Ginza (銀座) is Tokyo’s best known upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district. Famous for high-end fashion, brands and electronics. Part of Chuo, or central Tokyo, Ginza is closely located near Tokyo station and easy to access. The district is a prevalent and trendy upscale shopping area, with a diverse range of renowned department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffee-houses.
Top 10 things to do in Ginza
1.) Go window shopping!
The purpose of any visit to Ginza is to shop, that said you don’t have to buy anything. Walking along Chuo-dori (meaning “central street” in Japanese) takes you past a wide range of stores, from specialised boutiques to the most famous department stores in Japan. During the afternoon (after 17.00) and some weekends, Ginza becomes a traffic free zone and exploring by foot becomes very pleasant.
2.) Enjoy a luxury coffee and cheesecake
Ginza is the place in Tokyo to go for a fancy coffee, together with a discretionary cheesecake. Well established brands like Grand Café Doubtor, Hoshino and Miyakoshiya Coffee serve high-end coffee. You don’t just come for the coffee but also for the experience of how coffee is served in Japan. For those that fancy a larger bite, lunch menus are available.
3.) See the latest tech
Different technology brands have their flagship stores right on Chuo-dori. Think of the Ginza Apple Store, one of the first of its kind in the world and the Sony building where all the latest from Sony is on display.
4.) Hamarikyu Garden Park
Hamarikyu Garden used to be the private gardens of the ruling Tokugawa family in the 17th century, and was converted into a public park in the 20th century. It retains the prestige the garden held and is one of the few green patches in central Tokyo. The park well worth a visit for its grandeur, tea houses and pond.
5.) Kabuki-za Theatre
Kabuki-za in Ginza is the principal theatre in Tokyo for the traditional kabuki drama form. This is the place to go if you ever wanted to see a traditional Kabuki drama. Outside of performances there is a little museum to learn about Kabuki, a souvenir store and rooftop terrace.
6.) Ginza Mitsukoshi
Ginza Mitsukoshi the oldest department store chain in Japan, founded in 1673, and a national name every local will recognise. The Ginza branch of Mitsukoshi has a massive 12 floors (3 underground) with everything you would expect in a department store. A visit is well recommended as Mitsukoshi remains true to its Japanese origin and is a complete different experience from a western style department store.
7.) Tsukiji Jougai
Visit Tsukiji Jougai for fresh fish and seafood. Local restaurants build along narrow lanes have some of the best sashimi in the world. Originally the famous Tuna auction was also held at Tsukiji inner market but has since moved to Toyosu market. Tsukiji outer market remains with many shops selling freshly caught fish. For more on Tsukiji read: Guide to Tsukiji.
8.) Uniqlo Flagship store
Uniqlo is a massive popular clothing brand from Japan that has its primary focus on casual wear at a low to midrange price point. It has seen a massive international growth through the last decades and a visit to the flagship store in Ginza comes much recommended. The store has 12 stories for both men, women and children. The 11th story is dedicated to limited editions and special T-shirts only sold at the Ginza store. Like many stores in Ginza, Tax free shopping is offered to visitors from abroad.
9.) See the latest cars
Japanese automobile manufacturers like Nissan, Mazda and Toyoto all have their own showroom around Ginza, showing their latest upcoming cars and innovations. A visit is well worth it if you’re into cars.
10.) Tokyo International Forum
Just north of Ginza is the Tokyo International Forum, a massive exhibition centre. In addition to seven halls, it includes a public exhibition space, lobby, restaurants and shops. The architecture is especially unique, built out of steel truss and glass, its outside shape resembles an elongated boat.
How to access Ginza
Ginza is located at the old downtown core of Tokyo and easy to access through Metro and JR line.
By metro: The Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hibiya Line and Marunouchi line all stop at Ginza station and will get you right onto the main trains.
By JR line: Ginza is only 5min of foot from Yurakucho station, which is also the closest JR Station. Alternatively, Ginza is less than a kilometre away from Tokyo station. This is also the best way to access Ginza using your Japan Rail Pass.