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Roppongi Hills

Roppongi (六本木), a part of Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan, is chiefly known for its nightlife and the presence of Western tourists and expatriates, although the vast majority of visitors are Japanese.

The name "Roppongi" literally means "six trees" and was a simple crossing of two streets, until it was built up in the 1960's.

It is in the southern portion of the circle described by the Yamanote Line and can be reached via the Hibiya or Oedo subway lines. The area features numerous bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment including hostess clubs and cabarets. Prices for food and drink cover a wide range tending towards the more expensive, and some locations feature cover charges and elaborate pay systems that should be confirmed before entering. In general, Roppongi has a slightly sleazy yet sophisticated reputation. Among the Western expatriate community, it tends to be favored by business people and financial workers as well as off-duty military, while many English teachers and academics turn up their noses at the district as being unauthentic and shallow.

The turnover of establishments is fairly high, but a few famous landmarks persist. The cheap "Gas Panic" clubs and bars (there are 3 in Roppongi) have long been a favorite of the wilder elements, while the wealthier and more adult crowd tends to gravitate to bars such as Motown and Lexington Queen. Velfarre, owned by Japanese entertainment mogul Komuro Tetsuya, is Asia's largest disco. One Eyed Jacks is a long-running and famous example of a Roppongi Hostess Club. It is actually two Hostess Clubs that share the same name and space. One side caters to Westerners and Japanese that want to sit and talk with Western (typically Eastern European or Australian) girls that can speak English (some can also speak Japanese) while the other side is a more typical Japanese Hostess Club with young Japanese girls that only speak Japanese. Interestingly, many of the true high-end Japanese Hostess Clubs will not allow Westerners to enter their establishments. There are also a number of other Western-style Hostess Clubs that cater to specific tastes in ethnic groups, such as clubs with solely Filipino or Romanian woman.

The best nights for a typical Roppongi experience tend to be Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Although Japan's long recession has blunted the scene somewhat, it is still an active and lively part of Tokyo.

Roppongi is also the location of Tokyo's newest skyscraper complex, Roppongi Hills, which opened in 2003.

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