Things to do on a Trip to Ginza

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

Ginza is a massive shopping district and fashion area in the heart of Tokyo. There is an array of well dressed people, expensive fashion boutiques, and all of the high-priced big brand stores. But if fashion isn't your interest, then there are also plenty of high-end restaurants to whet your appetite. With a kabuki theater and other forms of entertainment on offer, a day out to Ginza is a great choice during your trip to Tokyo:

Ginza

Things to do on a Trip to Ginza

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Many of the tourists visiting Japan likely want to spend some time shopping. Nestled in Ginza’s central area is the Hattori Wako Clock Tower, which has become the neighborhood landmark. At the luxury department retailer Ginza Wako, you will find carefully selected luxury goods ranging from watches, accessories to even baby gifts. You can also purchase quality products at famous established department stores such as Mitsukoshi, Matsuya and Printemps Ginza. The Ginza chain of Uniqlo, a brand that has become hugely popular overseas of late, stocks some of the world’s biggest products along with all of the Uniqlo brand, and is popular with foreign visitors. On Ginza’s Namiki-dori, you will discover brand name stores such as Chanel, Gucci and Hermes. On weekends, the main street is closed off to cars from lunchtime until the evening, giving pedestrians the freedom to walk the streets at leisure.  

While Ginza is a modern and sophisticated place to shop, there are also scores of old and established stores specializing in handicrafts. A few shops that have recently risen in popularity are the stationery store Ito-Ya and the art supply shop of Gekkoso that specialize in products such as memo pads, letter and envelope sets and art supplies such as paints. These stores are popular with the Japanese and have continued to stay in business for years principally for the quality of the merchandise. If you visit Gekkoso, you should take some time to enjoy the in-store art gallery and café.  

Amongst the backdrop of contemporary Ginza, there are many long-established and well-respected stores where you can drop in and find something that you like. At these stories that have become respected for their quality goods, you can find products to take back home as souvenirs. In addition to stores selling merchandise, there are numerous restaurants and coffee parlors in Ginza that have been in business for years. They were initially established in the early Showa Period, a period when Western influences on Japanese society and culture gained a foothold. Resultantly, these restaurants were the original pioneers of Western-style food in Japan. When stepping into the interior of these restaurants, it is hard not to feel as if you’ve travelled back in time to that era and experience the unique atmosphere distinctive of Japan of an earlier time. You will be able to satisfy your appetite and spirit at these pioneers of Western cuisine. People of all ages can also enjoy desserts including the trendiest cakes at famed places such as Shiseido Parlour and Quil Fait Bon. Sukiyabashi Jiro, the sushi restaurant that has been all the hype as of late, also happens to be located in Ginza.  

If you want to immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, you should certainly pay a visit to the Kabuki theatre to enjoy this traditional performing art. Even though foreign spectators not able to understand the language will likely find it hard to follow the narration, experiencing the sheer power of the production makes it a worthy sightseeing option. You can purchase tickets for less than 1000 Japanese yen, which is certainly an affordable cultural experience.  

There are also art exhibitions throughout Ginza that have free admission. Of the many options, the Canon and Sony showrooms are highly recommended along with Nissan (closed until 2016). At these electronics exhibitions, you can handle the products and find out more about new products on the market. Ginza also has many traditional art exhibitions where you can also revel in modern and ancient art at a reasonable price or for free. Ginza, with all of its food, shopping and art exhibition options, should be a full-day excursion.  

Guidebook from Planetyze about Ginza
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Ginza
Tours in Ginza

Kabuki-za

Things to do on a Trip to Ginza

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

The traditional Japanese cultural form of kabuki has that high-class image at a glance, but at Kabuki-za, there are many services to help those who are seeing kabuki for the first time. First off, there is special seating for those customers who want to just see the scene of their choice. There are 150 of these seats on the 4th floor of the theater, so it’s recommended for those people who want to see that scene many times or for those first-timers in the world of kabuki. Those tickets are available at the sales office located to the left of the 1st-floor lobby. Also, there is not only a Japanese-language guide but also an English subtitle guide which can be purchased. Understanding the words is not necessary to enjoy the liveliness and vibrancy of kabuki, but being able to deeply understand the story through the summary, script and nagauta songs will further viewers’ appreciation.

One of the features of Kabuki-za is to be able to feel the world of kabuki without seeing a kabuki performance. For instance, anyone can try the restaurants inside of the theater to enjoy Japanese cuisine including kabuki udon noodles and kabuki zenzai soup (the restaurants can only be used by Kabuki-za customers so prior reservations are necessary). At the souvenir shop, you can purchase a variety of goods such as Kabuki-za-inspired items such as tenugui towels, and special soft-serve ice cream and other foods. Access to the theater is a breeze in all kinds of weather thanks to an underground passage beneath Yurakucho and Ginza Stations without needing to go above ground.

The rooftop of Kabuki-za is freely accessible to everyone for its garden. This garden which is in the middle of the tall buildings of Ginza is a relaxing oasis. At the Kabuki-za Gallery in the cultural complex of Kabuki-za Tower, costumes and props that were actually used on stage are on display. Audio guides can be used although they are only in Japanese.

