As the economic and commercial center of Japan, Minato-Ku, which is located in the center of the 23 wards of Tokyo, has many major corporate headquarters, foreign embassies, and foreign-funded enterprises. The area has the representative commercial districts of Aoyama, Akasaka, Roppongi, Toranomon, and Shinbashi, high-grade residential blocks such as Azabu and Shirogane, as well as large-scale developments like Shiodome and Odaiba, offering a different look. Tokyo Tower, Shiba Park, the Institute for Nature Study, and other landmarks offer a wealth of activities and natural greenery. This is the most internationally sought-after area among the 23 wards of Tokyo.
The Akasaka area, where the residences of daimyo lords, their vassals and other samurai warriors were situated during the Edo period, became the site of TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) in 1955 as well as that of the Akasaka Prince Hotel, which opened soon thereafter With the Olympics in sight, a succession of famous hotels-Hotel New Japan, Hotel Okura and Hotel New Otani-subsequently launched their operations in Akasaka. Numerous automobile repair shops along Sotobori-dori Avenue were also replaced by high-rise office buildings. 1986 saw the emergence of Ark Hills, a neighborhood that welcomed the entry of well-known foreign-affiliated companies and Suntory Hall. In addition, you will come across the Former Nogi Residence (the residence of Army General Nogi Maresuke) and other cultural assets and attractions as you walk from Gaien Higashi-dori towards Nogizaka. The redevelopment of TBS headquarters was completed in March, 2008.
Historically a small temple town, Roppongi has evolved into a district with an international flavor on the leading edge of the times. The history of Roppongi begins with the establishment of a temple town upon the erection of four temples in this rather under-appreciated area by a priest. The entire district was used for military facilities prior to World War II, and the formation of the local streetscape was inspired by Western influences. Subsequently, the Haiyuza Theater opened its doors and TV Asahi launched its operations, which allowed the area to attract a large number of persons connected to the entertainment world and be among the first to absorb new cultural trends. In recent years, Roppongi has evolved into an international urban center. The completion of Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Midtown on April 1, 2007, on the former grounds of the Defense Agency and other major projects has given a significant boost to this part of the city.
Azabu means a hemp cloth. Boasting a long history, Azabu was named to reflect the fact that the local villagers weaved cloth made from hemp cultivated throughout this area in the sixteenth century. The establishment of the embassies of many countries here in the Meiji era helped to cement the perception of Azabu as one of Japan's most prominent upscale residential districts and shape today's streetscape. This area is dotted with uniquely named hills and other geographical features, including Ipponmatsuzaka (Lonesome Pine Tree Slope), Kurayamizaka (Dark Slope) and Tanukizaka (Raccoon Slope). National Azabu Supermarket in Minami-Azabu offers a wide range of foods not normally available elsewhere in Japan.
The portion of Gaien Nishi-dori a street extending from the direction of Aoyama that lies between the Shirokane 6-chome intersection and the Shirokanedai intersection is known as Platinum-dori. This area is characterized by the bustle of trendy, open-terrace restaurants operating alongside long-standing businesses. The local neighborhood is home to a number of notable sites, including those of the Institute of Medical Science (University of Tokyo), the Institute of Public Health and the Sacred Heart School, as well as the Institute for Nature Study, which is home to a natural forest that has existed here since before the Edo period. The residential ambience of Shirokane exudes a tranquility that is consistent with the sense of luxury that permeates the air.
Toranomon was the stronghold at the southern edge of Edo. Until the beginning of the Meiji period, there was the Toranomon gate at the southern edge of Edo Castle. There were many residences of powerful Gokenin (lower-ranking vassals) in this area, and this historical background is the reason why to this day, there are many cultural and international facilities, such as our countryfs leading hotels and various embassies. Though the Toranomon gate no longer exists, its name continues to live on in the name of the area and the size of the district. If you go down an alley to the west of Sakurada-dori, you will find Atagoyama. The Atago Shrine located at the top of this hill was initially selected by Tokugawa Ieyasu as a place to protect Edo from natural disasters and was chosen as one of the 10 famous views of Edo.
With an avenue lined gracefully by zelkova trees from Jingumae to Aoyama-dori, Omotesando is the finest fashion area in all of Tokyo. Boutiques, retail stores, beauty salons and other establishments fill the streets. In this residential zone, you can be immersed in dignified tranquility that is in sharp contrast to the surrounding urban bustle. This area is surrounded by greenery at numerous locations, including Yoyogi Park, at the center of which stands Meiji Jingu (shrine), Togo Shrine in Jingumae 1-chome and the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts in Minami-Aoyama 6-chome. There are several local distinctive streets, such as Kottou-dori (Antique Streeth) in Minami-Aoyama 5-6-chome, so named for this abundance of curio shops.
Shiodome is an area that has recently undergone a complete makeover with the completion of a modern redevelopment project known as Shiodome SIO-SITE. The result is a part of Tokyo that commands attention as a premier source of global information and culture. Blessed with a long history, Shiodome once flourished as the site of the old Shimbashi Station, which served as Tokyo's largest freight terminal. While this property stood as one of the few examples of idle land in the heart of the city after the station was closed, it has been reborn as a new business zone replete with an extensive range of brand new facilities, including Shiodome City Center, Caretta Shiodome_a giant shopping mall housing the Dentsu Shiki Theatre SEA and NTV (Nippon Television) Plaza.
The Shibaura and Konan areas continue to evolve daily through large-scale redevelopment and have created a high quality living environment. The Shibaura area is a coastal area with a view of Tokyo Bay and had developed in the past as a center for the shipping industry. You can feel the traces of this past in the decks that jut out over the river. Shibaura Island is a large-scale development of a residential area that forms a single town in an area surrounded by a business district.
In the Konan area, Shinagawa Intercity was created with the development of the east exit area of Shinagawa Station during the second half of the 1990s, and Shinagawa Grand Commons opened in 2003, filling the area with office buildings and commercial facilities. With the opening of Shinagawa Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, access to Nagoya and the Kansai area improved, prompting many companies to move their headquarters to this area and making Shinagawa one of the leading business districts in Tokyo.