Location: 35°40’34.56″ N 139°45’40.29″ E
Stations: Yurakucho Station, JR + Yurakucho Metro Line
Free Wifi: Yes
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
Worth it? A must-see, and as a gateway to Ginza.
Yurakucho is a very small tiny area in central Tokyo sandwiched in between Yurakucho Station to the west, and Ginza to the east. The area is tiny – just one major square with an array of shops, restaurants, and bldgs. around it. There’s a Bic Camera store to the northwest of the station, and just north of that, the Tokyo International Forum, which also contains = Mitsuo Aida Museum =, a calligraphy museum.
The main small central area is around 35°40’28.54″ N 139°45’43.25″ E and is to the east of Yurakucho Station. You can also cut through the station’s open passages to the west side on ground level. The Bic Camera is just to the north on the west side. Along the east side of the station at ground level is a long row of restaurants and shops. At the very north end is a Doutour coffee shop, and past it a small tunnel leading to a hidden side street lined with fabulous restaurants (see below). To the southeast end of the station on the east side is a huge LUMINE + OIOI (pronounced Marui) shopping complex. If you slip past it to the south along the tracks, you’ll come to another shopping complex called Ginza 5 Five.
To the east across the street is Ginza | Nz– another shopping complex, and beyond that to the east, the gateway to world-famous Ginza. Most of this is described below.
To get to Yurakucho, hop on the Yurakucho Metro Line or Ginza Line, or the JR Yamanote Line. Yurakucho Station is just one stop south of Tokyo Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Another important point for reference is that Yurakucho is just 2 stops east of Nagatcho/Akasaka on the Yurakucho Metro Line. Nagatcho/Akasaka is well worth a look if you have time.
In the station, head for the east exit – which puts you smack in the town center facing east towards Ginza.
Central Tokyo facing west. The Imperial Palace is the green area above. Tokyo Station is in the center at the bottom. The Tokyo International Forum is the long small slender bldg. on the left. Yurakucho is just south (left) of that, out of frame.
Overhead view. Up is north. Yurakucho is in the center. Imperial Palace and Hibiyabori Moat is to the upper left out of view. Marunouchi is at the top out of view. Ginza and Maronnier Gate are to the lower right. The LUMINE/OIOI complex is lower center. The small central square is just above that. Upper right center is Tokyo International Forum – its long courtyard on its west side is full of great restaurants and cafés. The small bldg. just south of the pink bldg. is Tokyu Kotsu Kaikan which has the rotating Ginza Sky Lounge restaurant on top.
A small Koban (police box) with a pointed roof facing north into Ginza on the left. Yurakucho is just behind the huge LUMINE bldg. on the left. Just up the street to the right is MARRIONER GATE – the gateway to Ginza. Ginza | Nz runs up the left side of the street. Even in this huge metropolis, the streets are spotless.
LUMINE complex facing northwest. Yurkucho is just behind it. Ginza 5 Five is just below. You can pass through the 2 large bldgs. at ground level to get to Yurkucho Station.
Facing south back towards Yurkucho Station which is down on the right. A row of shops is on the right. The large OIOI complex is on the left, and behind that, LUMINE. Left down the street out of view is Ginza | Nz. A few blocks to the east is Ginza.
Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan in fall.
Facing back the other way (north). Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is the round bldg. on the right. Ginza is a few blocks to the right (east). The station is just to the left and behind the camera is the OIOI/LUMINE complex. The long slender glass bldg. behind the station is the Tokyo International Forum, and lots of restaurants, shops, and cafés including a Shake Shack and Brooklyn Roasting Company. Also note the large Bic Camera on the left. If you head straight, then left, you will come to an alleyway which leads to a side street of lots of restaurants which runs behind the Bic Camera (see below). If you head straight up this street you’ll come to the small Doutour Café, and past that, the tunnel that leads to the hidden side street with restaurants. You can also cut over to the Bic Camera from here by taking the station tunnels to the left, out of view.
Head straight, then left to find the hidden side street. Also note the tiny private Izakaya (bar) on the right.
Center Square + Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan
Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan at Christmas time.
As you exit the station to the east you’ll be in a small square. Here there are roughly 4 areas: 1) a row of restaurants on the left to the north, 2) Doutour and a tunnel north of that, 3) Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan on the east side of the squarejust to the west of Ginza | Nz, and 4) OIOI/LUMINE complex on the south. That’s it. At the base of the OIOI complex there are also a nice handful of restaurants to enjoy.
Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan was built in the 1970’s and it shows. The inside has a very 1970’s-ish retro vibe. There are lots of shops here, a post office, and a large grocery in the basement. On the roof is the Ginza Sky Lounge restaurant and bar.
Oddly, the tiny square is considered one of the best trainspotting places in Tokyo. Shinkansen heading both south and north via Tokyo Station run right on the tracks overhead. If you stand in the square and wait, facing west, you’ll see them:
Yurakucho Station is straight ahead, facing west. Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is just behind the camera to the right and OIOI/LUMINE is out of view just to the left (south). If you head west through the station tunnels and turn right, you’ll come to the Bic Camera. You can also cut down the tiny alley left next to the lighted buildings on the left to get to Ginza 5 Five.
The west side of the station looking back east at the square on the other side. The Bic Camera is on the left. Pass through the tunnels ahead to get back to the square.
