Located in the Chuo ward, Ginza is one of the most famous districts of Tokyo. It is a high-end place, known for luxury shopping, art galleries, many top restaurants and nice cafes, and for providing an interesting alternative to Roppongi in high rates nightclubs.
The nickname of "Japanese Champs-Élysées", sometimes given to the area, as well as to Omotesando, originates from this concentration of fancy places.
If real estate in Tokyo is expensive regardless of where you look, Ginza tops every other borough with square-meter prices reaching up to ten million Yen without blushing. Be it the cause or the consequence, many international luxury brands (and especially French ones) struggle to settle there. Thus, a trip to Ginza gives you the opportunity to visit shops and showrooms of brands such as Dior, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Printemps, Chaumet, Hermes, Adidas, Armani, Bvlgari, Zara or Apple.
But Japanese brands are not left out, starting with Wako whose iconic clock dominates the main intersection served by the Ginza Tokyo Metro station. There are a lot of other major Japanese brands in Ginza such as Mikimoto, Shiseido, Sony, Matsuzakaya, Uniqlo, Mitsukoshi, Matsuya, Yoshinoya, BicCamera, Muji and Sofmap, the new Tokyu Plaza, as well as several major banks such as Mizuho Japan or Citibank.
Chuo-dori, Ginza’s main avenue is closed to car traffic each weekend and holiday:
In 2019, the Chuo ward administration has announced working on the project of burying the 2-km highway crossing Ginza, to create a public greenway park, similar to New York’s High Line, in an effort to boost tourism and economic revenues.
How to get to Ginza
By subway -- Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza G09, Hibiya H08 and Marunouchi M16 lines)
By train -- Yurakucho Station (JR Yamanote line or Keihin-Tohoku line)
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 282)
How long / when to visit
Ginza's visit is perhaps even more pleasant on weekends, as Chuo-dori (the main street) is closed to traffic from 2 to 5pm on Saturdays and from noon to 5pm on Sundays, and even up to 6pm in spring and summer.