Mitsukoshimae is a subway station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza (G12) or Hanzomon (Z09) Lines. It is named after the depato (department store) that sits over it called Mitsukoshi. Mitsukoshi is one of the oldest depato in Japan and dates back over a century. The building itself has an architecture + decor from that era. It also has a tax-free shop.
Aside from the store itself there are all kinds of things to do in the area (known as Nihonbashi) named after the Nihonbashi Bridge at the north end of the town. The original bridge dates back to 1609. In fact, the Nihonbashi Bridge is the central point (Kilometre zero) from which all other road distances are measured in Tokyo.
The area plays prominently in medevil Japan’s history with many Ukiyo-e prints by famed artist Hiroshige from the 1800’s still in existence from that era.
The Nihonbashi area is just north of central Tokyo’s Marunouchi and Otemachi areas. You can easily walk here from Tokyo Station which is to the south. You can also exit OtemachiStation on the Hanzomon (Z09) Line + head north. If you have a whole day to spend you could sightsee around Tokyo Station, then walk north to Otemachi, then north to Nihonbashi (although that would be a very full day since there is a lot to do in each area).
Just to the north of the bridge is a small information booth which is worth a stop:
The most interesting thing about the Nihonbashi area is simply how immaculately spotless it is – maybe even more so than Ginza to the south, and the Tokyo Station area. Streets here are so clean it’s hard to believe a city this size has the ability to keep any area so spotless.
There are endless things to do in the area. The station has a mixed use area with shops + restaurants, and the streets are lined with both too. You can walk and explore for hours and not get bored.
Mitsukoshi is the main attraction and it has several floors of shops, food, restaurants, and other interesting places, but its food basement (Deepchika) is perhaps the most interesting. Here you can get all kinds of foods + luxury delicacies of all kinds. Plan to spend an hour in the basement at a minimum.
Mitsukoshi at sunset facing south.The groaning city in the gathering dark.
The store also has a special card for overseas visitors which gives you 5% off all purchases. There is also a brand new Bic Camera store in Mitsukoshi.
Mitsukoshi south entrance facing north at Christmas.
After Mitsukoshi, the other big attraction in Nihonbashi is the COREDO mixed use development. The complex sits above the station and its first floor is inside the station bldg. But there are threeCOREDO bldgs. and you can spend hours exploring them all – possibly even days.
1 block to the west of COREDO is Mitsui Shopping Park Urban. Well worth a look. There are lots of shops + cafés, and restaurants here – some with outdoor seating.
Chuo-Dori is the main street that runs through Nihonbashi and the COREDO complexes are on either side. Chuo-Dori runs north-south and bends west @ Nihonbashi, then north through Kanda and into Akihabara. Running south it takes you to Maronuchi and Tokyo Station. But there are side streets as well and every side street has something of interest. Shops abound. In the center of the multi-building COREDO complex there is an open-air part of the street that is blocked off to traffic which has dozens of nice restaurants + shops you can visit. A great place for a walk and a definite must-see.
Cool shops abound on Chuo-Dori.
Lots of good hotels abound in the area, many with entrances to the station in their basements or right outside on the sidewalk. By far the best hotel in the area is the Mandarin Oriental, just across the street from MitsukoshiDepato. This is a 5-star hotel and it will cost you a pretty penny to stay here but the luxury + experience are out of this world. From the upper floors of the hotel you get a spectacular view of downtown central Tokyo to the south, and Tokyo Sky Tree to the east.
Mitsui Memorial Museum
Also nearby is the Mitsui Memorial Museum – well worth a stop this museum has traditional prints, paintings, and ceramics.
Directions: Directly connected to Nihonbashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tozai Line, or the Toei Subway Asakusa Line, a three-minute walk from Mitsukoshimae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Hanzomon Line, or a six-minute walk from Tokyo Station on JR Lines.
About 2 blocks south of Tokyu Plaza in Ginza is a great SEIKO watch museum. It’s worth a quick stop if you are in Ginza. The museum closes @ 5:30 PM most days. Note you must reserve your visit in advance. The museum is on Chuo-Dori Ave. and is one block north of the famous Wako Bldg. at Ginza Crossing on the same side of the street. As an interesting historical note, the Wako Bldg. was originally created by SEIKO founder Hattori Kintaro:
“By 1881 his watches were so well made that they were given as gifts by the Imperial Household. He named his watches Seiko, meaning ‘precision’, a name and a reputation they have maintained.”