Another view of the west side facing northeast. The 2 pass-through tunnels are on the left. Ginza Sky Lounge is the round structure on the rooftop on the other side.
Ginza | Nz
Just to the west of the center square + station, but before crossing Rt. 405 east into Ginza proper, you’ll find Ginza | Nz – a long row of shops + restaurants which lines 405, which runs north-south. Just to the left out of view is the 1st large gateway shopping center into Ginza – MARRIONER GATE. The last tall bldg. to the south in this photo is the new Tokyu Plaza Ginza which has a great open-air roof garden + lots of restaurants. The LUMINE complex is the tall bldg. in the center. Ginza Sky Lounge is the round bldg. on top, right. Ginza | Nz runs the length of the street back south to the Koban shown in a photo previously. Turning just to the right from the photo above, you’d see the street leading back to the station to the west:
The Doutor is just up this street to the right. Flipping around 180 degrees from this view is MARRIONER GATE to the east:
MARRIONER GATE just to the east of Ginza | Nz and Yurakucho, facing east. Just east down this street is Ginza Six and many other Ginza attractions. Prepare to spend at least one full day walking around Ginza.
Ginza 5 Five
Heading south past Ginza | Nz on the right you’ll come to Ginza 5 Five – a small shopping mall. Just next to that is the new Tokyu Plaza Ginza which is a must-see:
Ginza 5 Five is on the right. Tokyu Plaza Ginza is the tall black bldg. behind it. This is facing southeast.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza
At the very south end of Yurakucho is a brand new complex called Tokyu Plaza Ginza. This complex is a must see – it has an external escaltor leading into the bldg. which has endless great restaurants. There are upscale places and a really great Hawiian burger place. Also be sure to check the cool dessert place TSUJIRIHEI-HONTEN GINZA out. But the most interesting parts of the complex are the view from the huge indoor bar + café which provide incredible nightime views out over Ginza, as well as a very large open-air rooftop garden. After stopping at Ginza 5 Five, be sure to check out Tokyu Plaza Ginza just across the street.
Entrance to Tokyu Plaza Ginza.
View of the Hermes Bldg. from the indoor café across the street in Tokyu Plaza Ginza.
The Hidden Restaurant Side Street
At the north end of the station, just at the north end of the Bic Camera bldg. you’ll find the Tokyo International Forum. If you pass through the small tunnel next to the Doutour and turn left (west), you’ll be on this street. You can also get to it by exiting the Bic Camera bldg. at the very north side. But instead of heading straight across the street, head down the small side street just to the right which runs the length of the Forum south to north. Along this street on the right hand side are endless great restaurants of all kinds – dozens of them all neatly packed into a row. At night in Yurakucho, this stroll is a must-see. You can’t go wrong at most of these places and they are full of people every night. The south entrance to the street is around 35°40’32.52″ N 139°45’49.21″ E.
The south tip of the Tokyo International Forum. Instead of heading left into the Forum’s courtyard, head down the hidden side street to the right. This photo is facing north.
The Hidden Restaurant Side Street
Ren Ren Ren Chinese Restaurant
As you come to the north end of the Forum along the hidden side street, you’ll come to a skyscraper across the street. There is an extremely good and upscale Chinese restaurant on the ground floor in the corner called Ren Ren Ren Tokyo. One of the best restaurants in the area if you want Chinese food. Also note this restaurant is just 1 block south of Tokyo Station.
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum
Just 1 block to the west of Ren Ren Ren, is the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum – a huge multi-floor spectacular museum, which is a must-see in the area.
Tokyo Midtown Hibiya
Just a stone’s throw 2 blocks to the west of the station is the newly-opened Tokyo Midtown Hibiya shopping complex which has a spectacular winter illumination every year. Not to be missed.
Yurakucho is a tiny little part of Tokyo but there’s a surprising amount to do within just a few blocks. That and its close proximity to a major station on the Yurakucho Line means you can get quick access to other parts of Tokyo. Yurakucho is well worth a visit for a day or night, or if you plan on seeing Ginza too, several nights. It’s a must-see in Tokyo for any traveller.
Another view of the square facing southeast. The station is on the right. The tall bldg. in the center is the OIOI complex. MARRIONER GATE is just one block down the side street on the left.
Facing south towards Ginza 5 Five between the OIOI bldg. on the left and LUMINE bldg. on the right. The station is to the left.
Looking north into Ginza.
The area behind the Tokyo International Forum. Lots of nice restaurants on this street.
Yurakucho Concourse – a small overpass with restaurants.
Another view looking south towards Yurakucho Station. The OIOI is just on the left out of view.
Looking back to the south just east of the station. The station is out of view to the right. The LUMINE complex is just down the small corridor on the center left.
Another hidden side street full of restaurants.
Under the tracks.
The Bic Camera @ night.
Christmas illuminations at dusk in Dec. facing back south towards the OIOI + the entrance to Yurakucho Station, which is down on the right. The small row of restaurants is on the right. The Doutor and small tunnel are just to the right behind the camera.
One of many interesting streets in Ginza.
View from the Forum facing back south. Bic Camera is straight ahead, the station is to the left.
800 Degrees in the Forum courtyard.
Brooklyn Roasting Company also in the Forum courtyard. The place for coffee in Yurakucho.
Yurakucho as it appeared about 20 years ago – 2001. Back then, SEIBU, not PARCO occupied the large buildings on the south side. This photo is facing northwest at sunset.