Ginza is one of the world’s elite shopping districts with whole buildings dedicated to famous international fashion brands such as Gucci, Prada, Dior etc.
There are plenty of other blogs about Ginza fashion so here I wanted instead to describe a little tour of the more interesting buildings that many of these famous brands inhabit. I’ve also included a few of my favourite shops for kitchen goods and home wares. The following post is about where and what to eat in Ginza. As ever, you will find all the places included on my map.
An optional start to the tour is the statue of Godzilla out of the west exit of Yurakucho station at １丁目-2-2 Yūrakuchō, Chiyoda-ku. Yurakucho is the best station on the Yamanote line to go to Ginza.
Alternatively you could start on the other side of the tracks at the METoA Ginza shopping centre at 5 Chome-2-１ Ginza, Chūō-ku, metoa.jp I quite like the glass front of the otherwise unremarkable building…
… and the roof garden has a nice view over this part of Ginza.
Two blocks east is the Hermes building at 〒104-0061 東京都中央区Ginza, 5 Chome−4, 銀座５丁目４−１ 8階 www.maisonhermes.jp with its dangling sculpture. It looks particularly nice at night.
Four blocks north is Akomeya (Intermediate A), コメヤ トウキョウ, 2 Chome-2-６ Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-6601, www.akomeya.jp
This is a great shop specialising in rice and rice related products where I had to hold myself back from spending a small fortune.
The first floor is a deli where I picked up some Furikake (sprinkle toppings for steamed rice) and tiny tins of Ichimi (chilli powder). The friendly shop assistant also recommended a brand of soya sauce from their extensive range and it was fantastic (and that’s coming from a certified soya sauce addict).
Also on the second floor there are lots of nice ceramics and things for the kitchen and bathroom. I want to try their restaurant next time. Rice, unsurprisingly, features heavily on the menu.
You could pop in to Tokyu Hands Ginza at〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, ２丁目2−１４ マロニエゲート銀座1 5～9F ginza.tokyu-hands.co.jp if you’re looking at homewares, they have seven floors of them here. I got a nifty tool for making Nigiris from the kitchen department.
Even better for homewares and knickknacks of every kind is Ginza Loft at 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 2 Chome−4−６ ベルピア館３Ｆ- ６Ｆ www.loft.co.jp
Two blocks east the Mikimoto building at〒104-8145 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 2 Chome−4−１２, www.mikimoto.com has some nice windows.
One block east, De Beers the diamond jewellers at 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 2 Chome−5−１１ デビアス銀座ビルディング www.debeers.co.jp has a very unusual façade.
It deserves a couple more shots.
On the same block to the north is the Dear Ginza building at 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 1 Chome−6, 銀座１丁目６-８It looks completely different at night to what it does in the daytime.
A couple of more blocks east (via lunch at Bulgari? – see next post) is Itoya (Advanced A), 2 Chome-7-１５ Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0061, www.ito-ya.co.jp
Itoya is primarily a stationary shop with whole floors dedicated to pens and paper; however it does also have a couple of floors for travel and home wares which I really like. I can happily browse here for hours. The building exterior is unremarkable but there is a hydroponic farm on the top floor.
Three blocks south is Ginza Place at 5 Chome-8-1 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0061, ginzaplace.jp (You could go via the Mitsukoshi food basement – see next post).
Diagonally opposite is the Art Deco (Neoclassical influenced) Wako department store at 4 Chome-5-１１ Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-8105, www.wako.co.jp Built in 1932, it’s one of the only buildings in the area that has survived World War II.
Four blocks east from here you will find the famous Kabuki-za theatre at 4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0061, www.kabuki-za.co.jp It’s possible to buy tickets for half a show (standing only) if you only want to get a flavour of this ancient performing art.
An optional side excursion on the same street five blocks east,quite near Tsukiji fish market, is Hongwanji, an Indian inspired Bhuddist temple at 3 Chome-15-1 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, www.tsukijihongwanji.jp
You could stop back at the Kabuki-za but true architecture buffs should walk another five blocks south from the theatre to see my favourite building in Ginza, the Nakagin Capsule Tower at 8 Chome-16-10 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0061, www.nakagincapsuletower.com
Built in 1972 it is one of the only remaining examples of an architectural movement called Metabolism which sought to fuse concepts related to building large structures with those of organic biological growth.
The idea was that capsules could be added to the tower so that it would evolve and grow like an organism.
Of the 140 apartments, only half are still in use, and then often only for storage or office space. Many lie derelict and decaying and sadly there are plans to demolish the building. You can rent an apartment in the tower on AirBnB but they aren’t cheap.
So that’s my brief architecture tour of Ginza. You’ll be hard pushed to find another Tokyo neighbourhood with so many interesting buildings.
Ginza also has some great places to eat and drink. Please see my next post for more info!