Ginza Superguide

Name: Ginza

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°40’19.54″ N 139°45’50.72″ E

Station: Yurakucho Station, JR Yamanote Line, Yurakucho Station/ | Tokyo Metro Line, Ginza Station – Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Line

Worth it? A must-see.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 8/18/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

The name “Ginza” is synonymous the world over with luxury + wealth. The name itself means “Silver Mint” – because when the Tokugawa Shogunate moved Japan’s capital from Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo) in the early 1600’s, the largest silver mint in Japan was relocated to Ginza as well. (The name Tokyo actually means “Eastern Capital“).

Ginza is an astonishing place – not just for its luxury stores, and upscale vibe, but there’s a feel to the place all its own – let’s just call it an air of positivity. It’s also centrally located on the east side of Tokyo which makes it a good jumping off point to other parts of the city. To the north is Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi area – the central finance district of Tokyo, to the west is the Imperial Palace and Hibiya, and to south is Shimbashi.

One can wander the backstreets of Ginza, especially at night, and be dazzled at every turn.

There is also a large-scale diorama of late 19th century Ginza at the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

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A typical store in Ginza.

Access

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Be sure to first read our Yurakucho Superguide as it contains all the info you need on the main station near GinzaYurakucho, and the surrounding area to the west of Ginza. There are also smaller underground stations on the Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Lines around Ginza at street level – but there is no central above-ground Ginza Station, surprisingly.

Tokyo Station is just to the north of Yurakucho and Ginza and is an easy walk in just a few minutes. Hibiya and the Imperial Palace are just to the west of the TIF and are also an easy walk. If you start early enough, you can see all 3 areas in one day – although that would be a very full day. Ginza alone can easily take 12-14 hours to fully explore and possibly a few days if you really want to see everything in-depth.

For ease of access, other than Yurakucho Station, the Ginza Metro Station is probably the best bet for most people – it also stops at many other interesting areas on the Ginza Line including Asakusa (its eastern terminus), Ueno, Kanda, Shimbashi, Toranomon, Akasaka-mitsuke, Omotesando, and Shibuya (its western terminus). It pops up onto the street in central Ginza with several different exits with the main one being around 35°40’19.54″ N 139°45’50.72″ E.

A few blocks east of the center of Ginza Crossing is Higashi-Ginza Station on the Hibiya Line (Higashi is the Japanese word for east, nishi means west).

Area Layout

Ginza lies to the southeast of Yurakucho in a roughly 5-block area. The 2 towns are right next to each other. Most of Ginza is laid out in a grid with a major central street running in both the north-south, and east-west directions. Just to the northwest of Yurakucho is the Tokyo International Forum – the elongated bldg. shown in the upper left of the photo above. Yurakucho Station is just south of that, and Ginza is the area in the lower center area of the frame. The Hibiya area is in the upper left corner.

First, Yurakucho + Hibiya

First, the Yurakucho area itself is worth a look. Adjacent to the Hibiya area, both can easily take a day to explore. Both are worth it. The north end of Yurakucho is the gateway to central Tokyo from the south – it’s well worth it to explore this area. See our Yurakucho Superguide for a comple guide to the area.

Tokyo International Forum to the North

Also a must-see is the Tokyo International Forum just to the north of Yurakucho. The TIF has a courtyard to the west with lots of cafés, restaurants, and shops. The buildings to the west are office + hotels. Definitely check the area out. North of that is Tokyo Station. The Forum also hosts the Oedo Antique Market on the 1st + 3rd weekend of every month right in the courtyard.

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Yurakucho facing east. Ginza is straight ahead, Yurakucho Station directly behind the camera. The tall square bldg. ahead is MARRIONER GATE – a large shopping complex. Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is a small shopping center built in the 1970’s. OIOI (pronounced Marui) is a large depato (department store) on the right.

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Facing east crossing from Yurakucho into Ginza at MARRIONER GATE. Yurakucho is behind the camera. On the right is the new UNIQLO Ginza.

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Ginza | Nz is between Yurakucho and MARRIONER GATE in Ginza. This photo is facing south at the MARRIONER GATE crossing. MARRIONER GATE is to the east (left).

