Best things to do in Ginza, Tokyo
Fun and unique things to do in Ginza, Tokyo. Top attractions and things you cannot miss during your next visit to Tokyo's largest shopping district.
Ginza is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Tokyo. Located in the heart of the city, Ginza is known for its upscale shopping and dining experiences, as well as its many interesting attractions. In this guide to things to do in Ginza, we'll share some of the best activities and experiences that the district has to offer.
When you visit Ginza, you'll find everything from high-end department stores and fashionable boutiques to captivating gardens and themed afternoon teas. One of the best things about Ginza is that it offers a range of experiences, from the refined and luxurious to the more affordable and accessible. Whether you're looking for fine dining at one of the district's many Michelin-starred restaurants or a more casual meal at a traditional izakaya, you will find it in Ginza.
Ginza is also home to a number of interesting attractions, including the Kabuki-za Theatre, where you can watch traditional Kabuki performances For a more relaxed and peaceful experience, visit the secluded rooftop gardens on top of Ginza Six and admire the shopping avenue, Chuo Dori, from above.
For an unusual tea focused experience, I recommend the fancy cocktails at the Mixology Salon. To celebrate a special occasion, enjoy a luxurious afternoon tea at The Grand Lounge. And if you're looking for a unique souvenir, be sure to visit Ginza Itoya, one of the largest stationary retailers in Tokyo.
On our most recent visit to Tokyo, we stayed in Ginza to ensure we experience all the top activities and attractions in this area. Here is what to do in Ginza.
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What to do and see in Ginza
I am in love with Ginza, and it's my favourite place in the whole of Tokyo. Ginza is most well known for its sophisticated shops, restaurants, and authentic Japanese products.
If you're like me, and you love modern architecture and interiors, Ginza is the perfect place to see some of the most spectacular examples in the city. While it can be a pricey destination, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the area without breaking the bank.
One of the top attractions in Ginza is its shopping malls, which offer a wide range of high-end brands and products. In addition, the neighbourhood is home to stunning rooftop gardens and art galleries that are sure to impress.
But Ginza isn't all about the glitz and glamour - there are also hidden backstreet alleys to explore that offer a more authentic, local experience. Let's discuss all the attractions in more detail.
See the Ginza Wako
Ginza is home to the iconic Ginza Wako department store. Founded in 1881 by Kintao Hattori, a watch retailer, Ginza Wako is a reference point for visitors to the area. Located at Ginza Crossing (4-chome), the store is just a 1-minute walk from the Ginza station and is easily recognized by its curved facade and famous Seiko Clock Tower.
Inside Ginza Wako, you'll find a range of luxury items including fancy watches and jewelry, exquisite porcelain, and delicious chocolates. It's a great place to find a unique souvenir while exploring Ginza.
It's worth noting that Ginza Wako is one of the few buildings in the area that survived World War II. Stop by to see the classic items on display and experience the posh atmosphere of this luxury store.
Shop in Ginza Six
Ginza Six is my favourite department stores in the whole of Ginza. This impressive department store opened in 2018 and has something for everyone. With 241 shops and restaurants, a tourist information centre, modern art installations, and a rooftop garden with incredible views, you could easily spend an entire day here.
In addition to shopping and dining, Ginza Six also houses art galleries, a Noh Theatre, and features stunning interior design. It was designed by visionary architect Yoshio Taniguchi with the goal of reinterpreting the shopping experience in Ginza.
Photograph the special exhibitions displayed across the entire department store. They change periodically and feature really cool artists from all around the world.
Go to the rooftop and enjoy a cup of coffee in the garden, surrounded by lots of plants. From the rooftop you can photograph Chuo Dori and even see the Tokyo Tower.
Don't miss the food stores located on B2 (basement 2). There are over 40 shops there, but make sure to try a soft brioche from Viennoiserie Jean Francois or the signature pineapple cake from Sunny Hills Ginza. For a special present, buy Japanese tea sweets from Kurogi Chacha and international wines from the Enoteca.
