Ginza

Ginza has been one of the most upscale and fashionable districts of the city since the late nineteenth century when the area was rebuilt after one of the devastating fires that played such a large part in the city’s history. This fire occurred in 1872, and Thomas Waters, an architect from Ireland, was commissioned to build a number of brick buildings in the Georgian style. Waters had already built the Imperial Mint in Osaka, also in the Georgian style, and his signature structures led to Ginza being called Brick Town for a period of time. Today, many of the things to do in the Ginza District are notoriously expensive, such as the world-class shopping here, but you can still find a number of attractions and entertainment possibilities that are quite reasonably priced. So, your decisions about where to shop In Tokyo Ginza can make a real difference to your wallet.

The district itself is named for another mint established here in the early seventeenth century. The mint produced silver coins, and Ginza literally means silver mint. The purpose for hiring Waters at the time was specifically to create a shopping and commercial center along the lines of those found in the great cities of Europe. It is one of the places in the city where you can enjoy “hokousha tengoku” (literally, pedestrians paradise) because the main shopping avenue in Ginza on Sunday or Saturday is closed to vehicle traffic. It’s a great spot to do some people watching, and locals actually set up their chairs and umbrellas in the street for a better view. Pedestrian hours on Saturday are from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; on Sunday, from noon to 5:00 p.m.

Even though most things to do in the Ginza District involve wealth, luxury, high prices, and iconic brand names from around the world, take some time to enjoy tours of some of the sites. The most historic structure is the Wako Company building with its landmark clock tower, completed in 1932. The company was founded in 1881 and is famous for is watches, knives, and jewelry. You can find branches of the company in the Haneda Airport, in luxury hotels, and other upscale areas. The building has a curved facade in the Renaissance Revival style, and is one of the only buildings to survive the devastation of World War II bombings. You can purchase a ticket for an entire traditional play or just for a single act at the Kabuki-za Theatre, dating to 1889 and designed to resemble the royal architecture of the Edo Castle and Imperial Palace. While the costumes and make-up in this most Japanese of performing arts are magnificent, an entire performance is not always to Western tastes as a full play can last from four to five hours.

For something more modern, you can take a tour of the ultra modern Sony Building to observe free demonstrations of all the latest electronic gadgets and see model room layouts showing the best way to arrange them in your home.

The district became quite fashionable during the period between the two World Wars, and where to shop In Tokyo Ginza became a question for the wealthy and privileged of the city, as well as for tourists on vacation and ex patriots with money to spend. There are numerous department stores and shopping centers, chic boutiques, art galleries, and stylish shopping centers. In addition to famous Japanese department stores, which are generally multi-story skyscrapers, you can find the same brand name flagship outlets that you can find on Madison Avenue in New York City and along the Champs Elysees in Paris. Where to shop In Tokyo Ginza includes shops such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Christian Dior, and even Apple computers and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Other things to do in the Ginza District include dining, some nightlife that is more subdued than raucous Roppongi, cafes and music bars, and theater. The popular cafes and coffeehouses of Ginza had their beginnings during the bohemian 1920s. If you wake up early enough to catch the action, you can visit the fascinating Tsukiji Fish Market, which is located quite nearby.

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