Hibiya just to the southwest.

There is also Metro Hibiya Station nearby in Hibiya, shown on the left here.

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Inside the Ginza Metro Station.

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On the Metro Ginza Line.

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West side of Yurakucho Station facing east. Pass through the tunnel at the bottom of the frame to get to the east side. Ginza is just on the other side of the tall building.

Ginza

To get to Ginza from Yurakucho cross Sotobori-Dori from any of the side streets to the east. You may want to start at either the north or south end, and criss-cross the Ginza streets in a pattern since they are laid out in a grid. The main center of GinzaGinza Crossing and its world-famous Wako Building is down about 3 blocks east at 35°40’17.12″ N 139°45’53.76″ E. If you cross at the south end of Yurakucho near the new Tokyu Plaza around 35°40’20.09″ N 139°45’49.73″ E, you will be at the Wako Bldg. in 3 blocks. A famous corner Nikon (pronounced nee-kon, not nigh-kon) camera store and the Hermes building are on this corner as you cross. 2 blocks to the east is the SEIKO Watch Museum on the left.

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The famous Wako Bldg. facing north. Yurakucho and Tokyu Plaza are off to the left out of view. So is the SEIKO Watch Museum. Sony Showcase is on the right out of view. If you turn right here and go to the Mitsukoshi building’s roof there is an open-air garden, shops, and several cafés. Matsuya Ginza, which has one of the best food basements in Tokyo is straight ahead on the right. The Ginza Apple Store is down on the left.

Mitsukoshi building.

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Mitsukoshi‘s rooftop garden. Check it out. World-famous jeweler Mikimoto is across the street.

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Matsuya Ginza Depachika (food basement). Don’t miss it. (“Depachika” is a Japanese contraction for “Department Store Basement”).

Apple Ginza.

Tokyu Plaza

Tokyu Plaza is well worth a stop in and of itself – it has a lot of great restuarants on the top floor + a very nice open-air rooftop garden. There is also a huge indoor café on one of the upper floors with floor-to-ceiling windows which provide a spectacular view of Ginza at night. It’s just to the south of the Yurakucho area.

Across from Tokyu Plaza Ginza at night.

Inside Tokyu Plaza there is a café with soaring ceilings and this awesome view.

Tokyu Plaza Ginza entrance at night.

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The Hermes Building across from Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

Milky 70 Ice cream shop around 35°40’21.43″ N 139°45’48.96″ E.

Ginza Six

About 3 blocks southeast of Matsuya Ginza around 35°40’10.59″ N 139°45’53.82″ E is the spectacular new Ginza Six complex. A multi-use mall with shops, restaurants, and other attractions, Ginza Six is worth a stop. It also features a very nice open-air terrace shown below:

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©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Underground passage leading to Ginza Six in New Hibiya.

Namiki-Dori is one of many avenues running east-west in Ginza. Yurakucho is just a few blocks to the right. There is also a Metro Ginza subway portal on the corner.

Tokyo Square Garden

Just 1 block east of the Yurakucho crossing around 35°40’34.43″ N 139°46’09.47″ E is a bright new complex called Tokyo Square Garden. If you’re in Ginza it’s a must-see. Loaded with new shops, malls, restuarants, and offices, it’s one of Ginza’s up and coming addresses. There is also a WeWork co-working space inside. Check it out.

Food

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Food options are endless in Ginza, and much of the fare is ultra-luxury high end restuarants + confectionary stores. There are also wineries, delicacy shops, and even upscale ramen places. Great Sushi places abound. You may want to do some web research before you go to determine which places you want to eat at since there are so many it’s impossible to catalog them all here. There are plenty of good places in Yurakucho as well including the Miami Café, OIOI and LUMINE food floors, and the Matsuya Ginza food basement, which is one of the best in Tokyo. Many of the large depato have great food on their upper floors, which is a common trend in modern Tokyo.

If you explore the backstreets you will find plenty of smaller ramen and other food shops – authentic local Japanese cuisine. This area is called Yurakucho Concourse and is directly under the train tracks to the east side of the station.

