As the most famous shopping & entertainment district in Tokyo, experiencing the best things to do in Ginza is a must for any visit to the capital of Japan.
Walking through the streets in search of the top tourist attractions in Ginza, you’ll practically see the money flowing. There’s hardly a corner in Ginza not peppered with an upmarket fashion boutique or fine dining Michelin-starred restaurant.
Dig a little deeper though, any you’ll just as easily uncover among the best places to visit in Ginza traditional establishments from izakaya (Japanese pubs) to small souvenir shops crouched in the area’s dimly-lit narrow alleyways.
Not sure where to go in Ginza? Here’s a quick Ginza attractions guide including ideas for what to do in Ginza…
Table of Contents
- What to do in Ginza: Top attractions & best places to visit
- The best hotels in Ginza: Where to stay for sightseeing
- Where to go in Ginza: The top points of interest & places to see
- Beyond Ginza: Other places to go in Tokyo
What to do in Ginza: Top attractions & best places to visit
Like in most of Tokyo, you shouldn’t expect just one thing when visiting the top points of interest in Ginza. The trendy reputation of Ginza isn’t unfounded.
But there’s far more to Ginza than it’s modish façade lets on.
Besides finding some of the best opportunities in Tokyo to unload your yen on the latest fashions, Ginza is one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo and one of the city’s best places to eat.
There are more Michelin-starred restaurants in Ginza than anywhere else in Tokyo.
And even if the likes of Ginza Kojyu or Sushi Yoshitake are out of your budget, you’re always bound to find in Ginza a small back-alley soba or ramen joint that will tickle your tastebuds as well as any in Japan.
Ginza Crossing (4-chome)
While it may not elicit the suicidal fear of Shibuya’s more famous crosswalk, Ginza Crossing, also known as Ginza 4-chome, will still get your heart pumping with its infectious energy.
Located at the intersection of Harumi-dori and Chuo-dori, Ginza Crossing and its surroundings are home to some of the most iconic buildings and most famous things to see in Ginza from the Wako Department Store with its famous Seiko clock to the world-renowned Ginza Mitsukoshi.
There’s hardly a more a brilliant introduction for what to do in Ginza—or even a better place to start exploring Tokyo for the first time.
Whether you want to start exploring Ginza with a shopping trip, enjoy a coffee or find a tasty Japanese lunch nearby, Ginza Crossing is the perfect place to get your bearings.
Be sure to visit Ginza Crossing at night when the bright lights and neon dazzle.
Getting to Ginza Crossing: To find Ginza Crossing, take the Tokyo metro to Ginza Station.
Exiting to street level through any of the A exits will land you somewhere along the corner, either on Chuo-dori Street or Harumi-dori Street.
Want to get more out of your visit to Ginza Crossing? Explore the Chuo area with a knowledgable tour guide on one of these hand-picked Ginza tours:
- Explore Ginza with a Local Guide: Check out Ginza’s hidden gems with the help of a local guide on this fully-customizable Ginza tour. Includes Tsukiji Fish Market, Hakuhinkan Toy Park and ends with a visit to a traditional izakaya or an act at the Kabukiza Theatre.
- Local Food & Drink Tour in Ginza: Explore Ginza’s lesser-known food scene on this two-hour guided tour. Includes a visit to two local izakaya where you’ll get to sample authentic Japanese food & drinks.
- Ginza Architecture Tour: Learn about the exciting architecture of Ginza, including the famous Wako Department Store, on this 3-hour guided tour. Includes a visit to the Nakagin Capsule, a masterpiece of the Japanese Metabolism architectural style from the 1960s and ’70s.
If you’re a huge fan of Japanese culture, catching a performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre is, indeed, one of the top things to do in Ginza. This performing arts centre is the most famous of its kind in Japan, attracting 0.9 million visitors per year.
Attending a kabuki performance isn’t quite like watching your average play. The art is uniquely Japanese, far more dramatic and exaggerated than what we’re used to.
The stories presented at Kabuki-za Theatre, often based on historic events, could hardly be labelled as anything but epic. My guess is that 4-5 hours of such Japanese dramatics would be a little much for most travellers.
