The large Tokyo Midtown complex has some nice Nebuta decorations going on right now, by all means pop in and have a look if you have the time! Nebuta is a famous festival from Japan’s northern Aomori prefecture and is famous for its large colorful and lit paper sculptures. Neighboring Akita prefecture is also represented in the interesting traditional take on pole dancing. In this case it is not ladies balancing on poles, but rather large poles balancing on men!
Tokyo Midtown is one of the most upscale shopping complexes in Tokyo and they often have interesting exhibitions and decorations going on. The Nebuta festival is one of my favorites and there is even a mini version in western Tokyo’s Tachikawa City that I have blogged about earlier.
If you happen to be in or around Tokyo’s Midtown in Roppongi you might be interested in seeing the (very) short light show at the Godzilla statue on display until the end of August. Every hour and half hour from 1900, for a couple of minutes, smoke, light and scary roaring is turned on, much to the enjoyment of the (mostly kids) people there to see it. As I was crouched down in front of the statue during the show it was actually difficult to hear the sound effects over the noise of the excited kids screaming in unison with the great beast herself, or at least the 6.6m tall scale model.
Tokyo Midtown is easy to reach on the Toei Oedo subway line, Roppongi station, or the Hibiya line Roppongi station or even the Nogizaka station on the Chiyoda line.
Tokyo finally got a slightly larger Godzilla statue last week, due to the promotion of the latest Godzilla move. A smallish statue has been erected in the Tokyo Midtown’s park, and it is open to the public from morning to night every day, with a very short smoke and light show at night (pictures from that to come later on!).
You might have seen the smaller bronze Godzilla in Hibiya or even been to the actual spot where Godzilla fist steps onto Japanese soil in what is today Kitashinagawa, but if you are a real fan of the big beast you have to go and see the statue in Roppongi Midtown. Fittingly, there’s a Baccardi bar garden just next to it where you can stretch your legs, sip something cool and imagine the roar of the beast.
Visting Roppongi the other day I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the city. The first photo is of the main Tokyo Midtown building during the day. Tokyo Midtown is the latest of the grand city centers in Roppongi, following soon after Roppongi Hills. I can remember, vaguely, what Roppongi was like before these developments when large areas were still being dismantled after many decades of use by the US military. In fact Roppongi has a long history of military. It has always been associated with the Samurai class and the name itself, Six Trees, can be traced back to 1660. It is said that it reflects the names of six noble families living in the area but a more likely explanation is the fact that there were six very large zelkova trees, the last three of which were burned down in the fire bombings of 1945. Roppongi was home to Japanese Imperial army from 1890 until 1945, when the US Military took over. The area was already popular with foreign embassies and this combined with the century of soldiers helped create the lively entertainment business that is now the main attraction of Roppongi. There is everything from the cleanest fine art galleries to the seediest night clubs, often to be found side by side. It is also one of the most international spirited areas of Japan so it pays to be a little more careful.
The second photo is of the famous Roppongi street crossing that used to be the heart of the area. These days Hills and Midtown act as new centers of Roppongi and things have quieted down considerably around the old street crossing. The start of many a classic nights out drinking hard in Roppongi used be take place in front the Cafe Almond on this street crossing: one of those legendary Tokyo meeting spots.
I also got a photo of the Roppongi Hills Christmas tree and the (almost) annual event Whiskey Hills where a major Japanese whiskey brewery serves (very very very very cheap) shots of their best whiskey for people to enjoy under the cold winter night sky. It is hard to resist stopping by if and your friends are in the area anyway.