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Yurakucho Concourse.

Ginza Sky Lounge

On top of Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan is the Ginza Sky Lounge restaurant – a laid back understated restaurant with a great view overlooking Ginza.

Kit-Kat Chocolatory

2 blocks east of Yurakucho around 35°40’20.59″ N 139°46’03.08″ E is the deluxe Kit-Kat Chocolatory. For some reason Kit-Kat is deemed a western luxury delicacy all over Japan – not the commodity candy bar it is considered in US supermarkets. There are endless flavors + styles of Kit-Kat in Japan, unlike in the west. If you like chocolate, this shop is a must-see in Ginza. There is also a new monster Kit-Kat store over in Shinjuku across the city. You can buy some of the Japan-themed Kit-Kats online over at yummy bazaar.

Le Chocolate De H Ginza

Also be sure to check out Le Chocolate De H Ginza.

Last But Not Least – Don Quijote Ginza

Just on the border of Ginza on the west side and Shiodomé on the east, there is this little Don Quijote 100¥ shop (known to locals simply as Donki). Like most Don Quijotes in Tokyo, they have a wide variety of goods packed into tiny aisles. They also have cheap snacks + cheap coffee. You can get a non-perishable 1 liter bottle of UCC Coffee for $.88 cents. Oddly, this Don Quijote has a wide variety of cheap but good bicycles for sale out front. They even have one made by GM’s Hummer brand. Definitely worth a stop.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Cheap culinary snack delights await you @ Don Quijote Ginza.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Kabukiza Theatre

Around 35°40’09.81″ N 139°46’03.64″ E, about a block or 2 east of Ginza Crossing is the Kabukiza Theater – one of Japan’s largest, and oldest Kabuki theaters. Kabuki is an ancient form of morality play and has survived to the modern day. The theater was destroyed by World War 2 Allied bombing but was rebuilt. There is also a tiny Japanese garden on the theater’s rooftop. Well worth a stop to check out some of traditional Japan. Shows are expensive – expect to pay a few hundred dollars. If you want quick, direct access to the theater by subway, take the Metro Hibiya Line to Higash-Ginza Station and exit to the street.

https://www.kabukiweb.net/theatres/kabukiza/

Conclusion

Well that’s it for now. There are endless things to do in Ginza and you can easily spend a few days here. It’s an absolute must-see if you’re in Tokyo.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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Facing south on Sotobori-Dori – crossing into Ginza on the left from Yurakucho on the right. Tokyu Plaza Ginza is the tall black building in the distance. The shopping complex on the right is called Ginza | Nz.

Under Yurakucho Station.

Facing north on Sotobori Dori. Turning right here leads into Ginza. Yurakucho is on the left.

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Another view of Hermes across from Tokyu Plaza Ginza.

Ginza Sony Park + Design Museum Box

Near the Hermes Bldg. shown above is the interesting Ginza Sony Park. There’s a cool little underground museum called Design Museum Box down a staircase at street level right next to the Hermes Bldg. Worth a quick look. There’s also a newly opened PlayStation museum in the basement.

Head down this starwell for the Design Museum Box.

Courtesy Totally Drew

Matsuya Ginza Depato

Just down the street from the Wako Bldg. is the great Matsuya Ginza department store (depato in Japanese). The food basement (Depachika) is really awesome and has lots of nice gifts + stuff to eat.

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Entrance to Matsuya Ginza.

Another view of the Tokyu Plaza entrance.

At the Wako Bldg (right) facing south.

On a Ginza street at dusk. The Oslo Coffee shop is just on the left.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Endless adventures await you on the backstreets of Ginza.

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Another view of Matsuya Ginza.