Fortunately, the theatre offers special reduced-fare tickets that allow you to immerse yourself in the art of kabuki for just a single act, more than long enough to get your first taste.
Getting to Kabuki-za Theatre: Take the Tokyo metro to Higashi-ginza Station. Exit 3 will put your right at the theatre.
Interested in learning more about Kabuki in Ginza? Book yourself on one of these recommended tours:
- Kabuki-za Gallery Guided Tour: Get the low-down on the Japanese art of Kabuki theatre on this 1.5-hour introduction at the Kabuki-za Gallery (admission included). After the tour, your guide can arrange tickets for real performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre.
- Kabuki Show Ticket: Skip the confusion of getting your tickets to the Kabuki show at the Kabuki-za Theatre with this convenient service. Before sending you off on your way to the show, a knowledgeable guide will give you a quick run-down of the history of Kabuki.
- Kabuki Tour: A private tour combining both a performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre and lesson about the history of Kabuki.
Tsukiji Fish Market
The market is famous for its daily tuna auction where the day’s biggest catches are hocked off the highest bidder in a bustling & chaotic frenzy.
Although getting the full Tsukiji experience is one of the must-do activities in Ginza, it’ll take a little sacrifice.
You’ll need to set your alarm clock for the wee morning hours, and drag yourself out of bed to queue up for the daily tuna auction.
The auction itself starts at 5:00 am, but you’ll need to roll in much earlier to get your hands on one of the only 120 tickets set aside per day for the public.
(Check the Tsukiji Fish Market website for more details.)
Should a desire to sleep in overcome you, the Tsukiji Fish Market experience doesn’t end with the auction.
Wake up a little later and you can still get in on the Tsukiji Outer Market without the hassle of an early-morning queue.
(And you’ll still be left with tons of time to push through an epic Tokyo itinerary!)
The market stalls here sell everything from fresh & dried seafood to kitchen utensils. It’s certainly one of the most interesting and photogenic places among the top tourist attractions in Ginza to check out!
Don’t miss the chance to top off your visit to Tsukiji Fish Market with a delicious sushi breakfast.
Although it make not sound like the most appetizing way to start your day, the fresh sushi at Tsukiji is some of the best you’ll find anywhere!
Getting to Tsukiji Fish Market: Find your way to Tsukijishijo Station on the Oedo Line. From here it’s less than ten minutes to the heart of the market.
Looking to get the most out of your visit to Tsukiji Fish Market? Book yourself onto one of these hand-picked Tsukiji tours:
- Tsukiji Fish Market Food & Drink Walking Tour: Indulge in some of the world’s freshest seafood on this 3.5-hour Tsukiji Market food tour! Explore the market’s colourful seafood vendors before tasting local specialities like sushi & sake.
- Tokyo Tsukiji Market Walking Tour & Rolled Sushi Class: Combine a visit to Tsukiji’s outer market with a sushi-rolling class at one of Asia’s biggest cooking schools on this unique 3-hour tour.
- Tsukiji Fish Market Insider Tour & Sushi Workshop: Take your Tsukiji Fish Market experience to the next level by learning how to make sushi with masters of the art during this 3-hour tour & cooking class focusing on choosing the right ingredients, and preparing & presenting sushi. Tour also includes an all-you-can-eat sushi lunch!
Itōya Stationary Store
You’ve probably heard about Japan’s obsession with stationary. And for visitors to Japan, there’s no better place to watch it in action than at Itōya Stationary Store, one of the coolest places to see in Ginza.
Rising up a whopping nine floors, Itōya features just about everything you’d expect in a stationary shop, from pens and notebooks to postcards and folders.
It goes well beyond that though.
You’ll find a variety of interesting objects for decorating your home & office—and even art classes!
For a super unique souvenir, head up to the business center where you can create a custom notebook using your own choice of paper and cover stock.
Getting to Itōya: From Ginza Station, take Exit A8 in front of Mitsukoshi Ginza. Turn right and walk two blocks northeast on Chuo-dori.
You’ll need to stash more than a few yen away if you want to shop at Ginza Mitsukoshi.
