The fashionable Ginza area is in the heart of Tokyo, a veritable shopper's paradise of luxury brand stores and famous department stores. This is a spot people touring Tokyo never fail to visit because of its famous Japanese-style restaurants, high-end sushi shops, and restaurants noted for their excellent cuisine.
The Ginza is famous for its diverse attractions so in this article we will introduce half-day courses having the three themes of (1) cuisine, sightseeing, and shopping; (2) places to “shop until you drop”; and (3) fun places to hang out in Ginza!
What is the Ginza?
The Ginza is where the feudal government established the Ginza Yakusho [Ginza Bureau] during the Edo Period about 400 years ago to mint currency.
Over time the area simply became known as Ginza. In view of all the expensive properties, flagship stores of famous luxury brands, it may be hard to believe but in the old days Ginza was a town of craftsmen.
With the advent of the Meiji period, Ginza became the area where Western influences first made their appearance not only in the layout of the streets but in the subsequent opening of many department stores and other shops.
Chuo-dori, the main street of Ginza, is closed to traffic in the afternoon every weekend and on holidays making it a pedestrians' paradise enabling visitors to leisurely walk about and enjoy the sights.
This has become especially popular among the many foreign visitors in recent years who come to shop and sightsee.
Ginza has a mix of old and nostalgic places full of Japanese history and modern buildings that gives the area a unique atmosphere that adds to its appeal. The shops appeal to people of all ages and carry merchandise from that reasonably priced goods to that at the high end of the spectrum.
1. Half-day plan for dining, sightseeing, and shopping! Taking in as much as possible
What to do in Ginza once you get there? You'll want to shop, dine, and experience the culture as much as possible. LAOX Ginza EXITMELSA is one of Japan's largest duty-free shops where you can find everything from food and toys to consumer electronics.
Be sure to visit Ginza Mitsukoshi, a well-established department store for which Japan is famous. The main building is also a nationally designated important cultural property.
Ginza Mitsukoshi is a popular meeting place, so don't forget to take a photo next to the lion statue. For lunch, enjoy Japanese cuisine at one of the long-established restaurants.
Ginza Hage Ten and Yakitori, and Kamameshi New Torigin are are two such places.
In addition, you can enjoy various gourmet dishes at any of the many restaurants in Tokyu Plaza Ginza, such as Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie Tokyu Plaza Ginza shop. There are also many places serving Japanese dishes. At Sushi Dokoro Ginza Fukusuke Main Shop you can enjoy eel while Ume no Hana Ginza Namiki-dori offers yuba [bean curd skin] kaiseki cuisine.
Once you get to the Ginza you'll want to shop, dine, and experience the culture as much as possible. LAOX Ginza EXITMELSA is one of Japan's largest duty-free shops where you can find everything from food and toys to consumer electronics. Be sure to visit Ginza Mitsukoshi, a well-established department store for which Japan is famous. The main building is also a nationally designated important cultural property.
Since you are in the Ginza, even if you don't have the time to take in a kabuki performance, you can still experience Kabuki culture in the Kabukiza Gallery.
After that, head to the stationery specialty store Ginza Itoya which also has a cafe. It has a wide selection of the latest original and luxury items where you are certain to find the perfect souvenir.
2. The “Shop till you drop” half-day plan!
When you're wondering what to do in Ginza, it's no exaggeration to say that the Ginza district has everything you might want! There are so many shops offering such a wide variety of goods that you can fill your entire schedule with shopping! Here is one way you can do that.
Start by visiting the Bic Camera Yurakucho Store in front of Yurakucho Station. It offers a wide selection of home appliances, cosmetics, stationery, and many other items.
Afterward, go towards Harumi-dori and visit Tokyu Plaza Ginza. Lotte Duty-Free Shop Ginza is also located in this building.
Continue on to Matsuya Ginza while keeping an eye open for such Ginza landmarks as the Ginza Mitsukoshi and Ginza Six, the largest commercial facility in Ginza, the Uniqlo Ginza popular apparel shop on Ginza Chuo-dori, and other high-end brand shops. Each store has items that can only be found in Ginza, so they are really worth checking out. You will probably be able to find just about everything you would like to buy just in this area alone.
Lastly, on your way back to Yurakucho go to the Tokyu Hands antenna shop located in Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan. This building contains more than 10 antenna shops carrying famous regional products such as those from Hokkaido and Osaka.
Ginza department stores, such as Ginza Mitsukoshi, Matsuya Ginza, and Ginza Six, have garden rooftops. Sitting under the sky on these rooftops is a good way to take a relaxing break from your shopping.
3. Fun places to hang out for half a day in Ginza!
What to do in Ginza beyond shopping and gourmet food? There's also history and art here, too!
We recommend visiting Konica Minolta Planetaria Tokyo, the most modern planetarium of its kind. This is an integrated amusement facility with VR and a cafe with two dome theaters, the first of its kind in Japan.
And did you know that there are actually many shrines in Ginza? These are good luck power spots beginning with the popular Toyoiwa Inari Shrine. The Ginza Shusse Jizoson and Mimeguri Shrine are located on the Mitsukoshi Terrace; the Kakugo Inari Shrine is on the rooftop of Ginza Six; and Ryuko Fudoson is located on the roof of the Matsuya Ginza department store.
These are good places to take a break from your shopping, too. You can kill two birds with one stone in these department stores because in addition to fabulous shopping, they contain restaurants and cultural experiences, too.
If you want to leisurely enjoy art in Ginza you can do this at the Pola Museum Annex and Shiseido Gallery.
There are also more than twenty antenna shops from around the country concentrated in Ginza and the competition among them is fierce. Just in the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan alone, there are more than ten such shops conveniently located while on the street you can find the Washita Shop of Okinawa and the Ishikawa Hyakumangoku Monogatari Edo Honten of Ishikawa Prefecture.
Enjoy walking about Ginza on one of these half-day plans!
There are still many shops and restaurants in Ginza other than those introduced here so the time will go by all too quickly during a half-day visit. Ginza is in a league all of its own in being able to offer such a broad range of shopping opportunities as well as giving you a feel of the culture and history.
When you come to Tokyo, be sure to visit the Ginza and look for those items that can only be found here while enjoying its rich atmosphere.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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