Roppongi Hills

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Roppongi Hills
Roppongi Hills 2013-12-01.jpg
Roppongi Hills as seen from Tokyo Tower
Roppongi Hills
General information
Location Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Coordinates 35°39′36″N139°43′48″E / 35.66000°N 139.73000°E / 35.66000; 139.73000 Coordinates: 35°39′36″N139°43′48″E / 35.66000°N 139.73000°E / 35.66000; 139.73000
Construction started2000
OpeningApril 25, 2003
Owner Mori Building
Roof Mori Tower: 238 m (781 ft) [1]
Residences B and C: 159 m (522 ft)
Grand Hyatt Tokyo: 80.5 m (264 ft)
Technical details
Floor countMori Tower: 54
Residences B and C: 43
Grand Hyatt Tokyo: 21
Floor areaTotal: 724,000 m2 (7,790,000 sq ft) [2]
Design and construction
Architect Kohn Pedersen Fox [1]

Roppongi Hills (六本木ヒルズ, Roppongi Hiruzu) is a development project in Tokyo and one of Japan's largest integrated property developments, located in the Roppongi district of Minato, Tokyo.


Constructed by building tycoon Minoru Mori, the mega-complex incorporates office space, apartments, shops, restaurants, cafés, movie theatres, a museum, a hotel, a major TV studio, an outdoor amphitheatre, and a few parks. The centerpiece is the 54-story Mori Tower. Mori's stated vision was to build an integrated development where high-rise inner-urban communities allow people to live, work, play, and shop in proximity to eliminate commuting time. He argued that this would increase leisure time, quality of life, and benefit Japan's national competitiveness. Seventeen years after the design's initial conception, the complex opened to the public on April 25, 2003. The architecture and use of space is documented in the book Six Strata: Roppongi Hills Redefined. [3]

The development

Roppongi Hills cost over $4 billion and is built on a 27-acre (109,000 m²) site. The site amalgamated more than 400 smaller lots Mori acquired over 14 years. [4] [5]

Mori Tower

Roppongi Hills West Walk shopping arcade Roppongi Hills West Walk Shopping Arcade 2013.jpg
Roppongi Hills West Walk shopping arcade
Roppongi Hills Mori garden Roppongi Hills Mori Garden 2013.JPG
Roppongi Hills Mori garden
TOHO cinemas TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills 201306.jpg
TOHO cinemas

Mori Tower is a 54-story high-rise building designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox that houses an art museum, restaurants, cafes, clinics, stores, the offices of Allen & Overy, Barclays Capital, Ferrari Japan, Goldman Sachs, J-WAVE, Konami, Time Inc., Chevron, BASF, Lenovo, Mercari, Baidu, GREE, BP, SAS Institute and Google. The Pokémon Company has its headquarters in the Mori Tower. [6]

Artwork displayed at Tokyo's Roppongi Hills: In 2005, the United Buddy Bears exhibition attracted 3 million visitors. Tokyo 2005, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower.JPG
Artwork displayed at Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills: In 2005, the United Buddy Bears exhibition attracted 3 million visitors.

The first six levels of Mori Tower contain retail stores and restaurants. The top six floors house the Mori Art Museum and the Tokyo City View with panoramic views of the city. A new exit from Roppongi Station empties into a glass atrium filled with large television screens and escalators, as well as several shops and restaurants. The rest of the building is office space.

Other buildings

Keyakizaka illumination Roppongi Keyakizaka -01.jpg
Keyakizaka illumination

Around the Mori Tower are several smaller buildings predominantly occupied by shops and restaurants, a cinema complex, and the Mori Garden. Behind the Mori Tower lies the Roppongi Keyakizaka Street which has cafes and luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton. Nearby are the four Roppongi Hills Residences towers, with a total of 793 luxurious and very expensive residential apartments. [7]

Large open spaces have been built into the design of Roppongi Hills. About half of the area consists of gardens, pavilions, and other open spaces. The Mohri Garden, an elaborate and authentic Japanese garden complete with a pond and trees is particularly popular. The Mohri Garden is a part of a lost mansion that housed members of the feudal Mohri clan. [8]

On Roppongi Hills the exhibition of the United Buddy Bears was shown in 2005 for the first time in Japan. The exhibition was opened by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Horst Köhler, together with the Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi. According to the Mori-Group, project partners in Tokyo, they were able to count three million visitors over the six weeks of the exhibition. [9]

The American School in Japan's Early Learning Center is housed in a residence building next to the Hills, the Roppongi Sakura-zaka Residence. [10] A playground adjacent to the complex, near the school, is known in English as Robot Park and has robot-themed play equipment.

Criticism and conflict in Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills Arena is a facility with large outdoor speakers, in proximity to older housing. Since the construction of the Roppongi Hills development, complaints of noise pollution from older residents have been ignored by Mori Building management, according to residents. The building most directly suffering from noise is on top of an embankment opposite the Arena. Residents say several residents have been forced out by the noise. [11] [12]

Henry Hilton of the Japan Today news aggregator website criticised the development when he argued:

Yet the truth is that the crowds are unlikely to return once they have been exhausted by the charade of inconvenient walkways that appear almost intentionally to confuse all but those with perfect map navigational skills. The whole maze is far from being user friendly—don't count on full protection from autumn showers or sudden gusts of wind generated by the buildings themselves. [13]

Financial issues

Roppongi Hills residences Roppongi Hills Residences 201306.jpg
Roppongi Hills residences

Mori Building has financed the project with $800 million equity and $1.3 billion in debt from a syndicate of banks led by the Development Bank of Japan. As a result, the company's overall debts are $5.6 billion, secured by billions more in assets.

Goldman Sachs & Co., the project's anchor tenant, attracted deep discounts in rental prices because of the large amount of space it occupies. Japan's sluggish economy, staff cuts by foreign companies, and the flow of new office space have put downward pressure on rents.

Because of eminent domain law in Japan, several past residents of the site that would be Roppongi Hills have been given residential units in the complex in return for their agreement to vacate their prior homes, so that their prior homes would be demolished and the land used for the development of Roppongi Hills.


The Tokyo Midtown, a more recent mixed-use development project in Tokyo, is built less than a kilometer from the borders of Roppongi Hills. As it will incorporate Tokyo's tallest building, a sizable park, and a museum, in addition to a complex of residential and offices, it was expected that this project would increase the competition for customers upon the opening. However, as of January 2008, the Tokyo commercial real estate market is still suffering from insufficient capacity and occupancy rates throughout the city are at record highs.

See also

Jerde-associated architectural projects in Japan:

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  11. Archived October 14, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
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