Azabudai・Toranomon Mother and Daughter Discover Tokyo’s New Hot Spots

This article was originally published in the Spring 2024 issue of The ROYAL.
All products, services,and prices are subject to change.

An Excursion from the RIHGA Royal Hotel Tokyo

Sawai Shoyu Honten

 Since the openings of “Toranomon Hills Station Tower” in October and “Azabudai Hills” in November 2023, Tokyo’s ever-evolving Minato City has been garnering a lot of attention like never before. 

 Writer Utsunomiya Kaoru and her two city-loving daughters explore the two newly opened Hills. How do state-of-the-art cityscapes appear in the eyes of children?


Text/Photography by Utsunomiya Kaoru (Except for Shiba Park and part of Azabudai Hills and Toranomon Hills photos)


Exploring a Multifunctional City with Abundant Greenery

 Our first stop is Azabudai Hills, a complex that opened its doors on November 24,2023. Azabudai Hills comprises three skyscrapers and low-rise commercial facilities spread across an area of roughly 64,000 square meters. At first, I wasn’t sure whether young children would be able to appreciate such a place with so many luxury brand stores, but as soon as I saw my daughters’ reactions, I realized it wasn’t an issue. 

 “Wow, it looks like a park!” They squealed, seeing the uniquely shaped buildings. 

 When I told them that we were visiting the latest buildings in Tokyo, they had imagined minimalistic architecture filled with serious business people, so seeing the stylish and fun park-like landscaping seemed to relax them a little bit. 

Heatherwick Studio created “The Cloud,” a massive roof that covers the “Azabudai Hills Arena.” A variety of events are held under the roof, creating a lively atmosphere.

By the Central Plaza is a terraced fruit orchard. Satsuma mandarin oranges, blueberries, lemons, plums, and other types of fruit trees are planted, making use of the slope of the building.

 Perhaps that may be the very aim of Thomas Heatherwick, the designer. The unique buildings, which make full use of the topography and its different elevations, never fail to tickle people’s curiosity with their winding, maze-like walking paths. The rooftop of the lower level is covered with green vegetation, with as many as 320 types of trees that change colors with the seasons. In the Central Plaza is a “vertical garden city,” made up of an orchard of delicious fruit trees, which could easily be mistaken for a children’s playground.

Nara Yoshitomo “Miss Forest in Tokyo” (2023) Urethane on bronze 762 x 243 x 234cm Photography by Shintsubo Kenshu The lawn area of the Central Plaza is adorned with a number of public art that are delightful to the eyes. The outdoor sculpture “Miss Forest in Tokyo” (2023) by Nara Yoshitomo is the signature artwork of Azabudai Hills.


Azabudai Hills Kiosk
Three uniquely designed kiosks at the Central Plaza sell crepes and drinks. The crepes are made with a flavorful rice flour batter mixed with roasted pecan nuts and pistachios. Quattro Formaggi (¥980) made with four kinds of cheese. Popeye (¥980) filled with spinach and prosciutto.

 We first wandered around the Garden Plaza and walked down to the Central Plaza. The Garden Plaza is lined with an array of stores, making it an ideal place for parents and children to stroll and chat. Upon arriving at the Central Plaza, a sweet smell wafted from a cute kiosk. We bought some crepes there and enjoyed them on the lawn. Even though we were in the heart of the city, the nice breeze through the buildings made us feel like we were having a picnic on a field.

teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM teamLab “Light Vortex” © teamLab

teamLab “MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM:EPSON teamLab Borderless”
2018-2022 Odaiba, Tokyo ©teamLab
As the name “Borderless” suggests, visitors can immerse themselves in artworks without boundaries. Wandering from room to room, you can experience art through numerous discoveries that stimulate all your five senses.

 After relaxing at the Central Plaza, we visited the “teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM.” About 50 installations are exhibited in the basement of Mori JP Tower, spreading over a vast area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Going from room to room makes you lose your sense of direction and feel like you are part of the artwork and wandering in a labyrinth. My girls seemed to enjoy the sense of getting lost and experiencing the world of art; their eyes sparkled as brightly as the artwork’s bright lights.


Azabudai Hills Mori JP Tower

Mori JP Tower is the main skyscraper of Azabudai Hills, consisting of several buildings. It is currently the tallest building in Japan (325 m), surpassing Abeno Harukas in Osaka. It has 64 floors above ground and 5 floors below ground, and it’s home to offices, commercial facilities, an international school, and others.

