike locker. The bike locker here is paid, but fairly cheap – around 400¥ for 16 hours. If you leave a bike here, you’ll need to feed the parking machine once a day.
View from the west side square. Side streets are in the center. There is also a nice café on the corner. A Welcia drug store is also down this street. To get to the YorkMart grocery store, head down the street to the left, turn right at the next intersection, then west up the street.
The west square at night. The Maruju Café on the corner is quite good.
Another restaurant on the backstreets on the west side.
Just to the east of the CO-OP grocery, across the railroad tracks is a large TSUTAYA record shop. If you continue right from here for a block, then right again, you will come to the east square.
At 35°45’00.43″ N 139°42’48.55” E along the Nakasendo Hwy, a long shopping street splits off to the west. It’s well worth a look and goes on for miles. To enter, look for the 1950’s-style Gusto Café on the right, and the PerconaBank on the left. This is where the entrance is. To get to this entrance from the city square, head north on side streets from the station, cross the Nakasendo Hwy, and get onto the sidewalk on the north side. Head west. Keep walking several blocks, until you find the entrance. There is also a nice Family Mart along this area. This street has all kinds of shops and nice cafés like something you’d find in Europe. There is also a huge Japan Post Office here.
Shopping street entrance. Nakasendo Hwy is just on the left. This is facing northwest.
Nakasendo Hwy facing west.There are also sidewalks for peds and bikes.
There are plenty of nice cafés along the street you can visit.
There are all sorts of old interesting things to see along the shopping street.In this case, an old Japan Post residential mailbox.
An old abandoned bike along the shopping street – with a warning telling the owner to remove it. This has been sitting here at least 10 years, maybe 20.Probably once a young girl’s bike – now since long moved on.The ghosts of the past.
Starting at approx. 35°44’54.94″ N 139°43’17.21″ E – just north of the town center in Itabashi, you can go all the way southeast on the Nakasendo Hwy – stop in Sugamo, then beyond down to Tokyo Dome City (TDC). It’s only a few miles + walkable in a few hours. On bike, about 25 mins. Very easy. A nearly straight shot.
There are a few gotchas – such as the road split about 1/2 way to TDC which you must be aware of – we covered that in another post about biking from Itabashi to TDC. Don’t forget the Japanese drive on the left so it’s a good idea to stay on the left sidewalk side of the road.
The city has installed a new bike lane on part of the road near the universities area north of Tokyo Dome, so that part is easy and safe – but sometimes delivery trucks will park in the new bike lane – so be careful.
From Itabash Station, walk north ’til you hit Nakasendo Hwy – you can’t miss it since it’s a huge 2-lane street. You may want to cross to the north side of the street once on the sidewalk, then head right (south).
There are 3 main areas on the way: central shops and sidewalk to Sugamo, Sugamo area + station itself (there’s another nice APA Hotel in Sugamo), road split + university area after Sugamo, and Tokyo Dome City/Bunkyo Civic Center at the end. Along the way there are all kinds of restaurants and shops – including a MOS Burger, and Freshness Burger. There is also a very nice chocolatier shop near the Freshness Burger – just south of it on the same side of the street, in fact.
So…. here’s how to go:
First you’ll go south on the Nakasendo Hwy for a long way. There’s not much to mention here – lots of ordinary high-rise apartments, and some shops. This part looks like this:
This part goes on for quite a way – keep going.
After a while you’ll come into an area with more shop/gas stations/food/retail:
Keep going – head past this + just keep heading south.
After a while you’ll come to a similar area with a MOS Burger on the left, then critical split in the road, which you must take. If you don’t, you’ll end up way to the east on Old Hakusan-Doriwhich will lead you away from TDC. We show both below:
As a footnote – if you turn left on the next street immediately after the MOS Burger, you end up in Komagome – another small Japanese town.At the end of that street is world-famous Rikugien Gardens (See links + vids below).
Now the critical split: just on the right, you’ll see the area shown below with a weird split in the street – there’s a light on the right, with a bike lane about 5 ft. long, then another street, then another sidewalk across the street. This photo is facing southwest:
Wait for the crosswalk signal, then proceed across.
Old Hakusan-Dori goes off to the left. You don’t want that – you want to cross to the other side where you see the people standing, then immediately follow the sidewalk south again (left, or south). This puts you back on Hakusan-Dori south heading towards TDC. Don’t miss this crossing, or you’ll be lost!
If you’re on bike, you’ll want to turn right at the corner shown above because the bike parking lot is 1 block to the right, across from Bunkyo Civic Center. If you’re on foot, you’ll want to continue south for 1 block, then cross at the light and head right into TDC area.
Footnote: if you head left at the intersection shown above, in just a few miles you’ll be in Ueno. If you head left at the next block south shown above, you’ll end up in Akihabara. Both are less than 1 hour’s walk.
Bunkyo Civic Center. The bike parking lot is just behind it to the right.Also behind BCC is Korakuen Station – one of the most critical stations on the Maronuchi Metro subway line.The round top area of the bldg. is a free observation deck with some of the best views in Tokyo.
Marunouchi Line map. The current station is shown in red. The small colored circles on the line map indicate interchange stations to other lines. Text is both English and Japanese.Some stations, such as Akasaka-Mitsuke are critical interchanges to major lines such as Ginza and Namboku.The arrows indicate the name + number of the next + previous stations on the line.
There are all kinds of shops along both sides of the streets. Restaurants, and a British “The Hub” pub on the corner at the light. Just to the south of that is Meets Port – another shopping area that is part of TDC.
Well, you made it. Enjoy Tokyo Dome City – there are all kinds of things to do here – rides, restaurants, a grocery store, shopping mall, coffee, and a baseball museum. Nana’s Green Tea matcha parlour is not to be missed in the LaQua mall area. There is also a nice Don Quijote discount store right across the street. There is a luxury hotel as well as a First Cabin capsule hotel right in TDC.
As a footnote if you head just another block south, you’ll come to Suidobashi Station. See our other article on things to explore around the Suidobashi Station area. That article also covers how to make the trip entirely on bike.
Enjoy your time in Itabashi! We hope this guide makes your visit easier and enjoyable.