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Tokyo/Ginza

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Tokyo : Ginza
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The Ginza (銀座) district of Tokyo, literally "Silver Mint", is in the Chuo ward. It is considered the high fashion center of the city and contains many upscale shops and restaurants.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Getting to Ginza is easy - in the heart of the area is Ginza station, connected to the Marunouchi (M16), Ginza (G09), and Hibiya (H08) subway lines. Alternatively you may walk to the area from the JR Shimbashi or Yurakucho stations, Higashi-Ginza station on the Toei Asakusa (A11) or the Ginza Itchome station on the Yurakucho (Y19) subway line.

Wako Department Store

Connections from Narita Airport can be made either by taking the Keisei line to Ueno, then changing to the Ginza line (¥2690 and 75 minutes via Keisei's reserved Skyliner service, or ¥1500 and about 85 minutes via their express commuter service), or by JR's Narita Express to Tokyo Station and then the Marunouchi subway (¥3240, 70 minutes). Both airport services offer numerous additional connections if your destination is closer to another station. Domestic passengers flying into Haneda Airport have it easier - Keikyu trains travel directly from the airport to the Asakusa Line's Higashi-Ginza station (¥500, 30 minutes).

By bus[edit]

Airport Limousine Buses run from the airport to major hotels in Ginza, taking 80-90 minutes under normal highway traffic and costing ¥3100. A cheaper option however is the TYO-NRT Bus to Tokyo Station (¥1300) and then the Marunouchi subway (¥170).

See[edit][add listing]

  • San-ai Dream Center (三愛ドリームセンター), 5-7-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3571-4275. 10AM–7:30PM. The heart of Ginza is the intersection of Chuo-dori and Harumi-dori, dominated by the glass cylinder of this building. With its huge neon sign, it's been the image of Ginza on postcards and travel books for decades now. The other corners are occupied by Wako and Mitsukoshi, two of the most prestigious department stores (the former being a cut above), and the Nissan Crossing, which shows off new and classic automobiles.  edit
  • Ginza Sony Park, 5-3-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku (At Sukiyabashi Crossing.), [1]. 11AM–7PM. The Sony Showroom has four floors of the latest Sony products, with a small shop on the 3rd floor. The building also houses a BMW showroom.  edit
  • The side streets of Ginza are full of art galleries featuring paintings, photography, and graphic design. The Nichido Garo (日動画廊) near the B9 exit of the Metro Ginza line is one of the most famous, often frequented by collectors from Europe and the United States.
  • During Christmas, Ginza's streets are illuminated. 126 trees in Ginzanamiki street are decorated with 75 thousand light bulbs, and 76 trees in Hanatsubaki Street are decorated with 35 thousand light bulbs which are made in the shape of stars. The illuminations are turned on on November 15.
  • Ginza Blossom (銀座ブロッサム), 2-15-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3542-8585, [2]. This theater hosts a variety of different events. See the website for a partial listing. Cost varies by event and seating. (35.671199,139.771172) edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Weekends on Chuo-dori are Pedestrians' Paradise (歩行者天国), with the street closed to motor traffic during the day. You can catch street music (nothing too loud) and performance, hawkers selling magical puppets which dance without strings, and thousands of other people to bump into.
  • Kabukiza Theater (歌舞伎座 Kabukiza), 4-12-15 Ginza, near the corner of Showa-dori and Harumi-dori (exit the Higashi-Ginza Stn of the Asakusa and Hibiya subway lines), 03-3541-3131, [3]. The best way to see traditional Japanese theater is to go to Kabuki-za for a single act, or hitomaku-mi, which lasts between one and two hours. This costs around ¥800, depending on the length, and seating is on the fourth floor. An English audio guide describes the play while you watch, it is worthwhile at ¥400. You can also see the complete kabuki play, but this is a lengthy affair, and ticket prices can range from ¥3500 to ¥20,000. If it's around mealtime, pick up a bento at one of the local shops and take it in.  edit
  • Movie theaters are plentiful in the Ginza-Yurakucho area, and as many of them are quite old, they're spacious as well.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Ginza is the home of Tokyo's oldest and most prestigious department stores; the most exclusive is probably Wako. And of course Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel and Prada have stores as well, as do most other fashion brands you can think of.

