A plaque on the street in Ginza claims to mark the single most expensive spot of land on the entire planet. This is Tokyo’s centre of glitz and glamour – not a particularly cheapo-friendly zone when it comes to shopping, but well worth a visit for a spot of ginbura – Ginza browsing.
Get off at Ginza Station on the Marunouchi, Ginza or Hibiya Line, Higashi-Ginza Station on the Toei-Asakusa Line, or Ginza-itchome Station on the Yurakucho Line- and get exploring. Fun fact: Ginza is the fourth busiest station in Tokyo.
Where to Eat & Drink
Ginza has no shortage of top-class sushi (and we’re not talking about Sukiyabashi Jiro) if you feel like splashing out, and there are also fancy cafes like Lindt and French patissiers. While you won’t find many convenience stores, there are the regular cheapo restaurant options like Doutor (though it looks swankier here) and Denny’s. You can often find good deals at the department stores, and Indian restaurant Nataraj has an all-you-can-eat vegetarian curry buffet at lunchtimes for 1130 yen. If you’re looking for coffee, you’re in the right place, with excellent, but expensive, coffee shops lining the streets.
When it comes to boozing, Ginza has a huge number of bars – but they tend to be overpriced and sometimes have dodgy touts outside. Our advice is to go drinking in nearby Shibuya or Shinjuku instead.
What to Do
Hordes of wealthy tourists hit Ginza to shop till they drop/melt their credit cards. As you’d expect, there is an array of the most expensive boutiques and brands in the world. You’ll find a sparkly Shimansky store, Cartier and Louis Vuitton, amongst many more luxury names. Once you’ve window shopped your way around these (and your palpitations have subsided), check out the ultra snazzy Apple store, explore the Sony building, and then forget the shops in favour of something more interesting – the architecture.
Ginza has the biggest concentration of awesome modern architecture outside of Omotesando. Notable examples include the Hermes building, which was designed by Renzo Piano, and the Mikimoto building, designed by by Toyo Ito. You can see these (as well as a random Godzilla) on our free one-day walking tour.
While you’re in Ginza, keep your eyes peeled for public art installations – they change regularly. And on Sunday each week, Chuo Dori – the main thoroughfare through Ginza – becomes ‘Pedestrian Paradise’. The road is blocked to all traffic and tables and chairs are placed in the middle of the street.
Where to Stay
Ginza is more of a day-visit than a place to stay (unless you’re mega rich), so we recommend booking a hotel in Shibuya, Akasaka or one of the other accommodation hubs. Have a look at our detailed Accommodation Guide for ideas on hostels, hotels, Airbnb rooms and other options.
Image credit: Joi Ito used under CC license