LINKS

Yurakucho Station/ | Tokyo Metro Line

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamanote_Line

Yūrakuchō Station – Wikipedia

Yurakucho Station | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide

Yurakucho Station, Chiyoda, Japan Tourist Information

Ginza Station

Higashi Ginza Station, Hibiya Line

GINZA OFFICIAL

Yurakucho : Best Things to Do in 2021

Yurakucho Superguide

SEIKO Museum Ginza

https://www.ginzasonypark.jp/e/

Shinkansen @ Yūrakuchō Station near Ginza

Hibiya – Tokyo’s Elegant Walk

Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum – Wikipedia

Wako Building

Matsuya Ginza

https://ginza6.tokyo/

Welcome to GINZA SIX | GINZA SIX | ギンザ シックス

Tokyu Plaza Ginza has a rooftop co-working space – and it’s free

Ginza Japanese Cuisine on the App Store

Kit-Kat Chocolatory

A Must-Visit Hidden Gem in Ginza: The Showa Retro Café Ginza

Cafe Paulista in Ginza: Japan’s oldest existing kissaten is model for coffee shops across the country

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=kit+kat+chocolatory&hvadid=78683806185431&hvbmt=bb&hvdev=c&hvqmt=p&tag=mh0b-20&ref=pd_sl_8impajdfw8_b

kabuki-za.co.jp

VIDS

Yurakucho Station is one of the best Shinkansen-spotting places in Tokyo. Ginza is directly behind the camera to the east.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbg_HgQKxd0

This video shows other views of the area around Yurakucho Station. Bic Camera and Tokyo International Forum are shown behind the tracks in this thumbnail.

Komagome

Name: Komagome

Kind: Town/City

Location: 35°44’11.87″ N 139°44’48.67″ E

Stations: Komagome Station/N14 Tokyo Metro Line, JR Komagome Station

Free Wifi: Yes

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑

Worth it? For a quick look, or on the way to Itabashi, Sugamo, or Tokyo Dome City.

Updated 2/19/21

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

Komagome is a small town in northwest Tokyo in between Tokyo Dome City to the south and Itabashi to the north. It’s on the JR Yamanote Line and Tokyo Metro Namboku Line. There’s not a lot to do in the town, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Perhaps the town’s most interesting feature is Rikugien Gardens (see below). The town also has a small lively nightlife backstreet area down a hill below the station away from the main part of the town. Its sister city Sugamo is just to the west.

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Access

To get to Komagome, take the JR Yamanote Line to Komagome Station, or take the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line. You can also walk or bike in just a few miles from a side street (see below) from Sugamo or Itabashi. From Tokyo Dome City also take the Namboku Line (it’s in the basement) from Korakuen Station 3 stops east to Komagome Station. On bike it’s only a 30-45 min ride from Tokyo Dome City.

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Inside the station.

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There is also a small bank of coin lockers inside the station for around $4 each.

Area Layout

Central Komagome. The station is lower center left. The hill down to the backstreet area is the red-grey-lined street to the upper right of that. The alleyway area is right center. Rt. 455 runs north-south through the town. The APA Hotel is at the upper left corner to the northwest. Rikugien Gardens is just to the lower left out of view. Up is north.

Features

The main feature of Komagome is its mainstreet – Rt. 455 – which runs north-south through the town. At the south end of the town is Rikugien Gardens (see below). There is also a back alley area down the hill behind the station (also see below).

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Rt. 455 – the central road through Komagome facing south. The station is just down on the left. The APA Hotel is just to the right, out of frame.

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The central street through Komagome: Rt. 455.

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The center of town facing south on Rt. 455. There’s a large conbini (convenience store) across from the station on the right.

Cafés

Good cafés abound in Komagome. Be sure to check out the Niki Bakery + Cafe a few blocks south on Rt. 455 on the left.

There are numerous others in the area.

Rikugien Gardens

Facing west south of the station on Rt. 455 leads to the crosswalk shown below. Just to the left on the corner across the street is the entrance to Rikugien Gardens – a must see. Admission is 300¥-400¥ but well worth it. The gardens are huge and you can spend all day there looking at the lake and all the plants and trees. Also note the “31” (Baskin Robbins) just to the right. For some reason the Japanese call Baskin Robbins “31” – all because the 31 is more prominent on signage – and most likely because more Japanese know the western decimal numeral system than know full English.

Crossing to Rikugien Gardens on the left (out of view). As a footnote, if you head west down the side street shown here, after a few blocks you come to Komagome’s sister city, Sugamo. See our full post on Sugamo for more info.

