A short ride on a high-speed elevator takes you to the Mori Art Museum, a stunning exhibition space that occupies the 52nd and 53rd floors. Overseen
by acclaimed museum director David Elliott, the museum has already established itself as a showcase for contemporary art, photography, and film that rivals the finest venues in Asia. Its inaugural exhibit, "Happiness," explored the idea of bliss and how it has evolved over time in different cultures. Future exhibits include a display of works on loan from the MoMA in New York that chronicles the evolution of modern art.
But the most popular exhibit on display in Mori Tower may be Tokyo itself. Visitors can soak up a view of the city from the glass-enclosed 54th floor, which has a full-service bar and offers a 360-degree panorama. Known as Tokyo
City View, the 54th floor stays open until 1 a.m. and has made nighttime city-watching the hot new pastime for young urban lovebirds and couples of all ages out for an evening stroll.
"You can think of Roppongi Hills as a small city within a larger Tokyo," says Toru Nagamori, director of international public relations for Mori Building Company. "All the elements of your life are realized in this complex, and within walking distance. You don't have to leave the area to enjoy your life."
In recent years, Japanese tourists have been traveling outside their country in far greater numbers than foreign tourists have been traveling to Japan. (Last year alone, seven times more Japanese visited the United States than the other way around.) Japan's economic boom of the 1980s helped cement its image as an exorbitant place to travel and do business. Prices have long since plummeted throughout the country, though, making it immanently more affordable. But the outside world has yet to catch on. Japan has the world's second largest economy, but ranks 35th in foreign tourism. One of the ideas behind Roppongi Hills is to help reverse that trend.