Book tickets at the Kabuki-za Theatre
For a unique and authentic experience in Ginza, I highly recommend booking tickets to a Kabuki performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre. Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theatre form that is known for its elaborate costumes, makeup, and stage sets. Shows are typically held at the end of the year and in early Spring, and tickets range from 5000 to 20,000 Japanese yen. The theatre is just a minute walk from Higashi Ginza station.
If you don't have time to catch a performance, I also recommend visiting the Kabuki-za Gallery, which is located within the theatre complex. Learn more about the history of Kabuki and see props, costumes, and other artefacts from past performances. It's a great way to get a more profound understanding of this extraordinary art form.
Address: 4 Chome-12-15 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan"
Get a rare coffee at Starbucks Reserve
For a special coffee experience in Ginza, Tokyo, I highly recommend visiting the Starbucks Reserve Bar at Ginza Six. Located on the 6th floor next to the charming Tsutaya Bookstore, this coffee shop offers the rarest and most interesting coffees in the world.
Not only will you be able to enjoy a delicious coffee, but you can also browse the expansive selection of books and magazines at Tsutaya. With many English titles and special books from Japanese writers, this shop is a great place to find a new read while sipping on your coffee.
The baristas at Starbucks Reserve are also mixologists, so you can expect a coffee that not only tastes sublime, but is also presented beautifully. Don't forget to take a photo - this coffee shop is incredibly photogenic. Whether you're a coffee connoisseur or just searching for a unique experience in Ginza, the Starbucks Reserve Bar is a must-visit
Relax at Ginza Six Rooftop Garden
Head to my favourite rooftop garden in Ginza, Ginza Six Garden which offers 360 degrees views over Ginza and central Tokyo.
The seating areas between the trees and bushes make it a perfect spot for a picnic, especially at night when the city is illuminated.
In the winter, skate on the ice rink in the middle of the garden or take advantage of the two heated large snow globes with seating areas for a cosy and intimate experience for couples.
There are vending machines in the garden if you want to grab a hot tea, or you can get a cup of coffee from the Starbucks Tsutaya and come here to admire the views.
See the Uniqlo flagship store from above, as well as the illuminated Tokyo Tower at night. On a weekend, watch the pedestrians walk along Chuo Dori.
Rooftop garden opening hours: 7:00- 23:00. Note that the department store doesn't open until 10:30am, which means that you can only access the rooftop before that.
Promenade on Chuo Dori
Chuo Dori is the main street in Ginza and the place where you will find those spectacular cocktail bars, upscale sushi bars and seriously impressive boutiques.
The most prestigious (and expensive) department stores can be found lining the Chuo Dori Street. Among them, you will find Ginza Six, Louis Vuitton, Matsuya, Mitsukoshi and more.
For budget-conscious shoppers, Ginza has plenty of options as well. Uniqlo, for example, has a 12-floor shop filled with all the basic clothing items you might need, including a sales tax refund counter (just remember to bring your passport).
Chuo Dori is one of the places you come to shop till late at night. And while it is a fun thing to do, I have an even better tip for you.
Come visit Chuo Dori on the weekend, when the street is closed for cars and becomes a pedestrian paradise. People come with foldable seats and tables and relax right here on this central avenue. People watching is one of the greatest Ginza attractions on the weekend.
Enjoy fancy brunch with a view at bills Ginza
Take your brunch with a stunning view over Ginza at the fancy Australian restaurant bills. Bills Ginza was chosen as one of the world's "sharpest new restaurants" in the Monacle Magazine.
Bills is located on the 12th floor inside Okura House and the elevator opens right in front of the bills lobby, making it easy and convenient to find. The Front of house speaks excellent English and will guide you to your table, where you'll receive a cool QR code for the menu.
Bills feels modern, casual, and welcoming. I recommend their flat white and the fluffy pancakes as well as their egg on toast.
To avoid waiting for a table, make sure to book in advance.
Buy stationary from Itoya
Itoya is 100 year old stationery store in Tokyo. It was founded in 1904, and it's perhaps one of the most well-known stationery shops in Ginza. You are going to love it here because you will find everything from special pens, to papers and colourful stationery supplies.
Did I mention that this is a 9-story shop? You can even buy special calligraphy markers here and find travel gear, even a cafe and greenhouse.
