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Ginza 銀座 (pronounced "geen-zah")


Ginza has been nicknamed the Beverly Hills of Tokyo, but it's actually been argued that it's the most luxurious shopping spot in the world and while the Manhattan clientele of Fifth Avenue may give you an argument about it, there's no mistaking that Ginza has alot to say about luxury.  It was originally known for its glamorous japanese department stores (called "depato") like Mitsukoshi, Wako (with its famous clock tower), Matsuya, and Matsuzukaya which are all within a block of each other in this pricey real estate area.  Currently, in addition to the japanese "depato" there are large boutiques from nearly every European designer and notably the only "foreign" department store in the area, Printemps.


Check out our video in Ginza:



At first glance, Ginza might look like any other shopping or commerce area in Tokyo.  It's neon lights flashing against the sky with vertical signs jetting out from the sides of its sleek buildings.


Ginza crossing at night

But look a little closer, and you can see that luxury is all about the details.  Pictured below is Ginza's Gucci store, built from the ground up in 2006 to be the most luxurious Gucci store in the world.  It holds 8 floors of Gucci grandeur and we're told that silk robes adorn the dressing rooms, for your modesty's sake of course.

Ginza Gucci


This mega-boutique has everything you can imagine from the world of Gucci, it even has its own Gucci Cafe on the 4th Floor, the only one in the world.

Ginza Gucci Cafe

 You might not be willing to part with $320 to pick up the cheapest wallet that Gucci carries, but you can certainly break out the old reliable one for a Cappuccino and Tiramisu in luxurious surroundings.

Ginza Gucci Cafe

After you're high on caffeine and sugar, you can wander around Ginza with the confidence to window shop to your heart's content.  Pictured below is the largest scarf store ever (in our opinion), Maison Hermes in Ginza.

Ginza Hermes

 The Dior store in Ginza can change from white to black or just about any combo of the two depending on its exterior lighting.

Ginza DiorGinza Dior

 But the Chanel store tops that, with its own video screen display covering the entire length of the building.  Please see the YouTube video below on the right to see the video screens in action.

Ginza Chanel



Still, what's made Ginza famous are its department stores so we'll highlight a couple for you here.


This department store (started as a clock shop) is the only one of its kind and sells just everything (except clothes) - watches, jewelry, porcelain, dishware and handbags, but it's a significant landmark for Tokyo as its one of the rare buildings that withstood the bombings of WWII.  The clock tower has become an endearing symbol of the area so much, that this neo-renaissance building built in 1932 makes Ginza what it is today.

Ginza Wako

Across from Wako Ginza's famous building stands the luxurious Mitsukoshi


.Mitsukoshi may be the most glamorous department store in Tokyo.  It's certainly the most experienced celebrating its 205th year in business as a department store (Mitsukoshi was first a kimono shop established in 1673, it became a "depato" in 1904).

Ginza Mitsukoshi

Pictured above is Mitsukoshi Ginza's exterior, and below is its interior.
Ginza Mitsukoshi

 Beautiful right?  Well if you want a quick look around then consider stopping at french tea house "Laduree" on the second floor. Ginza Laduree

Enjoy beautiful surroundings and a nice view while you taste some of the best pastries you've ever had in your life.  Laduree is known for its fresh pastel macaroons, but we recommend getting anything on the menu that looks good, because it is good.

Laduree in Ginza Mitsukoshi

If it's too soon for you to have another snack, consider passing your time first at the Sony building. 

Sony Building
Sony Ginza

Pictured above (adjacent to Hermes) is the headquarters for mega electronics and entertainment company, Sony.  This is the place to be if you want to check out the latest and greatest games, newest technologies and prototype gadgets like the robot Qrio (he's not Asimo that's Honda) but he'll still wave and say "konichiwa" to you.

Sony Qrio

Or maybe you wanted to check out the largest virtual aquarium the world has ever known....oh....it's real fish.  :-(  However, they do have another area where they have 200 inch screens with the fake ole' virtual fish we were looking for.

Sony Aquarium 2006

If you really have some time to kill (between cafes) you might as well check out or try out all the new PS3 games.  They won't be in the U.S. for months, so you can be on the cutting edge of what to expect next.

Sony Ginza



Kabuki-za 歌舞伎座

This famous theatre (originally constructed in 1889 as seen below, but rebuilt several times) in Ginza is one of the few kabuki theatres in Japan.  Kabuki is a highly stylized Japanese dance-drama with its tradition dating back to 1603.

Kabuki-za 1910

Kabuki performances are very long sometimes lasting 4 or 5 hours, but you can purchase tickets for a single act, shortening your time (and cost) considerably.  Please check out the YouTube video below for a sample of what a Kabuki theatre performance is like.

Inside the theatre audience members are likely to be very quiet and polite compared to american audiences.  Also, you should know that although there are concessions (food and drink) sold at the Kabuki-za, it's impolite to eat during the performance, but you can bring something or buy something for the intermission.

You can click on either of the Kabuki pics above to get more information about tickets and here is the link to the theatre's schedule and pricing per act.  Please note that the price per act does NOT include admission.  Admission prices are listed at the bottom of the program.  Prices start at around $50 for one act, seen from the top floor.

Getting There - Ginza

From Nakano 中野 - Take the Chuo 中央 line or the Chuo-Sobu 中央総武 line to Shinjuku and follow signs to the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi 丸ノ内 Line and take that to Ginza 銀座.

Price: 320

Time: 24 minutes


From Shinjuku 新宿 - Take the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi 丸ノ内 Line and  to Ginza 銀座.

Price: 190

Time: 16 minutes


For more upscale shopping and restaurants, please click the link below:

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