To get here either take the Metro Marunouchi Line or Ginza Line and exit Ginza Station. You’ll need to look for the exit signs underground. There are 2 station exits right on the block where the museum is. Alternately, you can take the JR lines to Yurakucho Station, exit to the east 2 blocks, then walk south about 3-4 blocks. The museum is on the east (left) side of the street as you walk south. If you’re up for a longer walk or are farther north, you can exit Tokyo Station and walk south since the Yurakucho area is just south of that.
The museum featues Seiko watches + clocks as well as some other older antique clocks from Japan (Wadokei). The museum also contains Japan’s First Alarm Clock from 1899.
Have fun and enjoy a little SEIKO history.
SEIKO Museum Ginza
4-3-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061 TEL 03-5159-1881
“The Toranomon Incident (虎ノ門事件 Toranomon Jiken?) was an assassination attempt on the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan on 27 December 1923 by communist agitator Daisuke Namba”.
Main street in Toranomon facing north – a beautiful, epic, gorgeous, thrilling walk.
Toranomon Hills is the tallest building in Tokyo. That title is expected to be surpassed in 2022 when a new, taller complex in Toranomon is built. The complex is spectacular + includes an office tower, shops, and lots of restaurants. Behind the tower is a medical facility + an open space green park.
Tamiya Playmodel Factory (pronounced ‘Tom-eee-ya‘, not ‘Ta-my-ya‘ is a nice small shop by Japanese plastic model maker Tamiya. There are lots of high quality models + supplies here, and some built dioramas of WW2 military scenes using the models. It’s right on the corner of the main street running north-south through Toranomon – Rt. 405.
If you head just south on 405 from Toranomon you will come into Shimbashi and just beyond that, Shiodome. Toranomon is within walking distance of both.
If you go the other direction – north – and make a few winding turns to the northwest you will come to one of Tokyo’s premiere areas – Akasaka. Akasaka is the area just to the west of Japan’s central government. In fact, you can see the Prime Minister’s office from there. The nearest Metro subway station to Akasaka is Akasaka-Mitsuke Sta. on the Ginza or Marunouchi Lines. There are several station exits – on Rt. 405 itself across from Bic Camera, one in the basement of Bic Camera in the .BelleVie shopping complex, and one just behind the government buildings. It’s a bit of a hike to Akasaka from Toranomon, but doable. There is also a newer Toranomon Hills Station (H06) as well – on the Hibiya Line. You can also change lines @ Toranomon Hills Sta. for the Ginza Line to Ginza, Ueno, and many other stops.
As a footnote just across from Tameike-Sanno Station are two excellent hotels: APA Pride and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. APA Pride is incredibly grand + it’s reasonable – off season around $70/night. But beware since it’s just behind the gov’t buildings, the gov’t will often take over the entire hotel for visiting international groups and cancel all guest reservations with only short notice. Still, it is an excellent place to stay. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is right next to APA Pride but it is orders of magnitude more upscale. It will cost you around $400/night but it’s incredibly deluxe. Both hotels make access to the main part of Akasaka easy.
TheAkasaka view from the far end of the street shown in the previous photo looks like this – facing back north. Sanno Park Tower is just on the corner on the left. The small round circular area is an elevator entrance to subterranean shops + another station exit. The small brown bldg. just up the side street in the center is APA Pride hotel and The Capitol Hotel Tokyu just to the left of it. There is another station entrance across the street to the left out of frame in this photo. Bic Camera is out of frame up the main street to the left, also out of frame. A really interesting area in Akasaka is a small street behind the Bic Camera – it’s full of all sorts of restaurants, shops, and hotels. If you are on bike, you can ride all the way south from here, into Toranomon, and further south into Shimbashi/Shiodome.
Looking back south from Akasaka. Toranomon Hills is the tall tower in the distance.
A spectaular sunset in fall cruising down Rt. 405 south on bike from Akasaka heading towards Toranomon. To the west (ahead) is Tokyo Tower just out of frame to the right. Japan is far enough north that in late fall the sun goes down around 3:30 PM.
Inside the very swank Capitol Hotel Tokyu. A top 5-star hotel, but it will cost you.Oddly, there is even an upscale 7-11 in this hotel’s basement.
Just pop in + hang a right down the stairs to the basement – Metro signs are overhead on the right where the small colored circles are for each line. If instead you go straight ahead you’ll pop out on a charming little backstreet lined with all kinds of restaurants, shops, cafés, pastry shops, wine bars, noodle shops, izakaya, chocolatiers – you name it. Further down the street to the left is Akasaka SACAS + Tokyo Broadcasting System‘s HQ. The entrance to this street is roughly at 35°40’37.47″ N 139°44’11.90″ E.
