TOKYO — As Japan’s capital city prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, its ever-quick rate of development has reached new levels, with renovations, refurbishments and construction sites seemingly on every street. Evidence of this can be seen in a handful of new large-scale, multipurpose developments that are drawing crowds into what are already popular shopping areas.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza in 2016 opened with 16 floors and 538,195 square feet of floor space. It was followed last spring by Ginza Six, which quickly became quite possibly the most luxurious shopping center in the area, as well as the largest, sitting on two full blocks of land in the city’s most expensive neighborhood. It has 241 stores and spans more than 1.6 million square feet. If all that square footage weren’t enough, this year the latest multiuse real estate complex to join the ranks, Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, bowed.
Much like its sister property, which opened over a decade ago near Roppongi, Tokyo Midtown Hibiya encompasses retail, entertainment, office and green space. It’s centrally located, a short walk from both Ginza and the Imperial Palace, and just steps from the Peninsula Tokyo and the Imperial Hotel, which nearly seals its destiny of becoming a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Within less than a month of its March 29 opening, it had already welcomed more than 2 million visitors.
“On the first day that Tokyo Midtown Hibiya opened, there was a queue of over 1,000 people waiting to get in. With this, the complex opened 30 minutes earlier than scheduled, and about 100,000 people visited that day,” said a release by Mitsui Fudosan, the property manager for the complex. “After that, about 400,000 visitors were recorded as coming over the four days [March 29 to April 1] up to the first weekend.”
The retail section of the building houses some 60 shops and restaurants, five of which are the brands’ first units in Japan. Overall, there’s a luxury lifestyle feel, with stores on the second and third floors above the central atrium that sell everything from gardening goods and luggage to clothing, accessories and jewelry.
The largest fashion-related retailer, Tatras & Strada Est, consists of a shop for Tatras, an Italy-based brand, and a multibrand boutique. It carries an eclectic yet stylish mix of Adidas sneakers, Rag & Bone jeans, Yanuk, Island slipper flip-flops, Chloé handbags, Balmain jackets, traditional Japanese folding fans and umbrellas, jewelry by Sophie Bille Brahe, and sweatshirts and shorts from Seagreen.
Other lifestyle retailers include The North Face Play, which sells its usual outdoorsy offerings alongside more casual everyday wear, laptop bags and rolling luggage, and Neutralworks, which specializes in minimalist athleticwear and ath-leisure. Today’s Special offers an array of everyday items, including potted plants and planters, fabrics, clothing, housewares, stationery, condiments, foods for gift-giving and even mundane items such as sponges and laundry clips. The second floor is home to the first Mastermind flagship in Japan. The brand’s skull logo T-shirts and sweatshirts, flannels, black jeans and high-top sneakers sparsely populate the mostly black shop, which features a pool table and a giant bank vault door.
There are plenty of beauty offerings, such as an outpost of the Japanese cosmetics brand Three, and the newest location of the Sephora-like Isetan Mirror. The latter has more of a luxury ambiance than other locations in the chain thanks to a makeover bar by Kérastase and products by high-end brands such as Jo Malone, Jurlique, La Mer, Clé de Peau Beauté, MAC, Tom Ford, Shu Uemura, Nars and Makeup Forever, among others. There are self-serve lip and nail bars, and Ya-man, Shiro and Acca Kappa have larger shops-in-shops within the store.
But people don’t go to Tokyo Midtown Hibiya just for the shopping. Other attractions include a high-tech cinema with 11 screens and 2,300 seats, an old time-style barber shop reminiscent of the area’s past, Billboard music cafe, conference center, and several outdoor terraces and gardens dotted with greenery and views to Hibiya Park. A wide array of restaurants specialize in everything from tempura, grilled fish and soba to pizza, salads and tapas. The popular New York eatery Buvette has a spot on the first floor, its first location in Japan, and Seiji Yamamoto’s three-star Michelin restaurant, RyuGin, has relocated from Roppongi to the seventh floor.
The Tokyo Midtown Hibiya complex occupies the sites of two former Hibiya landmarks, most notably the Sanshin Building, a property that historians and architects sought in vain to preserve. When designing the new building, British architectural firm Hopkins Architects incorporated elements that would mimic the interior of the former Sanshin Building, such as large arches and retro-inspired fixtures. The entire complex is spread across over 2 million square feet on a total of 39 floors, 35 of which are above ground, with four additional basement levels. Of this, eight floors encompassing 193,750 square feet are dedicated to retail space.
“The design of public spaces in commercial floors incorporates an ‘urban theater’ concept, for bright, glamorous spaces that appeal to the sophisticated, befitting Hibiya’s status as a center for artistic culture and entertainment,” Mitsui Fudosan said in a release. “The gently curving, soaring three-tiered atrium resembles traditional theaters and can accommodate a variety of events. An underground arcade employs a motif reminiscent of the former Sanshin Building, once a Hibiya icon, preserving the local history in refurbished modern form.”