Ginza is Tokyo’s most prestigious and well-known shopping, dining and entertainment district. It features numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and cafes. The land value at Ginza’s main crossing (the intersection of Chuo Avenue and Harumi Street) is one of the highest in Japan. Major fashion and cosmetic brands have a presence in Ginza.
Walking through Ginza, you’ll notice the history that has been carved into the district’s quirky place names, mysterious stone monuments, and numerous shrines. Vestiges of the old times remain everywhere. The name “Ginza” comes from the Edo period’s Ginza Yakusho (government office). Ieyasu Tokugawa moved the silver coin mint from Sunpu (modern-day Shizuoka City) to its current location at Ginza 2-chome. The official name of the place was Shin-ryogae-cho (meaning new money exchange town), but it came to be commonly known as “Ginza”.
The modern Ginza district emerged from the experiment in western-style building in the early Meiji era. The district became known as “Bricktown” due to the popularity of brick construction. Exploring the backstreets, you will see reminders of the various eras that mark the transformation of the district.
We suggest you visit Ginza during weekends when Chuo Avenue is closed to thru traffic and the area is transformed into Hokosha Tengoku (pedestrian heaven).