The elegant Ginza district is the number one destination for luxury shopping and dining gourmet. Located in the center of Chuo Dori Avenue, along this avenue are exclusive department stores and famous boutiques and restaurants, many of which have been in operation since the early years of the last century or even longer. Ginza has long been a place where customers can expect special levels of service and luxury to this day. Over the years, Ginza has been the spearhead of the latest trends in fashion, art and gourmet food. The style of its stores that have been around for a long time is perfectly combined with the young vibrancy of the newer businesses.
He Wako building, located in the heart of the district, is one of the best known symbols of Ginza. Since it was founded in 1881, Wako has maintained its reputation as one of Japan’s leading luxury goods distributors, especially in the fields of jewelry, men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and interior design.
Across from Wako is the Ginza branch of department stores Mitsukoshi, one of the leading distributors, with several stores both at home and abroad. The Ginza branch was the center of attention when it reopened in September 2010 with a major renovation that boosted its sales space by more than 50%. Each floor offers a selection of the “Ginza Styles” Highlights, chosen by Mitsukoshi employees. Ginza is all about bringing style and luxury into the daily lives of its clients.
In addition to luxury department stores, Ginza is also famous for its concentration of specialty dealers that have been around for many years. Here you can find the base of the Mikimoto pearls for example. The firm was started in 1899 by Mikimoto Kokichi, the first person to achieve cultivating pearls successfully. From the first time it opened its doors, Mikimoto has always used its own design work on its displays. Today, Mikimoto maintains a proud tradition of refinement in its appearance and atmosphere.
TheGinza Tailor Company, established in 1946 specializes in fine tailored clothing, and counts several political or business leaders among its clients. The specialist Ginza tanizawa, founded in 1874 offers a “concierge bag” service in which employees with at least two decades of experience offer their clients expert advice on different types of leather and stitches. Ginza Yoshinoya, a shoe store founded in 1907, offers unsurpassed quality and comfort thanks to its unique measurement system that measures the circumference around the foot as well as length and width.
There are many other old shops specializing in Japanese culture. One of them is Kyukyodo, a specialist incense and calligraphy shop that first opened in Kyoto in 1663. The Ginza branch opened until 1880. First-floor displays display paper washi luxury, letters that evoke the four seasons and a wide array of stationery and writing utensils. Ginza Kunoya dates from 1873, specialist in traditional Japanese clothing such as kimonos, obi, socks tabi and fabrics of furoshiki. These items are popular with foreign tourists looking for a distinctive souvenir from Japan.
Besides the stores, Ginza has much more to offer. It is also a popular destination for gourmet food, with culinary chefs with skills unmatched anywhere in the world. The best restaurants in sushi can be found here. One of the best known is Sukiyabashi Jiro, whose owner, Mizutani Hachiru He worked for a long time as Ono’s sub chef. Araki Mitsushiro, owner of the Araki restaurant, worked in famous restaurants in Tokyo and a Japanese restaurant in Australia before opening his own business. In addition to finding restaurants specializing in tempura, eel and other types of Japanese food, there are several high-quality international establishments of French, Italian or Chinese cuisine.
Another attraction of Ginza is its sophisticated cafes. Famous for its sweets, Shiseido Parlor pioneered western style food. It opened in 1902, with a menu offering sodas and ice cream, something rare in Japan at the time. In Ginza senbikiya can be found parfaits and sweets, as well as fresh fruits grown with the greatest care. Many of the district’s Japanese-style cafes offer snacks and teas on the menu, including Ginza Matsuzaki Senbei, founded in 1804, and the Ginza Fugetsudo, a specialist in Japanese sweets and pastries that was founded in 1872. These oases offer customers a place to sit and relax.
Ginza shows a different face on weekends, when the central avenue of Chuo Dori closes to traffic and it becomes a paradise for passersby. A walk along the sophisticated boulevards of Ginza is a popular activity on weekends, with both local residents and visitors from outside.