The bars, clubs and restaurants of Tokyo's Roppongi district have made it a fixture for late-night revellers for decades. Now Roppongi has a brand-new landmark that will put it on the map for a far wider range of uses. Roppongi Hills, which opened April 25, is an 11.6-hectare complex in the middle of Tokyo with a seemingly endless list of tenants and services. They include a 390-room Grand Hyatt hotel, a nine-screen multiplex Virgin Cinema, a hub of more than 200 shops and restaurants, gardens, apartments, a high-rise office tower and TV Asahi's new headquarters building. In the first 10 days after it opened, the complex drew nearly three million visitors. Many were content to wait for hours for seats at instant hot-spots like the French restaurant L'Atelier with its 'world-famous' chef, Joel Robuchon. Le Chocolat de H shop was packed with girls and young women waiting an hour for their piece of truffle chocolate, each one priced at 800 yen (HK$53). Special-edition bags and jewellery sold out quickly. You would never know Japan has been mired in a recession for well more than a decade. Economic daily Nihon Keizai quizzed 500 people, and nearly 90 per cent said Roppongi Hills satisfied their highest expectations. And, yes, they planned to return. Commentators were puzzled: after all, the recession has sapped consumer spending for years. The development's statistics alone - it is the largest commercial urban redevelopment in Japan in space and also in cost, at 500 billion yen - are not an answer. It seems long-depressed Tokyoites are simply excited by grand, posh new developments. Last year the new Marunouchi Building attracted half a million visitors in its first four days. Visitors from all over Japan continue to fill the 'Maru' building's restaurants and shops - even on weekends, when normally few people visit that business district. Even so, Roppongi Hills has already topped it in popularity. Mori Building, its chief developer - the firm is building Shanghai's World Financial Centre - claims its ambitious scope did the trick. The company says it set out to offer 'the ultimate urban life', a city within a city that would meet every human need including shopping, housing, fun and aesthetic pleasure. Noting the trend, other Tokyo developers are hard at work on new projects, including another for Roppongi, one in Shinagawa ward and a 31-hectare project in Shiodome. Mori Building president Minoru Mori invited the press and school children to celebrate the Children's Day holiday on May 5 by planting rice in a paddy field on the roof of one Roppongi Hills building. 'I do hope this new town will grow just like our rice,' he said.