The name Ginza came from “Ginza Yakusho,” a silver coin manufacturer. After the Meiji Government renovated old Ginza town into a Western-style brick town, merchants handling commodities from Western Europe opened their shops in this area one after another. In the early 20th century, some people began thinking that strolling through Ginza in itself was a “cool” thing to do. The streets in Ginza are based on human scale, with the blocks from 1-chome to 8-chome arranged coherently in a grid system. Enjoy strolling in Ginza as you feel different atmospheres of each block.
■1 and 2-chome
Ginza is famous as a town of art too, with Okuno Building, with about 20 tenant galleries, and Pola Museum Annex. Ginza Itoya is a stationery shop that opened in 1904. Since its reopening in 2015, visitors can also enjoy the café and the lounge. Italian restaurant BVLGARI Il Ristorante is on the 10th floor in the Bvlgari Ginza Tower. Okura House, to be opened on October 1, 2016, will have high-end tenants, such as Cartier Ginza Boutique and Japanese restaurant Kiccho. At champagne café “bubbles ginza” just opened in August, a set of stuffed baguettes and quinoa salad (1,200 yen) is recommended for lunch. HIGASHIYA GINZA will welcome you with a soothing aroma of Japanese tea.
■3, 4 and 5-chome
At the Ginza 4-chome crossing is the center of the Ginza area, along with the towering building of Wako, which is one of the most prestigious department stores in Japan, Mitsukoshi, which is considered to be Japan’s first department store, has its branch there. The 2nd floor in the basement is a food floor with many popular food-related shops and stores. Under the theme of “The Trendiest Global Department Store,” Mitsukoshi reopened in September, 2015 after a major renovation. It has a wide range of products and services covering food, clothing, and housing goods, from the latest trends from Japan and abroad to Japan’s superior monozukuri skills to introduction of various cultures.
The Chuo-dori Street and Harumi-dori Street are lined with high-brand shops, along with Matsuya Ginza department store. The assessment of the land in front of Tokyo Kyukyodo, a Japanese stationery shop, has been the highest in Japan for 31 consecutive years, 32 million yen per square-meter. GINZA PLACE is scheduled to open on September 24 but a beer bar and beer hall operated by Sapporo Lion opened earlier on August 3 on the basement floors. On the 7th floor, two restaurants directed by Thierry Marx, a grand chef of a Michelin two-star French restaurant in Paris and also a baker, namely BISTRO MARX and THIERRY MARX, are to open. At BISTRO MARX, dishes using brioche are offered.
You can find many traditional restaurants that serve delicious Western dishes, yoshoku, such as pork cutlet at Rengatei, katsu curry at Ginza Swiss, and stews at Ginza Furukawa. Ginza Kokoro serves original Japanese dishes with seasonal ingredients. ANTEPRIMA Casa Cucina, the first restaurant of the fashion brand ANTEPRIMA, opened on July 29. If you get tired during your strolling, there are many nice places you can take a rest, including Wako Annex Tea Salon, Ginza Sembikiya Fruit Parlor, Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier Café, and Rire Ginza.
At a corner of Higashi-ginza is Kabukiza Theater, where you can enjoy the gallery and taste Japanese tea and sweets at Jugetsudo Ginza Kabukiza Branch in a relaxing atmosphere.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza opened in March, 2016. It has a lounge café with a huge open ceiling space, from which you can view the streets of Ginza through the windows with beautiful Edo-kiriko cut glass’s geometric patterns. It also has “Find Japan Market,” featuring Japan’s traditional technological skills, and Lotte Duty Free GINZA.
■6, 7 and 8-chome
Dover Street Market Ginza is a concept store designed by Rei Kawakubo, the designer of COMME des Garcons. Rose Bakery Ginza, a branch of a French bakery, serves delicious dishes mainly with fresh vegetables. SHISEIDO GALLERY is actively promoting modern arts. Gekkoso is a traditional art supply shop. Salon de Café in Shiseido Parlour Ginza serves an intoxicating strawberry parfait!
Currently, a Ginza 6-chome Project (tentative title) is in progress. One of the largest-scale facility complexes in the Ginza area, it is scheduled to open in April 2017, with offices and commercial facilities along with Kanze Nogakudo, the hub of the Kanze-ryu school, the biggest school of Noh, in the basement.