The charming little side street behind (west) of Bic Camera. Also shown below:
A spectacular day in Akasaka – the Akasaka SACAS/TBS complex is straight ahead.Toranomon is to the left (south).
Akasaka overall map – Sanno Park Tower, center, APA Pride Hotel/Prime Minister’s Office on the right, center, Bic Camera just out of view at the upper left corner.As a fun footnote the elevators up to the top-floor NTT DoCoMo HQ have to be seen to be believed – mostly glass, they shoot you up through the tower at incredible speed as the ground + building appear to drop out from under you. You can’t go in the offices, but you can go in their lobby + look around.Toranomon is to the right down the main street (southeast).
Looking south on Rt. 405 in Toranomon towards Shimbashi. Shiodome is the tall bldg. in the distance.
Tokyo Tower is visible from Toranomon, and is well within walking distance just to the northwest.
UCC Coffee AcademyTokyo
Just down the street to the southwest is UCC Coffee AcademyTokyo where you can take coffee classes (in Japanese only, however). Also right next door is giant Family Martconbini where you can grab a quick cheap breakfast.
Also on this street is the HQ for Iwatani Corporation – makers of small tabletop gas stoves + other appliances.
Oki Printers HQ
Just to the west a few blocks is the world headquarters of Japanese printer maker Oki. Oki makes office printers, but in the 1980’s they were famous for a full-color ribbon-ink printer for Atari + Commodorepersonal computers called the Okimate 10 (which you can still find today on eBay in working condition).
If you’re looking for a capsule hotel in Toranomon, look no further than First Cabin Atagoyama – a top-notch capsule hotel just to the southwest of Toranomon Hills. Prices in off-season run around $45-$55 and it’s quite nice. The hotel is located just to the west of the Tamiya Playmodel Factory a few blocks – on a side street.
Facing north on Rt. 405 looking at Toranomon Hills at night. Note the spotless street pavement.
There are plenty of interesting side streets in Toranomon. Feel free to wander around + explore. If you head south on Rt. 405 towards Shimbashi, there’s a lot of good food + there’s also the Avant Cycles shop on the west side of the street.
Avant Cycles shop.High-end racing bikes. A bike is a must-have in Tokyo.
Plenty of high-end Japanese shops fill the area – many of them with astonishingly good nighttime lighting.
Caffé Veloce has a retro 1950’s vibe – but it’s known for not having the best coffee in Tokyo. It does have some pretty decent cheap food, though – such as hot dogs for around $2.00 USD.
Just behind Good Morning Cafe + Grill is TREX Toranomon Café + bike shop. You can rent bikes here – or take a paid bike tour around Tokyo. The bike shop is out front, and the café is in a smaller bldg. around the back. Both definitely worth a look.
More Good Stuff
Rt. 409 (Hibiya-Dori) which runs E-W + intersects Rt. 405 (the main street in Toranomon) has some interesting things to see + do. At the southwest corner of this intersection is The Monument of the Site of Asano Takuminokami’s death (Asano was involved in the famous medevial Japanese Legend of the 47 Ronin – which was made into a US film in 2013).
Directly across the street to the east of this is the SHINTORA-DORI CORE – a mixed used development which also has a huge coffee shop on the ground floor.
Facing south on Rt. 405 towards Shimbashi/Shiodome. Again, note the spotless pavement.
There are all kinds of other interesting side streets/paths to explore.
Even small side streets are usually clean + well-lit.
Tokyo has spotless pavement – mainly because all plastic waste is collected, recycled, and plowed into new road pavement to make it rubbery + elastic so it doesn’t chip or crack. The plastic gets reused, and the country gets better roads. Brilliant. You rarely see any road gravel in Tokyo. The only downside is Japan hasn’t mastered bike lanes yet – as indicated by the double arrow + cyclist icons on the right.
Vending machines are good for quick, cheap drinks. You can now also pay electronically via IC railway cards such as Suica in most places. Suica also supports payment via smartphone or Apple Watch.
Japan’s Suica electronic rail IC card. You add money to the card, then use it at electronic turnstyles at train stations to pay your fare. You can also use them at convenience stores and most vending machines.
Another abandoned bike in Tokyo – an all too common occurrence.
Further to the west down Rt. 403 just south of Tokyo Tower is world-famous Zojo-ji Temple. You can easily walk to it from Toranomon.