  • Tokyo Kyukyodo (東京鳩居堂), 03-3571-4429, [4]. Located right across the street from Wako and its landmark clock tower on Ginza's main intersection, this two-floor shop specializes in the traditional Japanese paraphernalia (papers, fans, calligraphy brushes, votive scents etc.). A popular stop for foreigners in search for something exotic and genuine.  edit
  • Itoya (伊東屋), 2-7-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3216-0041, [5]. Beside the huge Matsuya department store, which is beside the huge Mitsukoshi department store (both being prestigious and expensive), which in turn is across the street from Wako. A 9-floor building packed with all things stationary, from pencils to paintbrushes, you name it. Not exactly discount price considering its location and prestige, but a stationery shop with a collection of this size is hard to come by in Japan.  edit
  • Ginza Tanizawa (銀座タニザワ), 1-7-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3567-7551, [6]. 10:30AM–7:30PM, Sun 11AM–7PM. For state of art leather bags fit for the imperial family, try Tanizawa down the same avenue.  edit
  • There are many famous brand shops in Namiki street, such as Gucci or Coach. If you are low on cash, you can enjoy just looking around the street.
  • Yurakucho has branches of two large discount electronics stores, Bic Camera and Sofmap. The former, right next to the Yamanote tracks, is housed in what was until 2001 the famous Sogo department store, which in 1958 spawned a popular hit song, "Yurakucho de Aimasho" ("Let's Meet at Yurakucho"). The big red building housing the latter used to be a theater for the renowned all-female Takarazuka Revue.
  • Hakuhinkan Toy Park (博品館), 8-8-11 v, Chuo-ku (south end of Ginza-dori by the elevated highway), 03-3571-8008, [7]. One of the oldest and largest toy stores in Japan (it first opened in 1899), this is the place to go for all the latest cute and strange toys.  edit
  • Apple Store Ginza, 3-5-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku (corner of Chuo-dori and Matsuya-dori), 03-5159-8200, [8]. 11AM–9PM. The ultimate in high-tech hipness, where de rigueur neckwear means an iPod, not a black tie. Easily recognized by its ultra-modern stainless steel paneled exterior.  edit
  • Tenshodo (天賞堂), 6-9-3 Ginza 7F, Chuo-ku (on Harumi-dori), 03-6264-5156, [9]. Jeweler and maker of luxury watches. The upper floors, however, are devoted to model trains, many of which match the watches in intricacy and price.  edit
  • Mikimoto (ミキモト 銀座4丁目本店), 4-5-5 Ginza, Chuo City, 03-3535-4611, [10]. 11AM–7PM. The inventors of cultured pearls, has their inaugural shop located right next to Wako.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Melon-pan, a unique circular bun flavored with honey melon, has been popular throughout Japan for several years. Most of melon-pan’s surface is of a cookie consitency, and looks like an inverted cut up melon in its skin. Ginza is known as the cradle of Melon pan, though the veracity of the story is uncertain. Hotel Okura and Hotel Seiyou’s bread has become very famous. Some shops such as Ginza Kimuraya sell melon-pan in special flavors such as coffee or orange.

Budget[edit]

  • Yoshinoya (吉野家 銀座3丁目店), 3-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3567-2993, [11]. 8AM–8PM. One of a nationwide chain of rice bowl restaurants, the Ginza location is just north of the Apple Store on Chuo-dori.  edit
  • Several cheap restaurants can be found in the alleys northwest of the main intersection (Ginza Yon-chome). They may be difficult to find as they usually have a plain entrance or they are located in an alley between buildings.