Along with Wako across the street, Mitsukoshi Ginza is one of the most famous and exclusive department stores in Japan. For shopaholics, dumping some yen at Mitsukoshi Ginza tops the list of what to do in Ginza.
With five of the seven main floors dedicated to women’s fashion, the focus of Ginza Mitsukoshi is obvious. Perhaps no other single stop in Ginza supplies the streets of Tokyo with so much style.
Besides selling a multitude of clothing and household items, Ginza Mitsukoshi delights foodies on its 11th and 12th floors.
Among the restaurants nearly every aspect of popular Japanese cuisine is covered—sushi, teppanyaki, okonomiyaki, soba, udon, tempura, etc.—along with a handful of international choices like Korean, Italian, and French.
Getting to Ginza Mitsukoshi: The store lies directly in front of the A8 exit of Ginza Station.
Like Mitsukoshi Ginza, serious shoppers searching for the best things to do in Ginza will find their fashion heaven at Matsuya Ginza.
This trendy and upscale department store features the latest styles from famous international and Japanese designers ranging from Dior and Louis Vuitton to issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto.
And for tourists, it couldn’t get much better.
Masuya Ginza offers an array of services to make the lives of foreign shoppers easier from their international shipping to their duty-free and foreign exchange counters.
Getting to Matsuya Ginza: The Matsuya department store is conveniently situated near the A12 and A13 exits of Ginza Station.
Need a break from the glitz and glamour of Ginza? There’s no better escape from the district’s consumerist bubble than the atmospheric restaurant district at Yurakucho.
Whereas Ginza, mere blocks away, feels most comfortable flaunting its high-style, Yurakucho has held onto the old Tokyo vibe better than most corners of this modern city.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the dimly-lit alleyways set below the train tracks leading to Tokyo Station.
Huddle in and treat yourself to some yakitori, the district’s signature charcoal-grilled skewers (and one of the best foods in Tokyo) that draw in office workers of Tokyo for after-work snacks and biiru.
Getting to Yurakucho: The restaurants of Yurakucho sit directly below Yurakucho Station. From Ginza Station, it’s about a 5-minute walk here via Harumi-dori.
Want to take your Yurakucho eating experience further? Join in on one of these awesome hand-picked tours including Yurakucho:
- Yurakucho, Ginza, Shinbashi Food Tour: Blast your tastebuds with the delights of Yurakucho, Ginza, and Shimbashi with this mouth-watering 3-hour food tour! Visit lesser-known food joints in some of Tokyo’s most rustic settings while tasting 18-20 delicious local dishes.
- Tokyo Food Tour: Get better acquainted with Yurakucho’s yakitori scene on this 3-hour culinary adventure! Also visits Monja Street in Tsukishima for a taste of monjayaki, Tokyo’s own answer to Osaka’s okonomiyaki savoury pancakes.
- Tokyo by Night Japanese Food Tour: Jump into Japanese street food favourites like yakitori, monjayaki and wagashi in Yurakucho and beyond on this 3-hour food tour. Ends with a visit to a local izakaya in Ginza.
Walking down Chuo-dori in Ginza is a retail therapy dream-come-true.
Along this renowned street lies some of Tokyo’s most prestigious shopping ranging from Japanese department stores like Mitsukoshi and Matsuya to international fashion boutiques like Dior and Prada.
The best time to join into the Chuo-dori fun is on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when the street closes off to vehicles.
In this weekly Pedestrians’ Paradise, you’ll jostle for elbow room among families and well-to-do shoppers in stilettos while enjoying the amusing street performances that always give Chuo-dori a lively atmosphere.
Getting to Chuo-dori: Chuo-dori’s main two-kilometre drag stretches from Shimbashi Station in the south of Ginza to Kyobashi Station in the north. Ginza Station lies at almost the halfway mark.
One of the most famous restaurants in Tokyo, Sukiyabashi Jiro holds a coveted 3 Michelin stars for its delectable sushi.
When celebrities visit Japan, they beeline to Sukiyabashi Jiro, thanks, no doubt, in part to the popular 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
What makes Sukiyabashi Jiro so popular in Tokyo isn’t the atmosphere (in fact, it’s often brusque and a tad uninviting for foreigners), but the quality of the food.