Well, that’s it for the Toranomon Superguide. We hope you found it useful. Enjoy your stay. You can easily spend a few days in the area and see everything. If you also want to see Shimbashi + Akasaka too, plan on a week or so for all 3. You can stay in one of the inexpensive hotels in Toranomon (such as APA), or one in Akasaka. There is also a First Cabin on a main street in Akasaka. It is conveniently located + has a Key’s Cafe embedded right inside it. There is also a Tully’s Coffee just around the corner. Or choose the very nice APA #215 Hotel Shimbashi Toranomon. If you do stay in Akasaka, be sure to check out the excellent Akasaka SACAS area.
Looking east in front of Toranomon Hills.
There are lots of great restaurants and shops on the backstreets.
And some great restaurants under overpasses + between streets.
The museum is extremely well done + includes many artifacts going back as far as the late 1800’s. There are delivery vehicles, uniforms, advertisements, post boxes, and even the world’s only comprehensive collection of every stamp ever issued worldwide (the collection is so huge + valuable, you’re not allowed to photograph it).
To get there, take the Hanzomon Metro Subway line to Oshiagé/SKYTREE Station, go up through the TOKYO SKY TREE mezzanine station area, and then take the vast escalators up to the ground floor. Go to the 6th floor from the Tokyo Solomachi Bldg. entrance (there’s a side elevator in the lobby), take the elevator there, and then exit left to the Postal Museum. Tickets are at the front counter. There is also a huge Family Martconbini (convenience store) on the lower escalator level.
Head up out of the station to the TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN mezzanine, then hang a left here to get to the escalators up to the lobby.There are lots of stores and vending machines here.There is also a huge map. Note the color-coded Metro exit sign in yellow.
The massive escalators from the station mezzanine area up to the Solamachi Bldg. lobby. A Family Mart conbini is straight ahead. Note there are also a few coin lockers on the right where you can stash your stuff while @ Sky Tree if they are not all in use.
As a footnote, at the Tokyo Solamachi Bldg. there’s more to do: 2 long food court hallways, a massive food/gift floor, an aquarium, an info desk, a rooftop terrace outside Sky Tree itself, coffee shops, and various other attractions – and tickets to the Sky Tree’s 2 spectacular observation decks (floors 350 + 450). Cost for the observation decks is around $34 per adult as of 2019. Be sure to check out the glass floor in the 1st observation deck – for a dizzying view of the ground 350 floors below:
Also nearby on the Hanzomon Metro Subway Line is Sumiyoshi. The Hanzomon Line is interesting because it’s one of the most convenient lines in Tokyo – Oshiagé/SKYTREE is the eastern terminus of the line, but just a few minutes to the west and you’re at Tokyo Station which is a great area to explore + walk around in. The 2nd stop on the line from Sky Tree – Kinshicho – is also well worth a stop and look around. In fact you can walk from Sky Tree to Kinshicho to the south in about a 1/2 hour. Near Kinshicho is TOBU Hotel Levant – a Sky Tree Partner Hotel. There is all sorts of good shopping in Kinshicho – including 3 major depato (department stores) – OIOI (Marui), Termina, and PARCO/SEIYU. In the basement of OIOI there is an excellent Japan Meat stop with great midnight grocery sales, and there’s an inexpensive SEIYU in the basement of the PARCO, right next to the Metro exit. All of this is in Kinshicho about 1.5 miles to the south of Sky Tree. If you’re a meat-eater you can bring back a good haul from Japan Meat or SIEYU and cook it up in your hotel room. You can even find a whole tin of Danish butter cookies at midnight SEIYU sales for 100¥ (around $1). Well worth a few miles’ walk.
There is also a very nice First Cabin capsule-style hotel near Suitengumae Station on the Hanzomon Line (Z10) just two more stops to the west. The staff is more than friendly and speaks English – and the place is spotless. It’s tucked back off a side residential street in a quiet neighboorhood, just next to the Sumida River – but worth a stay if you don’t want to stay at a more expensive hotel near Sky Tree.
Once in the Solamachi/Sky Tree lobby, take the elevators to the 6th floor. There you can buy tickets @ the museum’s front desk for $6.
Inside the museum. The world’s largest collection of postage stamps is at the far end.
Late 1800’s postal advertisements.
The museum has all kinds of historical artifacts worth checking out:
Delivery scooter from the 1960’s.
Delivery worker uniforms spanning close to 200 years.
Mailbox from early 1900’s.
Early postal lanterns.
Early post box from late 1800’s.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your trip to the Postal Museum Japan and Sky Tree. Plan to spend around 2-3 days total in the area as there’s lots to do. The lines for the observatories are generally a mob scene – especially on weekends, so plan accordingly. Expect lots of screaming kids on weekends.