Walk along the sides of Ginza Station and around, there are many cheap places to eat and small places have vending machines and are happy to give you English menus and help out with the vending machine- you just have to ask. They are good places to eat and offer good variety around ¥350-900 for a good curry or bowl of ramen. Look for the little curtains and the sound of cooking.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Mitsukoshi and Matsuya Ginza's. Basement floors offer a variety of foods at a reasonable price. Food ranges from pre-made bentos to bakeries to sandwich shops. You can also get a quick snack at no cost by trying the various samples that are offered. There are no areas to sit and eat and unless you can get a table on Chuo-dori on the weekend, you may have trouble eating your recently purchased meals.  edit
  • Nair's Restaurant (ナイルレストラン), 4-10-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3541-8246, [12]. 11:30AM–9:30PM. One of the oldest Indian restaurants in Japan, founded in 1949. The Murghee lunch is a favorite - sit back and let the waiter cut up the chicken for you on your plate.  edit
  • Nataraj (ナタラジ 銀座店), 6-9-4 Ginza 7F-9F, Chuo-ku (1 min from Ginza Stn A2 exit), 03-5537-1515, [13]. 11:30AM-11PM, lunch to 2:30PM. A terrific Indian vegetarian restaurant in the midst of Ginza, offering an excellent lunch buffet for ¥1050, and beautiful decor as well.  edit
  • Toshiba Building, located next to the Sony Building. In the basement are reasonable restaurants. You can start your day shopping in Yurakucho and stop at this building for lunch before heading to Ginza, or do the opposite.  edit
  • Ginza is also within walking distance of Yurakucho (for izakaya and cheap Western restaurants) and Tsukiji (for top-grade sushi).

Splurge[edit]

Ginza hosts many of Japan's most exclusive (and expensive) ryotei, many of which require not just reservations but introductions before they'll grant you the privilege of paying up to ¥50,000 per person (excluding drinks) for your meal. The following options are somewhat more down to earth and take walk-in diners, at least at lunchtime.

  • Chikuyōtei (竹葉亭), 8-14-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku (Higashi-Ginza Stn), 03-3542-0789. Mon-Sat 11:30AM-2:30PM, 4:30PM-8PM. The original store of Japan's best known unagi (eel) restaurant chain, serving up luscious kabayaki (grilled eel with sauce) since 1876. Full courses start from ¥7350 and climb up to twice that (reservations required), but a basic unadon with soup is an almost reasonable 2625.  edit
  • Ginza Shiseido Parlour (資生堂パーラー 銀座本店レストラン), Shiseido Bldg 4-5F, 8-8-3 Ginza, and several other nearby locations, 03-5537-6241, [14]. Operated by the cosmetics giant Shiseido, the Parlour (founded 1902) is one of the swankiest places to dine. Lunch specials go for ¥4,000, but the most famous item on the menu is the lobster and abalone curry for ¥10,000.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Coffee[edit]

  • Le Cafe Doutor Ginza (ル・カフェ ドトール 銀座店), San-ai Bldg 1F, Ginza 5-7, 03-5537-8959, [15]. 7:30AM–11PM, Sat-Sun 8AM–11PM. Located in the famous San-ai Building, this expensive coffee shop is very popular for "people watching". Unfortunately, the view from the patio is blocked by the police box, but it is still great. Doutor also has various shops along Chuo-dori and it's one of the biggest chains in Tokyo. Mind you, the price of coffee at this particular one is somewhat inflated compared to the more common normal doutors at other places.  edit
  • Ginza Cafe Paulista (カフェーパウリスタ), Nagasaki Center Bldg 1F, 8-9 Ginza, 03-3572-6160, [16]. 9AM–8PM, Sun 11:30AM–7PM. One of the oldest cafes in Japan and a favorite of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Paulista opened in 1909 with beans imported directly from Santos, Brazil.  edit
  • Happy Plaza, 5-7-5 Ginza 9F, Chuo-ku. Located on the 9th floor in the cylinder of San-ai building. The location complete with floor to ceiling windows provides a stunning view of Chuo-dori and the Wako and Mitsukoshi stores opposite. In addition to the usual cakes and drinks a light meal is available during lunch hours.  edit

Bars and pubs[edit]

  • Three Hundred Bar, two locations: Fazenda Bldg B1F, 5-9-11; and Ginza Dai-Ni Column Bldg B1F, 8-3-12, 03-3572-6300, [17]. Mon-Sat 5PM-2AM, Sun/Hol 5PM-11PM. Both bars have a mixed foreign and Japanese clientele. All drinks are ¥315.  edit
  • Duffy's, Andoshippo Bldg B1F, 5-6-2 (just west of the main Ginza crossing). An Irish pub with an authentic look and feel, as well as ¥500 Guinness during happy hour.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Accommodation in Ginza itself is limited and generally more expensive, though there are some inexpensive options available. You can shave a fair bit off the price by heading around the corner to Shimbashi, which is a major train hub and has lots of serviceable mid-range and capsule hotels.

