Ginza – The 5 best things to do

Ginza (銀座). I’m sure you heard of this place before. One square meter of real estate is worth over 10 million Yen (~77.000€/~$90,000, exchange rates as of September 2018) here, the most expensive in all of Japan (日本).

It’s most famous for the many luxury and upmarket stores where you can easily spend all your hard-earned money shopping.

It wasn’t always like that. Ginza is “silver coin mint” in Japanese and that is what this district was all about back then.

After the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, Ginza developed into the shopping paradise it is today.

Basically every big-name brand of fashion or cosmetics has a store here so you shouldn’t be missing anything.

Chuo Dori

Similarly to Akihabara (秋葉原), Ginza’s main street (Chuo Dori) is closed off to road traffic on weekend afternoons from 12:00 to 17:00 (until 18:00 From April-September). During this time, it becomes especially pleasant to roam around the area.

Note that it gets considerably more crowded on the weekends because of this reason.

Let me now give you a list of 5 awesome things to do here:

1. Shopping

Shopping is Ginza’s main focus so there’s way too many stores to list them all here.

To give you a general idea of what to expect here, I’ll give you my 5 recommended department stores/shopping centers right now:

Ginza Wako

This complex is a store for jewelry and other luxury items with a clock tower on top of it. It’s the symbol of Ginza and most likely one of the first pictures you will find regarding this district. It was built in 1932.

Hours:

Every day from 10:30 – 19:00

Ginza Six

Here we have a very new shopping center, opened in spring 2017. This newest and at the same time largest shopping complex of Ginza offers a wide variety of fashion and cosmetic goods.

In addition, you can enjoy other means of entertainment such as book stores, a rooftop garden and a theater in its basement.

Hours:

Shops: 10:30 – 20:30

Restaurants: 11:00 – 23:30

Mitsukoshi

The multiple store-brand Mitsukoshi has its own Ginza department store with 12 floors full of fun.

Shopping and other services as far as your eye can see.

Hours:

Shops: 10:30 – 20:00

Restaurants: 11:00 – 23:00

Matsuya

Matsuya is yet another department store giant which opened their eleven-floored store in Ginza. Besides normal fashion shopping, you can find household items, a pet shop and even a travel agency here.

Hours:

Shops: 10:00 – 20:00

Restaurants: 11:00 – 22:00

Tokyu Plaza Ginza

Also fairly new from 2016, the Tokyo Plaza Ginza offers 14 floors of amazing service. 2 of those are for tax free shopping and from the top floor you can enjoy a nice view of the area.

Hours:

Shops: 11:00 – 21:00

Restaurants: 11:00 – 23:00

2. Yurakucho Gado-shite Dining

Around Yurakucho Station, there is a very interesting dining district that stretches under the elevated train tracks of the JR Yamanote Line.

The district is about 700 meters long with loads of smaller restaurants and bar filling the sides.

Definitely recommended for people in search of a more unique dining experience.

Access

You can reach Yurakucho Station and its surroundings after about 6 minutes of walking from Ginza Station.

3. Kabukiza Theatre

Newly renovated in 2013, this theatre is one of the best places to experience a kabuki (歌舞伎) show. There are plays almost every day but keep in mind that you will have to book tickets in advance if you want to see a full play. Here is a link to the theatre’s schedule.

Single acts are usually sold on the day.

Prices:

Depending on length and quality of a full play, prices can range from 4,000 all the way up to 20,000+ Yen (31€/$36 – 154+€/$182+)

Single acts normally cost around 2,000 Yen (15€/$18).

Access

Kabukiza Theatre is a 7-minute walk from Ginza Station.

4. Police Museum

This museum is run by the Tokyo (東京) Metropolitan Police displaying historical uniforms and police equipment.

Entry is free of charge and while there are little to no English signs, it’s still worth a visit for those interested in the topic.

Access

There are two possibilities to get to the museum from Ginza Station:

  1. Take the Ginza Line bound for Asakusa (浅草) and get off at the first stop, Kyobashi Station. Then, walk for another 3 minutes. Total time and cost: 4 minutes; 170 Yen (1,31€/$1.54)
  2. Walk for 9-10 minutes.

5. Ginza Place

Within Ginza Place, you can visit a Nissan and a Sony Showroom, as well as enjoy a meal at the various restaurants.

Hours:

Nissan Showroom: 10:00 – 20:00

Sony Showroom: 11:00 – 19:00

Restaurants: usually 11:30 – 22:00

Access

Ginza Place is located pretty much right outside Ginza Station, you’ll reach it within 3 minutes of walking.

How to get to Ginza

The JR Yamanote Line does unfortunately not stop directly at Ginza station, only at Yurakucho Station. The distance between the two is roughly 5 minutes on foot, so that’s nothing to worry about.

Getting from Tokyo Station to Yurakucho Station takes a quick two-minute ride and costs 140 Yen (1,08€/$1.27).

If you feel like going to Ginza Station directly then you’ll have to board the Marunouchi Line (red) which also takes two minutes but costs 170 Yen (1,31€/$1.54).

All-in-all, Ginza is pretty accessible and right next to Tsukiji Fish market (which is going to close in later 2018 (at least according to plans) though, a new market near Toyosu Station will open instead).

Takeaway

With shopping being the main topic of Ginza, this is a must-go destination for any passionate shopper.

But even if you’re not and instead feel like splurging on a nice meal at a Michelin starred sushi (寿司) place or a high-end steak house, this is the place to go.

Fans of traditional Kabuki Theater and other historical sites will love it as well.

As long as it’s still open, you can combine your Ginza visit with Tsukiji fish market perfectly. Even after that, the new one is not too far as well.

Keep in mind that Ginza is generally known as an upmarket environment, so if you’re looking for some cheap items or souvenirs, you’re better off checking out Shinjuku (新宿) or Shibuya (渋谷).

That’s it for this one! Thank you very much for reading, I really appreciate it.

Stay tuned for my next article where we are going to look into the famous Philosopher’s path in Eastern Kyoto (京都)!

See you there!

Please share if you liked it! 🙂

Adventurous-Japan Author

Hi! I'm Daniel and I live in Germany. Passionate lover of everything Japanese. Thank you for reading!

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Daniel
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Daniel

I’m planning a Japan trip next year and I was thinking whether I should visit Ginza. This article gave me plenty of reasons. Thank you for sharing

rakesh kumar
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really impresive and informational artcile for travllers.

wanderlustbeautydreams
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Japan looks like such a fun place to visit. So much to do and see, would definitely add this to my itinerary whenever I go!

Tamshuk
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Ginza isn’t a place I’ve heard of before but I’d surely love to visit here. Looks an amazing place from the way you’ve described

khoingn
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I always want to visit Japan once. Thanks for the info!

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