Not sure what to do in Tokyo? Experiencing the best things to do in Ginza is a must for any visit to the capital of Japan! Ginza is the most famous shopping & entertainment district in Tokyo. And as you explore its buzzing streets, you’ll see why Ginza is a favourite for visitors to Tokyo.
Among the top tourist attractions in Ginza, you can almost see the money flow. Every corner in Ginza seems to be peppered with upmarket fashion boutiques. You’ll also uncover several Michelin-starred restaurants, representing the pinnacle of Tokyo fine dining.
Dig a little deeper. Crouched in dimly-lit narrow alleyways lies the other side of the best places to visit in Ginza. You’ll find everything from traditional izakaya (Japanese pubs) to small souvenir shops.
Not sure where to go in Ginza? Here’s a guide to the top Ginza attractions and what to do in Ginza…
What to see & do in Ginza
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 unloading your yen on the latest fashions, Ginza is one of the best areas to stay in Tokyo. It’s also 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 restaurants like Ginza Kojyu or Sushi Yoshitake are out of your budget, it’s easy to find a back-alley soba or ramen joint in Ginza. They’ll tickle your tastebuds as well as any in Japan.
Ginza Crossing (4-chome)
Ginza Crossing won’t elicit the same claustrophobic fears as Shibuya’s famous crosswalk. But Ginza Crossing, also known as Ginza 4-chome, will still get your heart pumping with its infectious energy.
The crossroads are located at the intersection of Harumi-dori and Chuo-dori. Around Ginza Crossing, you’ll find some of the most iconic buildings and most famous things to see in Ginza. With its Seiko clock, Wako Department Store is the area’s most distinctive landmark. Nearby, you can also shop at world-renowned Ginza Mitsukoshi.
The intersection is a brilliant introduction to your quest for what to do in Ginza. It’s even a great place to start exploring Tokyo for the first time.
Ginza Crossing is the perfect place in the area to get your bearings. Start your day in Ginza here with a shopping trip. Or enjoy a coffee and a tasty Japanese lunch nearby while soaking in the sights.
Be sure to visit Ginza Crossing at night when the bright lights and neon dazzle.
Getting there: Take the Tokyo metro to Ginza Station. Exit to street level through any of the A exits. It’ll land you somewhere along the corner, either on Chuo-dori Street or Harumi-dori Street.
Want to get more out of your visit? 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. The tour includes Tsukiji Fish Market and Hakuhinkan Toy Park. It 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. It includes a visit to two local izakaya where you’ll get to sample authentic Japanese food & drinks.
- Ginza Architecture Tour: Join in on this 3-hour guide tour to learn about Ginza’s exciting architecture, including the famous Wako Department Store. The tour includes a visit to the Nakagin Capsule, a masterpiece of the Japanese Metabolism architectural style from the 1960s and ’70s.
Huge fan of Japanese culture? Catching a performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre is one of the top things to do in Ginza. This performing arts centre is the most famous of its kind in Japan. It attracts a whopping 0.9 million visitors per year.
Attending a kabuki performance isn’t quite like watching your average play. The art of kabuki is uniquely Japanese. It’s far more dramatic and exaggerated than most of us are used to.
The stories presented at Kabuki-za Theatre are often based on historic events. It’s hard to label them as anything but epic.
My guess is that 4 to 5 hours of Japanese dramatics is too much for most travellers. Fortunately, the theatre offers special reduced-fare tickets to tourists. They’ll allow you to immerse yourself in the art of kabuki for a single act. It’s more than long enough to get your first taste.
Getting there: Take the Tokyo metro to Higashi-ginza Station. Exit 3 will put your right at the theatre.
Interested in learning more about Kabuki? 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 is included. After the tour, your guide can arrange tickets for the real performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre.
- Kabuki Show Ticket: Skip the confusion of getting 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 run-down the history of Kabuki.
- Kabuki Tour: Need to know more? This private tour combines a performance at the Kabuki-za Theatre and lesson about the history of Kabuki.
Tsukiji Fish Market
The market was once famous for its daily tuna auction. Here, the day’s biggest catches were hocked off the highest bidder in a bustling & chaotic frenzy. Since 2018 though, the tuna auction was moved to a new site in Toyosu and renamed Toyosu Market.
Still, getting the Tsukiji experience is one of the must-do activities in Ginza. (And, now, without the sacrifice it once took.)
No longer will you 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.
Today, you can wake up later and get in on the Tsukiji Outer Market—without the hassle of the early-morning queue. (And 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 one of the most interesting and photogenic places among the top tourist attractions in Ginza.
Don’t miss the chance to top off your visit to Tsukiji Fish Market with a delicious sushi breakfast. The sushi is as fresh as you’ll ever find, brought direct every morning from the auction at Toyosu. Although it may not sound like the most appetizing way to start your day, go for it. It might be some of the most surprisingly delicious sushi you’ll ever enjoy!
Getting there: 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.
Itōya Stationary Store
You’ve probably heard about Japan’s obsession with stationary. Watch it in action than at Itōya Stationary Store, one of the coolest places to see in Ginza. