Tokyo nightlife hub welcomes new high-rise complex

Tokyo's spectacular skyline is a work in progress that changes as the city grows and economic demands shift. One of the capital's newest architectural additions opened on Friday in Kabukicho, a district better known for its rabbit-warren of bars and restaurants than skyscrapers.

An opening ceremony for the new complex on April 14, 2023.

Work on the 225-meter Tokyu Kabukicho Tower began in 2019. The finished building has 48 stories above ground and five below.

The facility's dining and drinking establishments are arranged in alleys to mirror the streets in the long-established surrounding neighborhood.

With most stores open almost round the clock, the aim is to draw on the area's legendary nighttime economy.

Events are scheduled daily to draw in visitors.

Entertainment facilities include a live music venue and a nightclub. Two luxury hotels occupy the upper floors.

Event spaces include a large theater.

Developer Tokyu Group says bus services will link the tower with the capital's two international airports.

Tokyo's gateway attracting developers

Elsewhere, the Tokyo Station area is also drawing developers hunting for new opportunities.

March saw the opening of the 45-story Tokyo Midtown Yaesu complex in the district.

Property firm Mitsui Fudosan poured 244 billion yen, or about 1.8 billion dollars, into the new facility. The company hopes it will draw 10 million new visitors a year to the area known as "Tokyo's gateway."

Tokyo Midtown Yaesu
Tokyo Midtown Yaesu opened on March 10, 2023.

Other developers there include Tokyo Tatemono, which plans to complete a large building in 2025, and Mitsubishi Estate, which is aiming to top off its 390-meter newcomer by 2027.

Catering to the high-rollers

Many of the towering new developments feature luxury hotels on the upper floors, offering rooms with spectacular views of the capital.

It's a tactic that the established low-rise hotels are countering in their own ways.

The Palace Hotel is appealing to wealthy visitors by offering bigger rooms. They include six remodeled suites with a floor space of 90 square meters each for several thousand dollars a night.

The hotel says its suites are used mainly by long-stay travelers visiting Japan.

Inbound tourist numbers have recovered since Japan eased COVID travel restrictions last October. The hotel says overseas guests accounted for about 70 percent of occupancy the following month, akin to pre-pandemic levels.

And the average room price hit a record high of more than 600 dollars a night in December.

Hotel management say they're banking on Japanese hospitality creating a virtuous cycle that can drive repeat business.