Kyū-Furukawa Gardens + Otani Museum

If you’re willing to walk about a mile further north on Rt. 455 and back, around 35°44’34.58″ N 139°44’45.66″ E there are also the Kyū-Furukawa Gardens and an old museum called Otani Museum – both are worth a look for a little bit more of a hike. A mile further north beyond that on 455 is Oji Station, which is also on the Metro Namboku Line. Also in Oji is Ōji Jinja Shrine.

Komagome Ginza – The Hidden Nightlife Alley

Just down a hill to the left of the station entrance is a hidden backstreet area called Komagome Ginza which comes alive at night with restuarants, shops, bars, and pachinko parlors. To get there, head down the street shown below just left of the station. At the bottom take the first right on a tiny side street. The alley area is just on the left. You can also get to it by traversing down to the bottom level of the station from inside and exit on the left (north entrance). The alleys are well-lit at night with white LED lights and make for a fascinating evening stroll. There are plenty of good restuarants. There is also a huge free bike parking lot just at the lower exit to the station.

Head down this hill and turn right at the bottom for the hidden alley area.

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Heading down the hill. At the bottom, turn right for a tiny side street leading to:

Komagome Ginza – the nightlife area entrance and front of the Three Seven pachninko parlor.

A stroll through the nightlife area next to the Three Seven pachninko parlor.

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One of many great restaurants on the backstreet alley area.

Hotels

There are several good low-cost hotels in the area. The obvious choice is the APA Komagome a few blocks north of the station. During off-season you can get a nice room for around $60-$70/night. APA hotels are spotless, affordable, conveniently located, quiet (they have soundproof windows), and easy. They usually make your trip much easier. APA has a chain of these hotels all over Japan.

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APA Komagome lobby.

Typical APA hotel room – very small, but clean, usually with a small desk, and large TV. Most also have a micro-refrigerator as well.

There is also the nice Hotel Mets Komagome right next to the station. There is also Business Hotel Plaza Komagome, down by Komagome Ginza but it’s not quite as deluxe.

Hon-Komagome Station

About 1.5 miles south on 455 from Komagome Station is another station on the Namboku Line called Hon-Komagome Station (N13) around 35°43’29.15″ N 139°45’14.06″ E. You can also walk the entire distance on 455 south. Sandwiched in between this walk and Sugamo to the west is the world HQ of Pioneer Corporation around 35°43’44.71″ N 139°44’50.29″ E (just south of Rikugien Gardens in fact).

Also just to the west of the station a few blocks is Toyo University (incredibly, in a rare Tokyo oddity, there is a gigantic COCO’s restaurant right across the street from the university at 35°43’25.99″ N 139°45’07.10″ E).

Josenji Temple

Just north of Hon-Komagome Station is Josenji Temple around 35°43’32.86″ N 139°45’11.26″ E – it’s fairly small without a large grounds but might be worth a look if you’re walking.

Conclusion

Well that’s it for now – enjoy a walk or ride around Komagome. It’s a nice little day trip and worth a look.

Additional Photos

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Another view of the front of the station.

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©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

The large bike lot at the bottom of the station.

The lower rear entrance to the station down the hill.

North up Rt. 455 is this large wooden temple with interesting architecture. Worth a stop.

LINKS

Komagome Station/N14

Komagome Station

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/stations/e712.html

Komagome Station – GaijinPot

Komagome: A Quaint Town in Tokyo

Komagome Area Guide | Tokyo Cheapo

10 BEST Things to Do Near Komagome Station – Tripadvisor

Komagome 2021: Best of Komagome – Tripadvisor

Komagome Area Guide – Blog

APA Hotel Komagome Ekimae

https://www.hotelmets.jp/komagome/

Business Hotel Plaza Komagome | Tokyo Tourist Information

It’s a small world after all in Komagome | The Japan Times

Tokyo Travel: Rikugien Garden

https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/index034.html

Sugamo

Tokyo Dome City on Bike

https://www.tokyometro.jp/lang_en/station/oji/index.html

VIDS