Shopping in Ginza
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.
Ginza’s Esteemed Old Stores
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 stores, 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 as you experience a unique atmosphere distinctive to 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.
Kabuki Performance 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 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 goods 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 exhibitions, should be a full-day excursion.