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.