If you plan to visit Tokyo for your next trip, you might come across the place “Ginza” in your search engine. Ginza has been one of the most elegant and luxurious spots and famous as a high-class shopping district in Tokyo. Ginza Yonchome intersection, or Ginza 4th block’s intersection, is well known as the most expensive land in Japan.
To be honest, I’m not a person who snaps up luxury brands. However, I often visit Ginza, and it means there are many ways to enjoy this area. Today, let me introduce what I do within three-minute walk of the Ginza 4th block’s intersection.
My go-to train line is Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, and just in front of the ticket gate, there’s an entrance of Ginza Mitsukoshi, one of the traditional department stores with a 350 year history. If you enter the department store on weekends, you can already experience the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, aside from whether you like it or not. This is Tokyo!!
But if you want to avoid going through the crowds in the department store, I recommend you follow the sign board and go outside from the A7 exit. There are many other exits, but I feel A7 is the best way to bring you to just in front of Ginza Mitsukoshi, and you see yourself standing at the famous Ginza 4th block’s intersection.
☆Saying “Hi!” to the lion in front of Mitsukoshi
The main store of Mitsukoshi is not in Ginza but in Nihonbashi. And there are two lion bronze statues at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, which were created in 1914 with the desire for striving for the strongest department store. Here in Ginza, there is only one lion. It was made in 1972, the 300th anniversary of the birth of the department store.
How has this lion seen the changes of this area? Let’s say, “Hi!” to the lion which is just outside of the entrance of Ginza Mitsukoshi.
☆ Looking at the clock tower of Wako
Look up, and you can see the symbol of Ginza! The clock tower of Wako! Wako is a high-end specialty department store which was originally a clock store, Seiko. This neo-Renaissance style clock tower is the second generation which was created in 1932. If the timing is right, you can listen to the Westminster style chime starting at 45 seconds before every hour. This chime reminds many Japanese people of their school days because it is used to tell the beginning of each class in most schools in Japan.
♪Chime of Wako’s clock tower♪
I actually tried to check if I could go to the rooftop and see the clock closer, but unfortunately, it is not open in public. According to the gentle shop clerk, only the special customers who bought clocks or jewelry there are sometimes invited and can look at it closer. The only thing I can do is to see it from the rooftop garden of Mitsukoshi across from the street.
☆ Appreciating the beauty of washi at Kyukyodo
Are you interested in Japanese traditional paper, washi? Here is a famous stationery shop, Kyukyodo. If you want to find a special gift for someone who likes washi, this shop will be right up your alley. What I like to do here is to open some wooden drawers and look at the variety of beautiful placemats made of washi. I gave them to my foreign friends before, and they said they would use them on a special occasion. If they are too bulky to carry, coasters are also attractive to choose. If it’s before Christmas, why don’t you buy Japaneseish cards to send to someone special?
On this day, I saw a foreign tourist who was video chatting with someone and showing washi to choose. He looked happy and might have spent a lot of enjoyable time there!
☆Buying anpan at Kimuraya
Lastly, let me introduce my memorable place. My late dad loved anpan, a sweet red bean bun. When it comes to visiting Ginza, buying anpan at Kimuraya was a must for him. You can see many kinds of bread placed beautifully in the wooden boxes at the counter here. I can buy Kimuraya’s anpan at my neighborhood supermarkets, but ordering them here in Ginza, seeing the shop clerk picking up each bread from the boxes, and putting them into a bag still excites me.
I heard that over 140 years ago, its anpan was made by using sake yeast for the first time in Japan. Kimuraya has a long history, and Ginza is the best place to appreciate the Japanese style bread in my book. By the way, my favorites are classic “anpan” and “cheese cream.” I hope you’ll like them too.
☆Just looking around
These are my ways of enjoying Ginza 4th block’s intersection. No snowflakes fall in the same spot. Just look around, look up, and look down. You might find your original treasure!
If you get tired, I have some information about places where you can rest for free in Ginza. →★My past article★
Thank you for reading to the end!
Working for an English language school. My source of energy is our students’ smiles full of curiosity. I love visiting my friends in and outside of Japan.