More Roppongi: National Art Center and Tokyo Midtown

I don't go to Roppongi much, but when I do I try to find something new each time.
 North of Roppongi Station, the National Art Center is the largest art museum in Japan. As you can see, the building itself is massive.There is a spacious lobby with large windows that feels open.
 Multiple floors have several large galleries each, and each gallery can hold headlining special exhibitions. I went twice in the period of a month, first viewing an exhibition of photography by Andreas Gursky, whose photography is similar to the kinds of "artsy" pictures I sometimes take. I should note that I didn't know who he was and I hadn't seen his work before going to the exhibition but was lucky enough to receive some free tickets. The other exhibition was a collection of American pop art, including several Warhol originals. I really enjoy modern/contemporary art and pop art is no different.
 Exhibitions here can be hit or miss based on your taste, because I don't see any current or future exhibitions that interest me. From the building, it's just a short walk to Tokyo Midtown.
 The final approach from the art museum follows a nice narrow park with a couple wide paths and some water features.
 The path is tree-lined and quite popular, despite the pictures.
 I'm sure kids love playing in the water when it's hot outside.
 Closer to Midtown, there is a portion of the stream where people can soak their feet. I think you have to pay for the privilege, though I think it is hot spring fed.
 The closer you get to the Midtown complex, the more interesting the green space becomes, as you start seeing some sculptures.
 A large open area had a bunch of exciting activities last fall. They had admission costs, of course.
 There was a rappelling tower. And I think a rock climbing wall.
 They also had a zip line! I'd be interested in them if they were longer, higher, and more exciting.
 There's also a nice park similar to parks in San Francisco with a small path and grass that's great for sitting and chatting.
 One side of the park has a few kids structures.
 Look for the lonely statue in a corner.
 A pleasant surprise, especially in the summer heat.
 Tucked on the side of Midtown Garden is a free Japanese garden, called Hinochiko Park.
 There's a nice small lake and pavilion area.
 The view out over the lake is much nicer, of course.
 Cat tails grow on the water's edge.
 A small path leads around the lake, offering many unique views.
 Most Japanese gardens have lakes, but they're very open. This one almost has a forest feel, as you sometimes lose sight of the lake despite not getting very far from it.
 Another unique view from the bridge over the waterfall. It's a nice escape from the city.

What about Tokyo Midtown itself? Well, there's nothing special that I can show you. Midtown Tower is the tallest building in Tokyo, with a Ritz-Carlton hotel on the top floors and some restaurants and shops at the top and bottom. Galleria is your standard indoor mall, with a very luxurious feel and luxurious stores inside. And the Suntory Museum of Art has a few exhibitions every year.
 While in Roppongi, in the Hibiya Line station, I noticed something I've seen a few times: a door. Well, of course there are millions of doors in Japan, but this one is special.
 It is next to an open walkway. I see these fairly often in stations and stores, and while they are never used during normal traffic flow, in an emergency such as a fire or earthquake I'm guessing a fireproof door closes over the main walkway, and the other door becomes the emergency exit.
Finally, I'll share with you this strange creature. It's quite large, certainly bigger than the spoon portion of a tablespoon. It's a moth of some kind, and it was quite bold to be wandering around on the street in broad daylight. My guess is it was about to die for whatever reason.

The oddity fan in me wanted to keep it and do something with it - mount it for display, perhaps? But I'm no bug collector and I have enough junk as it is.

Tokyo Midtown is located just north of Roppongi Station - the Oedo Line gives easy access, while it takes about five minutes to get there from the Hibiya Line station at Roppongi Crossing. The National Art Center is about 10-15 minutes from the stations and Tokyo Midtown. The art museums are open from 10 AM to 6 PM, and the mall stores are usually open 11 AM to 9 PM, restaurants usually 11 AM to midnight. Of course, Roppongi is a major nightlife district, and Tokyo Midtown is just north of it, where you'll find tons of restaurants and clubs open all night.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That odd critter would be a cicada. We had a ton of those this past year. Usually when we see them around here, they're green with mostly clear wings. At night, you hear them by the thousands, droning on and on.

  3. Ahh. I don't think I have ever seen one before. I hear them, that's for sure. They are quite loud, and I remember them in Georgia in the summer too.