It was 4:00 PM on a regular weekday, and I decided to wrap up work slightly earlier than usual, then headed over to Toranomon. In October 2023, Toranomon Hills Station Tower opened its doors, marking the completion of Toranomon Hills—a focal point for global business and an international hub. Toranomon is typically a place that many locals, even Japanese individuals, might not usually explore unless they have business or specific errands in the area. However, now that Toranomon Hills has opened, the area is revealing numerous hidden charms. Today, I’d like to share a fresh perspective on how adults can enjoy the Toranomon area, centered around Toranomon Hills.
※The Station Tower exterior ⒸThe Boundary
The gateway to unknown and intriguing new experiences
Along the Metro Hibiya Line is Toranomon Hills Station, which debuted alongside the Station Tower. Upon arriving, you encounter a sophisticated and futuristic space as you descend. Seamlessly connecting from the station gates, the Station Atrium is the first-ever underground station square. Truly sparking curiosity and excitement in the Toranomon area, it’s certainly an impressive sight to take in.
Station Atrium: Connecting the City and Toranomon Hills Station
ⒸDBOX for Mori Building Co., Ltd.
Directly linked to the station is the recently opened Station Tower. As you stroll ahead, you’ll come across T-MARKET, a hub featuring a diverse range of 27 establishments offering food, shopping, and more.
This sophisticated space resembles an urban courtyard and is an ideal gathering spot for savvy adults who enjoy different experiences through the day and night. It’s poised to be a go-to place for those who are always on-trend and at the forefront of what’s new.
From the 1st basement to the 5th floor, a variety of stores come together to showcase a fresh way of living, including upcoming dining options, a pioneering large-scale select shop, and a fitness center. At the tower’s pinnacle, the TOKYO NODE serves as an information hub, boasting breathtaking city views at an unrivaled height of 250 meters. The top floor also hosts limited-time events in the gallery, offering opportunities to discover new and unique experiences curated by renowned artists. Even on the opening day, there were long lines for the current events and activities. Even if you don’t plan on joining in, you can still marvel at the impressive view from the confined elevator on the 45th floor.
TOKYO NODE Grand Opening Special Event – Second Edition (GALLERY A/B/C)
December 5, 2023 (Tue) – February 25, 2024 (Sun))
Exhibition by Mika Ninagawa: Eternity in a Moment
Photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa takes on the challenge with the creative team EiM, presenting an exhibition of overwhelming scale and immersive spatial experiences.
Indulge in an Exquisite Beverage at the Refined Social Hub: Toranomon Yokocho.
As I explored the Station Tower, the clock struck 5:00 PM. Seeking the taboo pleasure of enjoying a drink while there’s still a bit of daylight, I headed to Toranomon Yokocho in pursuit of the finest post-work drink. This area on the 3rd floor of the business tower had caught my interest since its opening. In recent years, the culture of Yokocho has thrived, with various areas like Shibuya and Ebisu featuring multifaceted dining facilities under the name Yokocho. To be frank, the lively atmosphere in those places gives off a youthful vibe, and as someone at an age where I appreciate quality dining and a comfortable ambiance, I’ve found myself visiting less frequently.
However, Toranomon Yokocho turned out to be the perfect Yokocho for people like myself. It’s a Yokocho designed for individuals with more of a refined taste, where stylish ambiance meets exquisite gourmet offerings. I highly recommend experiencing the unique luxury of casually hopping between restaurants without reservations, a rare indulgence exclusive to this locale.
Now, I’d like to spotlight three standout stores from the 26 establishments.
