The Ginza was the first district where Western imports and architecture were displayed following the opening of Japan to the outside world in the 1860's. It has evolved into the most expensive and exclusive shopping district in the country with the finest boutiques, large department stores, restaurants and bars. The famous Hankyu and Seibu stores are owned by railroad companies and Printemps is here as well. Sony and Apple stores are among the technology companies represented as well. But the spectacular neon lights at night are also a reason to visit the Ginza neighborhood as seen on these images (among my most ancient slides).
Ginza is the most well-known shopping and commercial area in Tokyo. When I lived in Tokyo as a student, I seldom visited this place. I simply did not like the crowd of people there. But now not living in Tokyo, I always visit Ginza whenever I visit Japan. I like to look around new shops, book-stores and record shops. They also have fancy coffee shops and restaurants. Who doesn't visit Broadway, Oxford Street or Avenue de Champs Elysees?
I'm not big on shopping, and even if I were it's likely that the Ginza would be out of my price range, but it's worth wandering around the area on a hopping Saturday afternoon to get a feel for the action. Even during the economic downturn of 2009, the streets were still buzzing with stylish shoppers going in and out of stores. The people watching is excellent -- especially on the weekends when some of the streets are pedestrian only. The stores are easily recognizable with familiar brandnames, and everyone (except for me) is dressed to the nines. Oh, I did buy something: a coffee and pastry at Cafe La Tour.
....THe Japanese must be the most brand-concious consumers in the world -- especially the young women. If you're into big designer names, though, this is the place to be. You can check out the newest, cutting-edge products in the Sony showroom (I saw my first HDTV here in 1991) or you can feel poor walking through the Dior, Chanel or Hermes buildings -- in Ginza, it's not enough to have a store, you must have a whole building!!
Tokyo's Ginza area is the shopping area mainly aimed at a wealthier audience, although it seems like every second Japanese woman walks around with a Louis Vuitton bag anyway. Because of its elegant boutiques and department stores the Ginza has become the internationally most known part of Tokyo.
You should go her to see the old Kabuki-za theater and the big branch of Mitsukoshi with all its luxury good from chocolate to clothes on Harumi-dôri. On Chûô-dôri you will find further department stores and boutiques as well as the Toyko Central Musueum of Art and the main store of the cosmetic manufacturer Shiseidô ( Shiseidô, the Ginza ).
The must-see, must-experience place in Tokyo. It's interesting to see that most departments stores have uniformed receptionists in colourful outfits, hats and thick makeup.
Well heeled ladies in kimonos, office workers in business suits, high school girls with their mini skirts - a mix of Tokyoites in all forms.
Bright neon lights in the evenings, glitzy shopping arcades, towering office buildings - a hodgepodge of activities.
What more can I say?
Ginza used to be the symbol for the modernization & westernization of Japan. Here, you find a mixture of old tradition and modern Tokyo. It is a shopping heaven for those who love to shop and enjoy life as there are thousands of shops, restaurants, night clubs and business offices.
Must see: Tokyo Kyukyodo, traditional Japanese craft shop, located on Ginza-dori Ave (a few shops west of Harumi-dori St intersection).
For some fun shopping, I suggest stopping at Kiddie Land in Omotesando or Hakuhinkan Toy Park in Ginza. Both are large multi-story toy stores with the latest and greatest selection of toys. Everything from baby toys to video games are there, not to mention the ubiquitous character goods. I like looking for the fun, unique toys that I can buy for myself or give away as gifts. For example, a windup baby godzilla egg (the egg pops open and a mini godzilla walks out) made for a cute souvenir. I also found a "pai-pai sawari" -- a baby's first toy made in the shape of a woman's breast! You'd never find anything like this outside of an adult toy store in the U.S. and it made for a fun gag gift to my brother.
If you are much of a shopper, the Ginza is the place for you to go. Well, it is one of the many. The district is filled with department stores, and little shops, and restaurants. At night, the lights are dazzling, not quite as neon as Vegas, but every bit as amazing. As much as I could tell, the Ginza is always bustling, night and day.
One of the most striking differences between walking around Tokyo and most large cities in America was that you willI never once felt unsafe. You willI never worried about walking around without knowing where you were headed, or that you might take a turn that would put you somewhere dangerous.
When I look at Ginza, I think of Rodeo Drive in LA, Orchard Road in Singapore, KLCC in Kuala Lumpur and Knightsbridge in London.
It's all about shopping and having deep pockets. So for those of us who are not well-heeled, it's still fun to window shop and dream. On weekends, the streets are turned into pedestrial walkway so grab a chair, sit in the middle of the street and gawk at the super luxury brands available here!
My favourite shop here is really the Apple Centre. You won't miss it as it's next to the Mikimoto store. With 5 storeys to satisfy even the most hard core Apple fan, you'll definitely not be bored here.
If you're in Ginza with your boyfriend or husband, send them to the Apple Centre and get them out of your hair so that you can shop in peace :-)
The meeting venue for our VT Meet was at Ginza, Nissan Showroom. Ginza is the business and shopping district. Famous departmental stores and shops are all setup in this area.
At night, you will find buildings in Ginza are well lighted with neon signboards. There are many landmarks along Ginza, the famous ones are Wako store with a clock tower. Near Higashi-Ginza subway station is the rebuilt Kabuki-za Theater. Tsukiji Fish Market and Sumida River are also within short walking distances.
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