Roppongi Hills: of giant spiders and Pokemons

 

Are Pokemons abundant around it’s company’s headquarters? If so, it’s at the Roppongi Hills in Tokyo the game addicts need to be. If not, there are lots of good reasons why you should visit the place.

Roppongi Hills is the affluent section of Roppongi (literally translates to “six trees” and coined in 1660 because of the six very old and large zelkova trees used to mark the area) and is regarded as a city within a city. From drawing board to construction, it took 17 years for the concept to complete. In 2003, the Roppongi Hills development project was opened to the public.

For the first time the mega-complex brought high-end office space, condominiums, boutiques, cafes and restaurants, a hotel and a museum, an observation deck and many more to Roppongi. It was a major economic boost the area received.

To be honest, I was after the Maman, the giant spider sculpture of Louise Bourgeois. The first time I caught glimpse of the 10-meter arachnid artwork was in Bilbao at the Guggenheim Museum back in 2006. It would be good to see one of its sisters, which resides permanently at the concourse of the Mori Tower as part of the collection of the Mori Art Museum.

 

Giant spider sculpture at Roponggi Hills
Maman, Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider at the concourse of the Mori Tower

 

Speaking of Mori Tower, the 54-storey edifice is the centerpiece of the complex is named after the tycoon who masterminded the development, Minoru Mori. His vision of creating an integrated development was realized at Roppongi Hills.

 

Centerpiece of Roppongi Hills
The Mori Tower, the centerpiece of the complex that boosted the areas economic status

 

In the high-rise inner-urban neighborhood, people can live and work, shop and play. Minus the commuting time, there is an increase of time for leisure, thus improving quality of life.

I knew nothing of the area except for the spider. Yes, I’m guilty of not doing any research before heading off to the area. Luckily, I did not need to stray far from the sculpture to find the points of interest around the Mori Tower.

A few steps away is the entrance the Mori Art Museum, which I only found out after several selfie shots at the spiral staircase (which was the Museum Cone) that lead to the third floor ticket counters. Fate had its way of working to my advantage.

 

Entrance to Mori Art Center Roppongi
A dozen selfie shots on the spiral staircase of this glass structure before realizing it was the Museum Cone, the way to the Mori Art Museum

The ticket counter not only sells entrance passes to the contemporary art museum at the 60th floor, but to the Tokyo City View Observation Deck and the open air Sky Deck at the rooftop.

 

Selfie at the stairs of the Museum Cone
A selfie spot that lead to a great discovery

 

I believe I spent half of my day inside the tower, which was time well spent among the artworks of the museum and the magnificent view of Tokyo and beyond.

 

Bjorn Dahlem's Black Hole (M-Spheres) at Mori Art Museum
Black Hole (M-Spheres). Bjorn Dahlem reinterprets the Milky Way in his art installation.

 

A section of the 360 degree view of Tokyo
A commanding view of Shinjuku on this side of the Sky Deck

 

Before I made my way to the subway, I took a peek at the shopping area and the Mori Garden, a verdant oasis between the skyscrapers of Roppongi Hills.

 

Pink pig with wings at Roppongi Hills
When pigs fly. “Love Me” by Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa seen at the Roppongi Hills West Walk 2F Southern Atrium

 

Roppongi Hills art
Art is up and about. Roppongi Hills is fashioned to be a hip neighborhood with its regular calendar of art & music events

 

Now, how did I miss the TV Asahi Headquarters in the complex? Well, that’s something to see on my next visit.

Back to Pokemon. I forgot to mention that I don’t play the game.

 

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit www.ofapplesandlemons.com & www.jeepneyjinggoy.com

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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