Tokyo’s Ginza is known as a luxury shopping paradise similar in resemblance to London’s Oxford Street. For the latest trends and premium brands, this is the place to go. Not just high-end boutiques, Ginza is also filled with restaurants & bars, clubs & cafes, and other sights & sounds to explore.
Table of Contents
- Introducing Ginza
- Shopaholics Paradise Ginza
- Ginza for the Foodies
- Other Things to Enjoy in Ginza
- Access to Ginza
Ginza is one of Tokyo’s top shopping destinations alongside Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Harajuku. For more about these places, have a look at these articles:
- 18 Reasons to Explore Commercial Paradise Shibuya
- Harajuku’s Takeshita Street: An Unforgettable Experience
History and Name Origin
During the olden days, specifically the Edo Period, the Ginza area was focused on minting silver coins for the government. This industry was operated by an organisation called Ginza as well. For that matter, Ginza 銀座 actually translates to silver mint in Japanese. As the centre of Edo wherein silver was handled, naturally Ginza developed quickly with many offices and businesses moving in and the small district prospered.
Where once there were many traditional shops like kimono parlours, artisan shops, and performance theatres are now modern shops of both foreign and domestic luxury brands decorating the still as grand streets of Ginza.
※ Tokyo Ginza Official, “History”
As well aware you are that Ginza is a haven of shops, we will introduce some of the areas in particular you should pay attention to:
Chuo-dori 中央通り is Ginza’s main shopping street. Along the street are department stores, luxurious boutique brands, average consumer brands, restaurants, cafes, and also hobby shops. Just stroll down the street window-shopping, as there’s bound to be something you’d be interested in.
Large-Scale Department Stores
There are 5 department stores in the Ginza area. You will find 3 of these, namely Ginza-Six, Mitsukoshi and Matsuya along Chuo-dori.
Ginza-Six: The largest shopping mall in Ginza. Ginza-Six is relatively new, having opened in 2017 in replacement of Matsuzakaya. Some international brands include Kenzo, Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood, Rolex, Valentino, Alexander Wang, and more. Don’t forget to check out the B2 floor for a great mix of both Japanese and foreign food and snack shops, and the Starbucks Reserve on the 6th floor.
Mitsukoshi: First opened in 1903, Mitsukoshi renovated and reopened in 2011, this time bigger and better.
Matsuya: This mall has been here since 1925. It has plenty of international premium brands like Fendi, Balenciaga, Armani, GUCCI, Saint Laurent, and more. There are plenty of Japanese luxury fashion brands as well.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza: Opened in 2016, it houses various luxury brands as well as regular populace brands. A look at what they have to offer: Pandora, Birkenstock, Lotte, G-Shock, Hamilton.
Marronnier Gate: It has a large variety of shops including Uniqlo, Banana Republic, Puma, Tokyu Hands, Nitori, and more.
Stand-Alone Specialty Stores
Itoya: A tall building of 18 Floors selling all manner of stationery items. There’s even a cafe lounge space. This place is great for getting adorable notebooks, pens, and postcards for yourself or for friends and family as a gift.
Hakukinhan: Also known as Ginza Toy Park, this is a huge toy store. From dolls to toy cars, card games and board games, plushies and video games, there’s toys to be had for all ages.
Hankyu Men’s Tokyo: A shopping mall dedicated to men’s fashion. Consisting of 8 floors plus a basement floor, this mall offers everything from accessories, cosmetics, luxury brands, average consumer brands, shoes and more catering to men.
As fun as shopping is, you’re bound to get tired which is where this part comes in! Catch a break at one of these restaurants:
Cafe de L'Ambre: A retro style cafe specialising in coffee operating since 1948. When we say coffee specialty, we really do mean it as that’s the only thing on the menu. The cafe’s late owner Sekiguchi Ichiro was a great coffee lover, recognized as one of the best coffee brewers in Japan. If you think the cafe’s interior looks familiar, it’s because it was the inspiration for Café Leblanc in Atlus’s Persona 5 Video Game.
Le Cafe Doutor Ginza: Doutor Coffee is best known for its chain coffee shops Doutor and sister brand Excelsior Caffe, each having its own concept. To match the premium classy ambiance of Ginza, the one-of-a-kind Le Cafe Doutor was set up. It embodies a higher class Doutor cafe that also serves Excelsior Caffe’s menu items for a unique experience. The cafe’s design is also very different from a usual Doutor store.
Suzu Cafe Ginza: 1-min walk from Ginza 1-Chome Station, Suzu Cafe has a casual at-home vibe. More of a bistro than a cafe, they serve a variety of foods from pizza, coffee, steak, grilled fish, dessert and tea cakes which make for a great lunch or hearty snack.
Apart from shopping and eating, there are also attractions to visit and things to see all around Ginza:
Constructed in 1972, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is a residential and commercial mix building with a curious exterior and equally unique interior design. It is an example of a rare metabolism architecture style. Each “room” is actually an individual capsule attached to the main column or “spine”. At the moment, the capsule tower is in danger of being demolished (although a preservation project is in place), so it is a race against time to possibly catch a last look at it.
※ The Guardian, “Decaying but beloved, Tokyo’s Capsule Tower faces uncertain future”
Welcome to an art gallery by big name Japanese brand cosmetic company Shiseido. The gallery holds more than 2,000 pieces of artwork including sculptures, paintings, photography and other unique creations of contemporary and modern art. Do check the
exhibition calendar before visiting as they are changed regularly and in such cases, the gallery may be closed in between exhibits.
Another art gallery for the art lovers, it features various art pieces from local artists with a focus on graphic design. Just like Shiseido Gallery, there are always new exhibitions so you’ll never get bored visiting every once in a while.
Occupying the 1st and 2nd floor of Ginza Place is Nissan’s grand showroom, Nissan Crossing. You can also catch a view of it using Google Street view here. Nissan Crossing is used to exhibit their latest car models.
The nearest stations to Ginza are:
Ginza Station on Ginza, Hibiya, Marunouchi Lines
Yurakucho Station on JR’s Yurakucho, Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku Lines
Ginza is one of Japan’s top shopping areas if you’re looking to splurge. That’s not all they have to offer though, with many cafes serving good coffee and tea with a nice atmosphere, beautiful bright streets, and numerous art galleries. Just taking a walk down Chuo-dori admiring the shops and streets whilst window-shopping is great fun in itself.