1-3-1, Azabudai, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: +81(0) 3-6433-8100

Individual store hours vary

Open all year round

Azabudai Hills Kiosk

1-3-1, Azabudai, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: +81(0) 50-1731-1700 


Opening Hours change depending on weather conditions and events

Closed: The year-end and new-year holidays 

teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM

“teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM” is a museum without a map created by the artist collective called teamLab. It opened on February 9, 2024, after a relocation from Odaiba to Azabudai Hills. Many newly added works, as well as works that have never been exhibited in Japan, can be found.

Azabudai Hills Garden Plaza B B1

1-2-4, Azabudai, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: +81(0) 3-6230-9666


※Last admission one hour before the closing time

Closed: The first and third Tuesdays


Adults ¥3,800 ~

13-17 years ¥2,800

4-12 years ¥1,500

Free admission for children aged 3 years and under

Visiting Ever-Changing Toranomon, the City of Art

Toranomon Hills

The lawn area of the Oval Plaza, located in the center of Toranomon Hills, is home to “Roots,” a large sculpture by Jaume Plensa, a world-renowned Spanish artist.

N. S. Harsha, “Matter” (2014)
You can find a variety of public art in the Station Tower. It would be enjoyable for children to walk around and search for beautiful works of art.

 Leaving Azabudai Hills, we walked about 10 minutes down Sakurada-dori Street to Toranomon Hills. Toranomon Hills is structured like a city with four zones, all connected by a deck. Starting with the opening of Mori Tower in 2014, the Business Tower was completed in 2020, followed by the Residential Tower in 2022. Finally, the Station Tower, directly connected to the Toranomon Hills Station, was completed in October last year.

©Fujiko-Pro ©Mori Building
Toranomon, a robot cat from 22nd-century Tokyo, is the official character of Toranomon Hills. You can find Toranomon merchandise at the store on the 2nd floor of the Station Tower. Tokotoko Kurabu Toranomon (¥2,420) (middle). Toranomon Rollbahn Notebook with a Pocket (¥990) (right).

 While walking around searching for the various public art dispersed throughout the area, we spotted Toranomon, the official character of Toranomon Hills, at the entrance of the Business Tower. My daughters were so happy to meet him, so if you are visiting with children, I recommend you stop by for a photo. 

“T-MARKET” offers 27 unique stores selling food, drink, and others.

A hamburger restaurant, “Builders.” Biting into the thick patty almost feels like eating a steak. The photo on the right shows the classic double cheeseburger (with french fries) ¥2,268.

 At lunchtime, we got hamburgers to go from a restaurant located in the “T-Market” and took a cab to Shiba Park. From the top of the Tokyo Tower, right next to the park, we were able to get a clear view of Azabudai Hills, Toranomon Hills, and the whole area we walked around during this trip. 

Shiba Park ©Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association
Shiba Park is also a perfect spot for cherry blossom viewing. About 140 cherry trees are planted around the Benten Pond and the Shiba Maruyama Kofun, and only in Shiba Park can you see the Tokyo Tower in the back of blooming cherry blossoms. It is also fun to overlook the whole area from the observation deck of the Tokyo Tower after walking around all day.

 On the way home, the girls, who had developed an interest in urban development after visiting the two Hills, discussed what kind of buildings they would like to create. Walking around the newly established area gave them many discoveries and new ideas.


Toranomon Hills Station Tower

“Toranomon Hills Station Tower,” opened in October 2023, is a 49-story, 266-meter-high skyscraper. It is directly connected to the “Toranomon Hills” Station of the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and houses offices, hotels, and restaurants.

2-6-1, Toranomon, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: +81(0) 3-6406-6192 

Individual store hours vary

Open all year round


Toranomon Hills Station Tower B2F

Phone: +81(0) 3-6206-7601


11:00~23:00 (Last call: 22:00)


11:00~22:00 (Last call: 21:00)

Closed: Mondays

Shiba Park

1・2・3・4, Shibakoen, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: +81(0) 3-3431-4359 

Open all year round 

Free admission

Our Guide

Utsunomiya Kaoru

 After working for a publishing company, Utsunomiya Kaoru now works as a freelance editor and writer. In addition to writing for magazines and web media, Kaoru works on the editing and composition of books. In recent years, Kaoru has often written about her travels with her children and enjoys drawing maps of the areas she has traveled.

※All pictures shown are for illustration purposes only.
※All prices include tax.
※Opening Hours may be subject to change without notice. Please check the Opening Hours before visiting.
※This article was originally published in the Spring 2024 issue of The ROYAL.
All products, services, and prices are subject to change.