Tokyo: the Ginza district 銀座
The Champs-Elysées of Japan: luxury shopping in Ginza
High-end boutique addicts love the chic and shocking district of Ginza. Enthusiasts of contemporary architecture come to admire buildings tending to an innovative perfection of lines and shapes. The most curious sneak through its alleys where small shops, bars and restaurants established there for decades have given a special character to a place sometimes called "Fifth Avenue of Japan".
Glamorous Ginza: luxury shopping in Tokyo
The embodiment of all Western sophistication from the start of the 20th century, Ginza, near the popular Tsukiji district, has had its ups and downs. In a decade, the luxury brands have invested in the famous avenue, offering themselves impressive constructions and the competition is raging. Hermès in glass pavé, Dior in steel lace, or Gucci in warm materials, set the tone. As the Japanese National Tourism Board proclaims: "The Devil wears Ginza"!
In addition to its private art galleries, its stylish boutiques, like the incomparable Ito-ya stationery, Ginza welcomes, along its central street (Chuo-dori) and adjacent streets, the Wako department stores, and Mitsukoshi, the recently renovated Sony Building, Shiseido, Piaget, Louis Vuitton and Bvlgari. The newcomer to these luxury buildings, GINZA SIX, houses the biggest Japanese and international brands, restaurants, cafes, and art galleries. If so much pomp makes you dizzy, climb to the roof to take in the air in its terraced garden from which you can contemplate the two towers of Tokyo: Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, and the surrounding districts. Also don't miss Ginza Place, at one of the corners of the Ginza crossroads: a 10-story building covered with 5,315 aluminum panels assembled in a trellis pattern inspired by the "sukashibori" technique of flower arrangements or flowers. incense burners. Opened in September 2016, it houses, among others, the Nissan and Sony showrooms.
Discovery of the most popular Ginza
Tokyo is a city of contrasts and Ginza is no exception. From its past, the district has kept its Shinto shrines, nine in total, which serve to protect the district and its inhabitants. For example, one can discover, wedged between two buildings, the small Toyoiwa Inari shrine, dedicated to the god Ukemochi-no-mikoto, who is supposed to protect against fires but also to promote the encounter with a soul mate for 400 years.
Alongside the ostentatious luxury of big brand stores, there are also small, somewhat outdated boutiques, legendary bars such as Lupine, and restaurants established in the district long before the brands competed for it. The Kimuraya bakery, she sells anpan (Anko "red bean paste" bun) since 1874. In the streets, one can also find the used camera store, arthouse cinemas, and even two sentos, public baths, the Ginza-Yu and the Onsen Komparu-yu.
Going from the world of high-fashion and Michelin star restaurants to that of nudity in public baths straight out of the 19th century is an experience that only Tokyo can offer!
- To go further: Where to go to the public bath in Tokyo
And if you can't afford designer clothes, Ginza is also home to the largest Uniqlo store in the world. Opened in 2012, it spans 12 floors, i.e. 53,375 m2 !
Japanese art in Ginza
Apart from private art galleries, many large brands and shopping complexes host temporary exhibitions. The Shiseido Gallery, opened in 1919, is the oldest art gallery in Japan. It offers rotating exhibitions on contemporary art that are completely free.
Ginza 6, Ginza Place, is also home to exhibition halls and modern art galleries.
Photography enthusiasts can take a look at the small Canon Gallery Ginza showroom, located in the same building as a Canon camera repair center.
Finally, Ginza is known for its Kabuki theater, the famous Kabuki-za theater. You will be able to discover Japanese drama from the 17th century in a fabulous setting. If you can't attend a play, go to the gallery where costumes and accessories are on display, and where you can attend lectures or demonstrations. Guided tours are also available. You can also visit the second basement where all kinds of kabuki-themed souvenirs are on sale.
And to respect the famous motto "Between tradition and modernity", go from one universe to another by booking a night in the designer capsule hotel in Tokyo: The Prime Pod Ginza Tokyo.
Address, timetable & access
TimetableTake the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line to Ginza station.