Budget[edit]

  • Hotel Sunroute Ginza (ホテルサンルート銀座), 1-15-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-5579-9733, [18]. checkin: 15; checkout: 10. A budget-conscious hotel chain, in Ginza as well, and offers reasonable and inexpensive accommodations. ¥5000~.  edit
  • Hotel Ginza Daiei (ホテル銀座ダイエー), 3-12-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3545-1111, [19]. checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Located close to Higashi-Ginza Station, this clean and decent hotel is close to everything Ginza offers. A 10 sq. meter room is listed for ¥12,000, but it's considerably cheaper on hotel booking engines. ¥12,000~.  edit
  • Quintessa Hotel Tokyo Ginza (クインテッサ ホテル 東京 銀座), 4-11-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku (1 min walk from Higashi-Ginza Stn Exit A7), 03-6264-1350, [20]. checkin: 15; checkout: 10. One of the more reasonable and budget friendly hotels, given the area. ¥4500.  edit
  • Tokyo Ginza Bay Hotel (東京銀座ベイホテル), 7-13-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-6226-1078, [21]. checkin: 15; checkout: 10. A capsule hotel in Ginza with separate floors for men and women. ¥7000.  edit

Mid range[edit]

  • Ginza International Hotel (銀座国際ホテル, ''Ginza Kokusai Hoteru''), 8-7-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku (use the JR Yamanote Line and the Ginza Subway Line, a 3 or 4 min walk from Shimbashi Stn), 03-3574-1121 (fax: 03-3289-0478), [22]. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11AM. Conveniently located hotel with spacious rooms equipped with fridge, wi-fi, satellite TV and tea set. ¥18,000~.  edit
  • Hotel Monterey Ginza, 2-10-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-3544-7111. This hotel, owned by a Japanese businesswoman, caters to women. Located in the heart of the Ginza district, the Monterey offers comfortable rooms and has a friendly front desk staff. Across the street is one of the many AM/PM convenience stores where a traveler may purchase needed items 24 hrs a day.  edit
  • Mercure Hotel Ginza, 2-9-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku, 03-4335-1111, [23]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Modern 4-star hotel by the Mercure chain. Though the rooms are quite small, the price in this area is competitive. 3 min walk to the famous Luis Vuitton boutique on Ginza street. ¥12,000~.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Mandarin Oriental (マンダリン オリエンタル 東京), 2-1-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo-ku, 03-3270-8800, [24]. This exclusive hotel has fabulous rooms, a world class spa and a Michelin 1 Star Signature Restaurant. The hotel also has fitness facilities that rival anything in Tokyo with views to match. ¥40,000~.  edit
  • Royal Park Hotel in Tokyo (ロイヤルパークホテル), 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Kakigara-cho, 03-3667-1111, [25]. Five star accommodation conveniently located in central Tokyo, ideal for business travelers and holiday makers. Easy accessible from Tokyo's Airport, Royal Park Hotel in Tokyo stands next door to the TCAT (Tokyo City Air Terminal) from where buses leave and arrive several times every hour to Narita International Airport.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Tokyo Station - the Marunouchi and Yaesu districts around Tokyo Station are a short 20 minute walk north of Ginza's center
  • Yurakucho - west of Ginza, this area houses a mix of commercial and reasonable shopping compared to Ginza's high end areas
  • Hama-Rikyu Detached Palace Garden - south of the Ginza, these former Imperial pleasure gardens are an oasis of tranquility in a hectic city. Here you can catch a tour boat which will take you up the Samida River to Asakusa. From the river, much of the Tokyo skyline is visible.
  • Tsukiji - south-east of Ginza, this area is famous for its fish and vegetable market - be aware that restaurants inside the market are generally busy and expensive while small eateries outside the market are more affordable and nearly as fresh.
  • Hibiya Park - just west of Ginza past the Sony Building and elevated highway, this park contains many different European styles. In May/June, the azaleas are in bloom.
  • Imperial Palace - just north of Hibiya Park, making it an easy walk from Ginza. Enjoy the open parks and venture a little into the public park area.
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