First established in the 24th year of the Showa era in Shinjuku, Torishige is renowned for its Yakitori. Now, the first-ever branch has opened in Toranomon Yokocho, continuing the legacy of its flavors passed down through generations. If you’re up for a session of drinks and looking for a superb pairing, I recommend the skewer course featuring five items, including Torishige’s famed creation: stuffed bell peppers. It’s quite astonishing to learn that the origin of this dish that’s commonly enjoyed in Japan can be traced back to a yakitori restaurant. The staff are friendly and hospitable, often offering recommendations for premium Japanese sake. Don’t miss out on trying the skewered Ezo deer, part of a collaboration menu with the esteemed game cuisine spot ELEZO GATE. It’s a delightful dish, devoid of any strong odors, so even those not accustomed to game meat can fully relish it. The addition of black pepper on top serves as a perfect accent, enhancing and complementing the flavors of your drink.
Created as the second venture of Shibuya’s exclusive invite-only restaurant ELEZO HOUSE and brought forth by the meat culinary artisans’ group from Tokachi, Hokkaido, ELEZO now brings its flavors to Toranomon Yokocho. Here, you can experience the allure of casually savoring the delights of an invitation-only restaurant. The seating is limited to a cozy counter, allowing guests to observe the chef’s meticulous cooking process as well as engage in delightful conversations while enjoying their meals. A unique twist awaits when ordering the Soup de Poisson – a quiz by the chef challenging patrons to guess the main fish used, injecting an element of fun into the dining experience. Attempts to identify various fishes make for amusing anecdotes if the guesses fall short. Moreover, within the alley, you can explore crafted gin from the Toranomon Distillery, providing an opportunity to discover new facets of gin, like the distinctive aroma of Hinoki cypress. Much like Torishige, enjoying a combination of offerings between establishments like these add an extra layer of delight to your culinary adventures.
●Il Fri Sio
Discover a unique Italian sushi experience where flavors come alive with just a little salt and olive oil. Perfect for those moments when you crave a light and refreshing sushi taste beyond meat. The cute illustrations on the lunch mat set a lively tone, making the counter seats a cheerful space for conversations. It’s a place where you can dine at your own pace and enjoy as little or as much of your favorite items.
In the heart of the alley, there are seats known as Yoriai seats, where you can bring together menus from different establishments. This allows you to enjoy a meal with a glass of sake in hand, and mix and match dishes from different places to your liking. Given its status as a global business center, many foreigners were also enjoying Japan’s alley culture. It’s certainly a space that brings people together, and you can enjoy networking and socializing with an international crowd.
Toranomon Hills https://www.toranomonhills.com/en/
Hotel Stay and an Enchanting Power Spot: A Path to Career Success?
I’d now like to recommend hotels nearby for those visiting from afar. I’ve carefully selected three hotels within walking distance in the area, offering a taste of modern luxury.
●Andaz Tokyo @Mori Tower
●Hotel Toranomon Hills @ Station Tower
●Tokyo Edition Toranomon *10 minutes walk from Toranomon Hills
All three hotels in the Toranomon area are not just luxurious but also embody unique concepts, providing refined and upscale spaces that seamlessly blend with the area’s ambiance. Whether it’s a business trip or the convenience of being within a 10-minute walk to various amenities, these hotels are highly recommended.
When you explore the Toranomon area, don’t miss Atago Shrine. Positioned on Mount Atago, the tallest natural mountain in Tokyo’s 23 wards, it’s only a 3-minute walk from Toranomon Hills. It’s fascinating to have a shrine, a symbol of Japan’s heritage, standing so close to the vibrant and sophisticated global center.
The steep flight of 86 stairs leading up to Atago Shrine, known as the “Stone Steps to Success,” presents a formidable challenge, almost like a barrier separating the urban hustle from the tranquility of the shrine. However, if it’s known as the way to success, there’s no option but to climb. Once you conquer these steep stairs, the effort is all worth it. After offering prayers for success, you’re sure to feel invigorated. Now, ready to dive back into work?
In spring 2024, the shrine grounds are set to undergo restoration, promising an even more empowering experience. Consider taking a leisurely stroll and paying a visit after checking out from the hotel.
Atago Shrine 〒105-0002 1-5-3 Atago, Minato City, Tokyo