Ginza is Japan’s most famous shopping area. It is famous for its department
stores, excellent service and high prices. The average shopper in Ginza,
compared to Shinjuku and Shibuya, is older and richer. Ginza has snob value but
other areas are more vibrant, popular and exciting. Land values came down a bit
of late, more as a result of the sluggish economy than of Ginza loosing real
appeal and land is now easily available at less than a million dollars per
The heart of Ginza is Ginza Crossing with Mitsukoshi, fabulously expensive
Wako and Nissan showroom on the respective corners. Ginza subway station exits
here. In close proximity are Matsuzakaya and Matsuya department stores. Mikimoto
has abranch for pearl watching and always has a well anticipated huge Christmas
tree in December. Tiffany’s has a branch just down the road and many lesser
known jewelers have showrooms in the smaller side streets. This being Tokyo you
will be treated well in all stores whether you wear a suit or jeans and
There is a Haagen Dasz close to Mikimoto but the queues may force you to
settle for something elsewhere.
The first Starbucks in Japan opened behind Matsuya in the late 1990s, which
is hard to believe, as it currently seems as if there is a Starbucks on every
corner in Tokyo.
Sony is the only electronics maker to still maintain a showroom in Ginza. It
has several stories and all the latest gadgets are on display. Feel free to
touch and play - everything is in Japanese but just push buttons randomly and
see what happens. Many of these latest gadgets won’t be on the market three
months later due to the constant pressure to improve and renew.
The Kabuki-za theatre is in Ginza and is worth the five minute stroll from
Mitsukoshi to see the outside of this interesting building. If you want to see a
show it is possible to buy a ticket for a single act for about yen 1000 (no
advance booking possible for the cheap tickets.) The seating will be on the
fourth floor without the option of English earphone guides. A single act is
about half an hour and more than enough for the average visitor. The full play
can go on for four hours or so. Most Japanese know the story and often the words
of the play and the pleasure of the performance is to see how well the actor can
interpret his well-known role. Needless to say the subtleties of the play is
totally lost on the non-Japanese speaker.
Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
August 28, 2002
It is amusing to wander through the great food emporiums at the major department stores, like Matsuya, Mitsukoshi, Matsuzakaya, Wako. You can browse through the wide variety of products on sale, and perhaps sample a few delicacies. If you want to do a bit of adventurous noshing, walk through any of these food halls to try some snacks or perhaps a sip of tea or beer.
The distinctive cylindrical San-ai Dream Center building, which stands at a busy intersection in Ginza, is one of the first generation of exciting and different modern buildings from the 1960's to make an architectural impact on Tokyo.
From journal Bill in Japan - modern TOKYO
Mexico City, Mexico
May 8, 2002
Officially Hello Kitty was born on 1 November in suburban London, England, weighing the same as three apples. She likes small, cute things, candy, stars, goldfish, etc. Kitty is a cheerful, warm-hearted little girl. Baking cookies is her forte, but what she enjoys most is eating a slice of Mama's apple pie! Kitty and her twin sister Mimmy are the best of friends.
Hello Kitty is the brainchild of Sanrio Corporation and thus making her a thoroughbred of Japanese creativity and marketing despite residing in suburban London. Hello Kitty was a runaway success from her creation in 1974 onwards and has spawned over 100 support characters – each with its own biography, birthday and whatever a character needs to get on in life.
Little girls in Japan – and increasingly in other Asian countries and even other continents - have a fascination with Hello Kitty and her support cast. They usually outgrow this by their teens but for some women it continues well into their late 20s. By then many have their own children and can presumably continue the craze masked as entertainment for their babies. Truth be told it is somewhat disconcerting to meet a women in her late 40s in a Hello Kitty shop all dressed up in Hello Kitty stuff and speaking like a little girl. Many of the stuff being sold in Hello Kitty shops clearly aim at an older audience than little girls.
In a Hello Kitty shop you can basically dress your whole world from the cradle to the grave in Hello Kitty merchandise. The range is awesome and would do many a department store pride. There are the obvious like all the paraphernalia usually associated with babies and little girls, then it moves into books, make-up and clothes. The options are limitless – sheets, towels, hair driers, electric desk fans, microwave and toaster ovens.
Hello Kitty is being sold practically everywhere in Tokyo. The two official Sanrio shops are in Ginza and Shinjuku but all department stores stock the stuff and many supermarkets and discount stores as well. Smaller shops selling nothing but Hello Kitty are also found in most neighborhoods. The 100-yen shop in Roppongi is usually reliable to have a small supply of bargain Hello Kitty stuff as well. Occasionally McDonalds run out of Olympic Games and World Cup events to sponsor and push Hello Kitty dolls instead to draw the crowds in – many a Hello Kitty doll dressed up in anything from jeans to Kimono were bought at less than $3 during these promotions to warm little hearts all over the globe.
If you expect a baby in Japan there is basically no need to buy Hello Kitty stuff prior to delivery to keep up with the Joneses (or Suzukis). Friends and colleagues will set you up with enough of the paraphernalia to see your child into Kindergarten at the very least.
From journal Tokyo - bargain shopping and dining
February 15, 2002
From journal Tokyo Highlights - the essential must sees