Chef Jiro and his team meticulously prepare each piece of nigiri in the set menu and expect you to keep up with their quickened pace to eat it as fresh as possible.
Want to get the full Sukiyabashi Jiro experience?
It’s not going to be easy.
Reservations for this popular Ginza restaurant aren’t easy to come by at the best of times.
Foreigners will have their best chance to eat here by staying at a top luxury hotel like The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, or Park Hyatt Tokyo and using their concierge services.
Getting to Sukiyabashi Jiro: The restaurant lies at Sukiyabashi Crossing. Exits C5 and C6 of Ginza Station are closest to the entrance.
One of the best natural escapes in Tokyo, Hamarikyu Gardens whisks you away from the bustle of the streets of Ginza and Shiodome to its relaxing urban oasis.
This park is unique in that draws water from Tokyo Bay and shifts with the tide, creating an ever-changing scene.
The salt-water pond at Hamarikyu Gardens also features a number of saltwater including eels. Not exactly the type of marine life you’d find at other parks in Ginza!
Among the best activities at Hamarikyu Gardens is to relax among the beautiful scenery and enjoy a matcha tea at the teahouse perched in the middle of the pond.
Getting to Hamarikyu Gardens: From Shimbashi Station at the southern fringes of Ginza, it’s about a 10-15 minutes to Hamarikyu Gardens. Shiodome Station is slightly closer, only 5-10 minutes way by foot.
If Hemingway spent time in Ginza, Lupin would be the kind of bar he’d hang out in.
This Tokyo institution has welcomed guests since 1928, serving generations of Japanese writers and intellectuals with its selection of fine whiskies and cocktails.
In a city as expensive as Tokyo, it’s hardly a surprise that drinking at a bar with such historical prestige doesn’t come cheap.
Although the drinks at Lupin might b a little pricier than you might like, the laid-back and quiet atmosphere is the perfect storm for launching into serious intellectual discussions with newfound friends.
Getting to Lupin: From Exit B3 of Ginza Station, it’s a short 2-3 minute walk to Lupin.
The best hotels in Ginza: Where to stay for sightseeing
As Ginza is one of the top-rated areas to stay in Tokyo, it shouldn’t be shocking that hotels here don’t come cheap. Most of the best hotels in Ginza fall between the mid-range and luxury. Get your search started with these top picks for the best places to stay in Ginza…
- Tokyu Stay Ginza: A no-frills 3-star hotel with relatively large (for Tokyo at least), excellent value rooms in a super central location.
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier: A chic and classy 4-star Ginza hotel soaring up above the 16th floor. The city views through the floor-to-ceiling windows are simply divine!
- The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo: The ultimate 5-star Ginza hotel experience combining contemporary stylings with traditional Japanese twists.
Where to go in Ginza: The top points of interest & places to see
Still can’t decide among the best things to do in Ginza? Here are a couple last-minute suggestions of the top points of interest in Ginza…
- Want to shop till you drop? Ply along Chuo-dori, main drag of Ginza and one of the best shopping streets in the entire country, to check out the best in Japanese and international style. Make sure you pop into Ginza Mitsukoshi for the ultimate Japanese department store experience.
- Craving the world’s best sushi? You might have found it at Sukiyabashi Jiro, one of the most famous sushi bars in the whole world. Book ahead!
- Need an interesting cultural experience? Take in a weird and wonderful kabuki performance at Kabuki-za Theatre or shake your early-morning blues at the daily Tsukiji Fish Market tuna auction.
Beyond Ginza: Other places to go in Tokyo
- Shinjuku: From Ginza, it’s a 15-minute ride on the Marunouchi Line to Tokyo’s busiest urban district. Make a day of it with this guide to what to do in Shinjuku.
- Asakusa: You’ll love the traditional Japanese feel of Asakusa, just 16-17 minutes north of Ginza Station by metro. Get started in this cool historical district with this list of the best places to visit in Asakusa.
- Shibuya: Couldn’t find what you wanted in Ginza? One of Tokyo’s other favourite shopping and entertainment districts is just 15 minutes away by train. Check out with guide to what to do in Shibuya to get started exploring.