Fancy is as fancy does in Tokyo's classiest district.
Paris has the Champs Elysées, London has Oxford Street and Tokyo has Ginza. After all, fancy is as fancy does and if you’re really fancy, you’ll feel right at home in the classiest district in the capital.
If you want the designer experience then Ginza’s department stores and quintessential boutiques provide the perfect shopper’s day out.
There’s so much to see and do, you might as well book yourself in for a whole week.
It’s not just clothes, jewellery and accessories on display here. Nissan, BMW and Sony also showcase their new automobiles and tech products – Sony even has its own four floor building dedicated to its latest models.
The image of Ginza is synonymous with its famous Western-inspired square, dominated by the San-ai building and Ginza Wako clock tower. The cylindrical electronic billboards and neon-signs at the front of the San-ai building are astoundingly big, a definitive statement of futuristic style. On the other hand, Ginza Wako harks back to the pre-war period. Built in 1932, this charming old clock tower has become the symbol of the district. Inside, however, is one of the most prestigious department stores in Asia. Right opposite the grand intersection you’ll find the equally exclusive Mitsukoshi store.
It’s highly recommended that if you are in Japan during November to January, you come to Ginza for the Christmas illuminations. Ginzanamiki Street is the most decked out with 126 trees decorated with 75 thousand light bulbs. Hanatsubaki Street is also lined with thousands of glittering star lights – like shopping in a vast and beautiful planetarium.
Those of you interested in art and theatre will also find yourselves well catered for. Taking a wander around Ginza’s numerous side streets, notice the array of galleries showcasing classically styled paintings to the up-and-coming of the graphic design world. The most famous of these is the Nichido Garo, near the Metro station, favoured by foreign collectors.
Witness the spectacle of Japan’s celebrated Kabuki theatre at the Kabukiza or for more modern performances and exhibitions, the Ginza Blossom theatre.
Not to mention, Ginza boasts one of the best fine-dining and cafe scenes in Japan.
Are your taste buds longing for lobster and abalone curry? Try out the lunch deals, starting from 4000 yen, at the turn-of-the-century Ginza Shiseido Parlour. Perhaps you’d prefer eel? Chikuyotei has been prized for its mouth watering servings of kabayaki (grilled eel in sauce) since the nineteenth century. Full courses can run quite expensive (7000 yen and up) but a basic meal of Unadon will set you back a mere 2,700 yen.
Need a caffeine fix? Cafe Doutor, located in the San-ai building, is an upscale version of the coffee shop chain that grew popular for its people watching-factor. Ginza is also cited as the home of Japan’s beloved Melonpan (a kind of sweet bun covered in crisp cookie dough), so buy one to savour with your coffee at one of the district’s quaint but accomplished bakeries.