Admission: Various

Guidebook from Planetyze about Kabuki-za
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Kabuki-za
Tours in Kabuki-za

Sony Building

Things to do on a Trip to Ginza

(image by flickr.com)

The 1st to 4th floors are showrooms in the Sony Building where you can sample the most recent Sony products for free. And it’s not just products that are already on sale, but pre-release products and items that are under consideration for commercialization that are also on display, so that for Sony fans, this is an irresistible lineup. At the Featured Products Area away from the 1st floor entrance, the latest products are on display. Also, there are workshop events held for a limited time. On the 2nd floor, there are digital cameras and digital video cameras such as the CyberShot and HANDYCAM exhibited. In addition, accessories are sold which can be mounted on bicycles and surfboards to provide vibrant and lively photographs and video.

The 3rd floor consists of displays of smartphones such as the XPERIA, games for platforms such as PlayStation, and television sets including 4K and BRAVIA. You can get the latest information on the beautiful and spectacular pictures on the 4K, the most recent TV sets and personal computers. On the 4th floor, there is a high-resolution audio theater room, personal audio items for those who are familiar with the old WALKMAN, and displays of home audio equipment. Furthermore, at the Sony Store on the 4th floor, various products can be bought. The ability to see, touch and experience and then choose products is a big plus at the Sony Building. Also, there is an Italian restaurant, a pub, a tempura restaurant among other dining establishments within the building so that you can enjoy the world of Sony throughout the day.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Sony Building
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Sony Building
Tours in Sony Building

Need help planning your trip to Tokyo ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


10 Oct 2015

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Warm, knowledgable and accommodating ”

Excellent
6 hours ago Traveler: Johnson -   Tour Guide: KASHIMA

Kashima San hosted my wife, son and I on a days' tour of Tokyo. We had prearranged the itinerary to include some sites, some shopping and a museum. He met us at our hotel and talked us through the Tokyo Rail and Subway system which once you understand it is very efficient. We saw the Imperial Palace Bridges, Zozoji Temple (which is lovely), then we had time in Ginza including time in a quaint...
read more

“ Fun trip through Akihabara ”

Excellent
7 hours ago Traveler: Seth -   Tour Guide: Yuko

We had a fairly diverse group of people. Akihabara is, of course, known for its electronics shops and for catering to various "Otaku" interests. However, Yuko adeptly guided us through not only those areas, but to other places off the main strip so that we would all have a good time. She also courteously helped plan the tour around the opening times of the shops. Very knowledgeable, helpful, and p...
read more

“ Great introduction to Japan. ”

Excellent
8 hours ago Traveler: Cynthia -   Tour Guide: Mitsuru

We had a wonderful day with Mitsuru in Tokyo. We wanted a guide for our first full day in Japan as all but one of our five member family had never been to Asia. Mitsuru was so nice and very knowledgeable about Japan and Tokyo. He took us on and off the subway to all corners of Tokyo. Most importantly, he showed us how to purchase tickets for the subways and walked us through the process of getting...
read more

“ What a fun day! ”

Excellent
8 hours ago Traveler: Ginger -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Toshi has expert experience navigating the subway system and had a good plan for seeing everything I had wanted. He seemed to be able to read my energy level & so we accomplished so much in a day. Not only that he was also fun & cool to hang out with. A big thank you goes out to him & I would highly recommend him to others.
read more

“ A day with Fumie ”

Excellent
17 hours ago Traveler: Bruce -   Tour Guide: FUMIE

I arrived from Canada with 14 hour time change. I was determined to start exploring Tokyo the next day. I was exremely fortunate to have Fumie as my guide. I found her to be warm thoughtful and very knowledgeable. We spent the afternoon going from one interesting place to another. She made my first day in Tokyo vey special. Thank you Fumie.
read more

“ Custom Tokyo tour ”

Excellent
21 hours ago Traveler: Sharon -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

We had a wonderful day with TChan! She navigated the train and subway system for us so there no wasted time. She was very personable and knowledgeable about Toykyo and Japanese culture. She customized our visit for 62 year old woman with daughter in law and grandsons ages 10 and 12. We had a very memorable day and made a new friend. Thank you Toshi🌸💗
read more

“ Half day visit of fishmarket, imperial gardens, tempel,... ”

Very Good
1 day ago Traveler: Elisabeth -   Tour Guide: Masato

We spent a very interesting half day with Masato. He is an extremely knowledgeable guide telling about Japanese daily life, customs and habits. Although time was short we had diverse experiences, seeing, tasting and trying out exotic (for us) food. Masato is friendly and helpful and really enjoys to guide you through his city.
read more

“ Garden Tour and Tea Ceremony ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Kira -   Tour Guide: Hiromi

Hiromi was a good guide; she was friendly and happily answered my many questions and helped us with a Suica card mix-up. I was a little disappointed that our tea ceremony was in a hotel rather than a real tea house, however we booked our tour only a week ahead of time and Hiromi said that March is a busy month, so I understand that perhaps it wasn't possible. And, after the official tea ceremony w...
read more

“ Great experience ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: SAJI -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Todhihiro went above and beyond, even stood in line for an hour helping us with reservations at JR station. Would recommend Toshihiro to anybody traveling to Tokyo.
read more

“ Excellent Tour ”

Very Good
1 day ago Traveler: John -   Tour Guide: Junichi

Junichi is very knowledgeable and provided an excellent tour He was very informative and very considerate in terms of our comfort on the subway and his desire to show us the most important sites
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started