Out of the Orient, In with Modern Luxury in Ginza

By Christina Kim - May 19, 2016


Hailed as one of the top fashion capitals in the world, Tokyo is no stranger to the sartorial world. In fact, this city defines the very essence of fashion itself as it hosts the much coveted  runway trends along with the other top fashion cities in the world.

With a reputation like this, shopping is just in the veins of this city; where it is in fact, named as one of the top things to do when you are in this city, besides sightseeing.

There is no end to the list of shopping areas in Tokyo; although there are the notable few worth exploring or even to just check out (even if you are not into shopping) when time is not on your side.


This should top your list; Ginza (銀座), which is literally known as "Silver Mint" (direct translation), a name it owes to its early beginnings, the days where there was a silver-coin mint establishment standing on this ground in 1612.
That was during the Edo days, when Tokyo has even yet to surface in mention.
(Tokyo used to be known as Edo, by the way, as I have mentioned in my earlier posts on Tokyo)

Ginza is not just any other shopping district; but this is a district which is a first, or perhaps holder of probably most superlatives to its name.

Most Luxurious Shopping District


For one, this is the poshest upscale and luxury shopping district in the whole of Tokyo.
Renowned luxury fashion brands and department stores have all made their way and established their footing on this ground; contributing to the obvious posh factor of the district, and at the same time, shoving the reputation as the district with the most western establishments.

This is definitely the Ritz of all shopping districts in the capital.

First and Most Westernized District


Ginza is the first district in Tokyo to welcome the influence from the west; following the great fire in 1872 which destroyed most of the area and ended its silver-coin mint days.

The area was then set for a revamp and under the Meiji government, the path for Ginza was paved towards "modernization".
In fact, Ginza was the model of modernization itself.

With design proposals from an Irish architect, Thomas Waters, it only made sense that most of the architecture was modeled, or inspired by the European style buildings which started to dot the area.

In fact, most of the buildings were rather European-styled, making it the first area to receive Western influence.

Though most of the European-style buildings have ceased to see the day, there are still remnants which can be found in the district.

The most notable is definitely the Wako building; which is easily spotted and is also the most iconic landmark for Ginza.


There is no way you can miss that gigantic clock perched on top of the building as you are walking down the street, or even when you alight from the Ginza station; well, pretty much immediately upon arrival.

The Hattori Clock Tower, atop the prominent Wako building were both built by the founder of Seiko (the renowned timepiece brand), Kintaro Hattori.


There is no doubt that the giant clock is definitely testament to that fact, as it sits there with the brand name greeting everyone as reminder of the founder.

You won't feel like You are in Japan


While Ginza may seem like the window to modernization with the Western influence, it was not very well-received in general among both local and visiting tourists.

It was perceived as unconventional and insignificant in its reflection of the traditional Japan, and not embracing even its Oriental touch in the overall atmosphere as western-styled buildings surround the place.

Of course today, it is no longer an issue as international brands are all making their bases here and that, retained Ginza's reputation as a westernized district; though now in a different light and definitely in a more positive manner.

Ginza is today, home to the most Western establishments with all these world-renowned brands choosing this very district for their flagship stores.
All the prominent and luxurious ones, mind you.
Think Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior.

It is quite a place to discover, with its interesting history and even just for a peek at the overall posh factor of the place.

It is not all high and mighty of course, in case you think it is not your cup of tea when it comes to shopping for there are also the high street brands such as Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, which have their own outlets in this district as well.
Even Apple and Sony stores can be found in Ginza, so technically, there is something for everyone.

Shopping or not, you can also just enjoy taking a stroll and do a little of people watch while in the district as the avid shoppers weave in and out of the stores along the street.

Huge department stores like Hankyu, Mitsukoshi, Matsuya can also be found here, and of course, there are also a whole lot of places for dining in Ginza.

What else can you expect from this modern and stylish district of Ginza?

Oh, and did I mention that this was once a swampland?

From swamp to fire, then to silver and controversy, Ginza has certainly come a long way as it struggles and survives; now shining in all its glitz and glamor today.

This district has definitely a lot to be proud of.

That's the real Posh factor, I say.


*Being a shopping district, be prepared for the crowds especially on weekends though the main street of Ginza is usually closed to traffic on both Saturdays and Sundays; from 12.00 noon to 5pm.
This is known as Hokoten (or Hokosha Tengoku 歩行者天国 - Pedestrian Heaven) where the streets are all for the pedestrians to walk and there are also benches right in the middle of street for shoppers (or their companions) to rest (that's probably where you can enjoy watching the scenes and taking in that perspective view of Ginza in general).
This is a common practice, the sealing of the streets for pedestrian on weekends in Tokyo, as practised in a few districts (mainly shopping areas). 






*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
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