The greenhouse, located on the top floor, is a hydroponic vegetable farm, and you can go and see it for yourself, at no extra cost.
Address: Japan, 〒104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 2 Chome−7−15 伊東屋本店 12F
Have afternoon tea at Higashiya
For a high-end treat in Ginza, I highly recommend visiting Higashiya, a tea and confectionery shop that is one of my favourites in the area. Higashiya sells seasonal wagashi (Japanese sweets) and offers a signature afternoon tea that features unique treats.
I highly recommend the tea or sake tasting experience, which includes five types of teas or sakes accompanied by one type of dessert each. While it's not cheap at 4500 yen, it's a luxurious and memorable experience.
During the warm seasons, Higashiya also sells special matcha shaved ice, which is both visually and tastefully impressive.
Opening hours: 11:00-19:00 (Last order at teahouse 18:00) Open year-round
Have a themed afternoon tea at the Grand Lounge
To celebrate a special occasion, book an afternoon tea at the Grand Lounge and enjoy sweet treats with a view. Located on the 13th floor in Ginza Six, the Grand Lounge is a fancy lounge which specialises on themed afternoon teas. It technically belongs to the Grand 47 which is a fine dining French restaurant.
While the atmosphere at the Grand Lounge is more casual than the restaurant, you can still expect impeccable table service and indulgent ingredients. The Grand afternoon tea set includes a variety of sweet and savoury treats, as well as your choice of tea from the menu. Don't be shy about asking for refills or additional beverages from the included drinks' menu. If you order afternoon tea with a glass of champagne, kindly note that you will only receive one glass per person.
Top tip: Make sure to arrive with an empty stomach, so you can fully enjoy all the treats on offer at the Grand Lounge.
Reservations are a must and tables book well in advance. Book your table via tablecheck for the Grand Lounge.
Admire Ginza from Kiriko Rooftop Terrace
Kiriko Rooftop is more than just an ordinary rooftop terrace in Ginza - it's also a co-working space that's open every day from 11 am to 9 pm. With eight tables available, people can come and work on their laptops for free.
But the rooftop terrace has more to offer than just a place to work. There's also a small pool area with benches that offer views of Ginza, and the rooftop was created by the same company that designed the Omohara Forest in Omotesando, which is another must-visit spot in Tokyo.
One of the highlights of Kiriko Rooftop is the chance to view the busy Sukiyabashi Crossing (Ginza Crossing), one of Japan's busiest intersections. While it's not quite as hectic as Shibuya, it's still a popular pedestrian scramble that's worth seeing. On the other side of the rooftop, you'll get great views of the train tracks with local and bullet trains.
Have a drink at Kiriko Lounge
For an unforgettable experience in Ginza, visit the Tokyu Plaza mall, which is full of shops, cafes, and restaurants. One place you won't want to miss is the Kiriko Lounge on the 6th floor. This lounge is truly stunning, with an upscale design that features soft, lace-like lighting and playful, woven textures. It's one of the most beautiful places to see in Ginza, and it also offers amazing views over Yurakucho.
The Kiriko Lounge is free to visit, so you can relax on the couches and take in the views. Don't miss the opportunity to experience this stunning space while you're in Ginza.
I especially recommend the lounge on a rainy day. It's a covered space that offers stunning views of the city, making it a great alternative to the Kiriko Rooftop Terrace when the weather isn't ideal.
Grab a bite from Sanchoku Inshokugai
Ginza is not just about fancy stores, and there are places you can grab a bite on a budget. Head to Sanchoku Inshokugai which looks especially atmospheric in the evening. Unlike the rest of the district, Sanchoku Inshokugai is a backstreet alley with a more gritty feel similar to what you would normally find around Shinjuku.
Sanchoku Inshokugai is a small group of restaurants to try different specialities right in the heart of the city. The dining complex is izakaya style and has many tiny kiosk size bars.
It is open 24 hours and there are a total of 11 small izakayas here with special and nationwide ingredients. I especially recommend the sea urchin from Hokkaido and the oyster kimchi. Also from Hokkaido try the grilled crab miso shell and beef tataki pressed sushi. One of my favourite meals from here is the Hakata ramen and the Hakata iron pot gyoza.
