This is Tokyo’s centre of glitz and glamor. It’s not a particularly cheapo-friendly zone when it comes to shopping, but well worth a visit for a spot of ginbura — Ginza browsing.
Where is Ginza?
Ginza is a central Western Tokyo neighborhood, and part of Chuo Ward. It’s just a short walk south of Tokyo Station.
What is Ginza like?
Ginza is a fancy, upmarket shopping district and it won’t let you forget it. You’re far more likely to find internationally-recognized luxury brand clothes and accessories here than a charming Mom-and-Pop shop or hip independent coffee store.
Originally, it was part of the downtown area of Edo (olden days Tokyo), and still has a bit of that old school charm. But the area was always somewhat posh. It was named after a silver mint that used to be there after all.
What is Ginza known for?
In short, shopping for luxury and high-end goods. Or wondering around and daydreaming that one day you can too. It has a long history as an area where the wealthy go to shop their fortunes away and not too much has changed. In fact, some of the shops in the area have been around in one form or another for over a hundred years — take the Seiko watch company for example.
Where to Eat & Drink
Ginza has no shortage of top-class sushi if you feel like splashing out. There are also fancy cafés like Lindt and French pâtissiers. You can find the regular cheapo restaurant options like Doutor (though it looks swankier here) and Denny’s too. If you’re looking for coffee, you’re in the right place, with excellent, but expensive, coffee shops lining the streets.
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 Chanel, 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 numerous art galleries (many of them free to enter), and then take a moment to appreciate the architecture.
Ginza has the biggest concentration of awesome modern architecture outside of Omotesandō. 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 Dōri — 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.
For more things to do in Ginza, check out this article.
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.