The luxury district of Tokyo brings together luxury brands, Michelin-starred restaurants, cafes and nightclubs.
Until the 16th century it was a swamp. Later, in the Edo period, a mint was opened there. His silver coins provided the inspiration for the district’s name – ‘gin’ meaning silver and ‘za’ guild. Today it is one of the largest and most famous shopping areas in the world. A district full of boulevards and pedestrian streets with the largest concentration of western shops in Tokyo, a neighborhood where boutiques and malls are considered attractions.
Chuo Dori Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic on weekends
One of them is the famous Ginza Six shopping center, which since opening its doors in 2017 has stolen the show with its size and luxury: it spans an entire building block, occupying over 45 thousand square meters. and hosts 241 shops and restaurants. The architecture was undertaken by the Japanese Yoshio Taniguchi, known for the redesign of the MoMA. Instead of developing a comprehensive plan for the exterior of the building, the architect invited the six luxury houses on the ground floor – Dior, Céline, Saint Laurent, Van Cleef & Arpels, Valentino and Fendi – to create their own individual facades, inspired by the noren , the traditional Japanese fabric room dividers. As a result, the shiny facade of the building is a dynamic synthesis of the different interpretations given by each brand for noren.
Ginza Six spans an entire building block and houses 241 shops and restaurants
Equally impressive is the interior, designed by Gwenael Nicolas, founder of Curiosity. To create an accessible and warm feel, the French designer drew inspiration for the floor plan of the space from the old alleys of Ginza and Kyoto, and designed the lighting with paper lanterns and traditional shoji paper sliding doors in mind.
Vertical gardens by renowned French botanist Patrick Blanc, large-scale art installations by renowned contemporary artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Daniel Buren, and a spectacular atrium with a roof decorated with the traditional asanoha hemp leaf pattern make up what AD magazine characterizes as “the coolest mall in the world”.
@ginzasix_official / Instagram
@ginzasix_official / Instagram
@ginzasix_official / Instagram
On its five levels, international brands – Chopard, Piaget, Loewe, Costume National, Givenchy, Gucci, The Row, Alexander McQueen, Mulberry and Alaïa – meet premium Japanese brands such as Yohji Yamamoto and domestic boutiques such as the Ca4La hat store.
The basement food hall is a wonderland of shops making shark fin ramen, tofu doughnuts, ekiben bento boxes, luxury vegetable cookies and matcha ice-cream. Sushi bars, fine dining restaurants and bookstores occupy the top floors, while the rooftop hosts a 4,000 m2 garden. – the largest in the area.
The art deco building with the famous clock on top of the Wako department store / Photo: Wikipedia
The seven-story Louis Vuitton house / @eastonmargiella/ Instagram
Chanel on Namiki Str. by architect Peter Marino / Photo: Facebook
The Cartier boutique Photo: Unsplash
The Celine Flagship designed by Casper Mueller Kneer Architects is located in G-Six
Maison Hermes, by architect Renzo Piano / Photo: Facebook
For the curved facade of the Loro Piana boutique, architect Jun Aoki was inspired by the touch of the house’s fabrics
The Mitsukoshi shopping center / Photo: Pixabay
Uniqlo / Photo: herzogdemeuron.com
Ginza place / Photo: Unsplash
The wavy skyscraper DeBeers Ginza / Photo: Pixabay
In Ginza, the shopping walk is also an “architectural walk”. Flagship stores compete to have the most striking facade and the most innovative interior design, such as Louis Vuitton’s dazzling seven-story Namiki Building with its corrugated reflective glass facade designed by Jun Aoki and Peter Marino, and Uniqlo’s futuristic store in the Marrioner Gate building, a grid of bare concrete with the signature of the renowned firm Herzog & de Meuron.
Landmarks of the area are the Art Deco building with the famous clock on top of the Wako department store built in 1932, and the undulating skyscraper DeBeers Ginza, inspired by the shapes of the aurora borealis and the curves of the female silhouette as stated by its creators, Jon Mitsui & Associates. Other popular attractions include the Tsukiji Fish Market (the world’s largest), the Kabukiza Theater and the historic Itoya Stationary Store, which has been operating since 1904.
A few steps away, Moncler, Hermes, Versace, Chanel, Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Kate Spade, Miu Miu and Bulgari display their wares in impressive shop windows. The rest of the big names in fashion and watchmaking – Valenciaga, Max Mara, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Stella McCartney, Panerai, Grand Seiko, Jaeger-LeCoultre – will be found in the Mitsukoshi shopping center.
The authentic Japanese breakfast at Ginza Choshoku Lab
The Michelin-starred Ginza Kitafuku
The shangri-la of souvenirs is undoubtedly the newly renovated Loft Ginza store. Its five floors are filled with amazing things, from traditional daruma wishing dolls, to Delde’s detachable fabric pencil cases and Cheero’s power banks depicting anime characters such as Danboard the cardboard robot.
A perfect experience is the authentic Japanese breakfast at Ginza Choshoku Lab, the restaurant of Musse Ginza Meitetsu Hotel. Japanese breakfast is a feast of flavors served in small plates and is a full meal; Choshoku Lab’s buffet has salmon marinated in koji, oysters with aonori seaweed and miso soup, but also eggs with truffle salt, fish soup, and grilled pumpkin with sausages .
Locals also recommend Ginza Katsukami, where the famous tonkatsu, fried pork bread, is turned into an omakase experience: pieces of different cuts are eaten plain or with a little Himalayan salt, or accompanied by the sauce recommended by the chef, and of course with rice, miso soup , cabbage and pickles.
Ginza boasts at least six Michelin-starred restaurants, one of which is the quiet Tatami-style Kitafuku. There the live king crabs are the stars of the show – they serve the crab legs raw sashimi, boil and grill the crab crumbs (menu from 250 euros).
Photos: Getty Images / Ideal Image, Unsplash, Pixabay