Check out Washita Ginza
I love to share cool discoveries, and Washita shop really is a fantastic souvenir store. Ginza Okinawan Washita Shop specialises in bringing Okinawa culture to Tokyo. This colourful store has art, food, and crafts sourced from Okinawa.
If you want to get the flavours of Okinawa without the plane ride, this is the place to visit. I highly recommend buying some awamori which is an alcoholic beverage made from long grain indica rice. One of the most unique awamori-based liquers is the habushu, also known as Okinawan snake wine. Habushu is named after the habu snake which is usually immersed in the bottle of liquor. these are located on the bottom floor, in the basement level.
Also in the basement there is a stage area for Okinawan performances and arts. You'll find shirts, tshirts and colourful totes here. It will sure give you a happy beach vibe.
Try the umi bodo (also known as green caviar) which is a type of local seaweed. I can recommend their black sugar, which gets its colours from all sort of minerals. Purchase some matcha and hibiscus salt too. Next to the cashier, there is an aisle with local cosmetics and Okinawan made magnets and souvenirs.
Stop here for Okinawan lunch. At the back of the store there is a small restaurant with a few tables. Grab their seaweed tempura and order a bowl of Okinawan soba.
Get fresh fish from Tsukiji fish market
Technically, right next to Ginza, Tsukiji fish market was once the largest fish market in Japan, now replaced by the larger Toyosu. Tsukiji is still open for business, though, where visitors can enjoy shopping for fresh fish and treats on the outdoor Tsukiji market.
I am very fond of Tsukiji as this was my first stop on my first Tokyo itinerary. Make sure to come here first thing in the morning, but be warned that it can get fairly busy. Buy fresh snacks, street food and sealed food souvenirs. The restaurants here are open from around 5am until early afternoon. If you want fresh sushi in Japan, this is a great place for it.
To immerse yourself even more in the market here, I recommend getting a local guide to show you around and help get the best food.
Tsukiji is just 3 minutes walk from the Tsukiji subway station.
Drink tea-themed cocktails at Mixology Salon, Ginza
Take a seat in this minimalistic tea themed bar and chat with the mixologists about your favourite cocktails. Every drink on the menu is an ode to tea, ranging from matcha tea to the subtle flavours of oolong. Most spirits are infused with different teas, then mixed and decorated to bring you the very best cocktails.
Order from the a la carte menu or take one of the cocktail sets to be able to enjoy a multi-course of cocktails. We went for the four teatail course which allows us to select four exquisite cocktails.
I recommend the refreshing fragrant brown rice and pineapple tea box and for something strong go for the Gyokuro Martini.
The staff speaks English well and can help you navigate the menu if you want to make sure you order the right cocktail to your liking. The bar is intimate, with only 6 seats at the bar and 6 additional seats at outside tables. There is a table charge of ¥800 per person. Prices average at ¥1,700 per cocktail.
Get chopsticks from Ginza Natsuno
Ginza Natsuno is a must-visit shop for beautiful and sophisticated chopsticks. Specializing in a wide selection of chopsticks, this shop is the perfect place to purchase your own chopsticks to take home. Almost everyone in Japan has their own personal pair of chopsticks, and many purchase and gift special chopsticks, such as at the ones at Natsuno.
You will see people trying and testing the chopsticks in the Natsuno shop to ensure they fit their hands perfectly. Don't be shy and ask for help and one of the staff members will explain about the materials used and the craftsmanship.
I, personally, bought my first pair of chopsticks here and still use them today. I also bought my husband a special pair of chopsticks, crafted by a Japanese master.
With over 2500 sets of chopsticks available, Ginza Natsuno also sells chopsticks rests. You can even have your chopsticks personalized just for you. The prices at Ginza Natsuno are very reasonable, with superb chopsticks available for as little as 1300 yen.
Shop at the Muji flagship store
I'm a lover of all things Muji which is why I definitely recommend a trip to Muji flagship Ginza shop. This minimalist retails has everything including a diner, an art atelier, food, a bakery, and fashion. It even has a fancy hotel to experience the whole philosophy of Muji. Muji is recognized for its affordable, high-quality products that are designed with simplicity and functionality in mind. The idea behind the products is to make them longer lasting, so you don't need to replace them as often.
I don't know about you, but I usually end up buying a lot of things from Muji. Their everyday products are minimalistic, good quality and so great. I think this is one of the perfect examples of Japanese products that look and feel good and are at great prices.
As a super fun activity in the Muji store, head to their tea creation counter and blend your own loose tea to take home with you.
Address: Japan, 〒104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 3 Chome−3−5 ６階
Relax in Hamarikyu Gardens
Experience the beauty of the Hama Rikyu Gardens, a large and attractive landscape garden located in Ginza with epic skyscrapers in the background.
The gardens, which overlook Tokyo Bay and are surrounded by a seawater moat, are a peaceful oasis in the bustling city.
In the spring, the gardens are filled with plum and cherry trees in bloom, and in the autumn, the park becomes a colourful display of falling leaves.
The Hama Rikyu Gardens were opened to the public in 1946 after serving as a feudal and imperial retreat. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and appreciate the natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere.
Address: 1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0046, Japan
Visit the Ginza Okuno Building Room 306
Ginza Okuno Building Room 306 is a non profit cool project that promotes unusual art. The Ginza apartment was built in 1983 and it's located in the Okuno Building. A lady moved here and opened a beauty salon in room 306. Throughout her life she witnessed 1930s Ginza, the devastations of the war, Tokyo post-war and how the country became an economy powerhouse soon after.
The woman closed her beauty salon in the 80s and instead made room 306 her residence, in which she stayed until her death at the age 100.
Room 306 was then cleaned and rented for not for profit projects in 2009. While the room is not kept as a museum, it's an interesting location to view, with peeling paint and many interesting stories. Before visiting, make sure to check the official calendar to ensure you can visit on an open day.
Have your eggs fix at Eggs 'n Things
Dreaming of fluffy pancakes with a mountain of cream on top? Then you have to take your breakfast at Eggs 'n Things located on the 4th floor inside the Kirarito shopping centre. Just note there is almost always a queue outside this restaurant, so book a table in advance.
The staff speaks English and there is an English menu available as well. If you visit before 11 am during the week, there is a breakfast set which includes an egg toast with coffee for just ¥990.
I recommend the pancakes with cream and nuts on top, as well as their Kona blend coffee. Tip: The coffee comes with free refills. For those with a large appetite, I recommend the poached eggs with a side of potatoes. It's a very filling breakfast/brunch.
How to get to Ginza
Ginza is not just one street full of shops and boutiques, it's an actual district in itself. This means several metro stations and countless streets upon streets, all dotted with the latest fashion and trends. Ginza essentially is a (rich) shopper's paradise.
As always, getting around in Tokyo is easiest (and cheapest) if you take the tube.
Depending on which subway line you are on, you have the following metro stations which will essentially lead you right into the heart of Ginza: the Ginza Station (connects the red, silver, and orange subway lines), Ginza itchome (gold line), Higashi-Ginza (rose and silver lines) and Shimbashi (orange and rose lines). Please see the metro map below to help you further understand how the subway lines work.
When to visit Ginza
Ginza looks more spectacular when it gets dark because all the shops really lit up and come to life. I visited Tokyo in December, hence it got dark early, just after 5 pm. It was relatively easy to arrive in Ginza in the afternoon and stroll around whilst enjoying the magnificent light show.
Another recommendation is to visit Ginza during the weekend as the main road gets closed for cars and opened for pedestrians only. This is a great time to capture the soul in Ginza through photography.
I loved Ginza so much, I ended up spending a couple of evenings strolling around, shopping and people watching. This is the place for notoriously expensive coffees, ridiculously luxurious cars and celebrity spotting. But even if shopping is not your main goal, Ginza really should be on your list, as it's one of the most vibrant, colourful and sensational places to visit in Tokyo.
Do you love shopping? What would be the first store you will check out during your visit to Ginza? Tell me all about it in the comments section below.
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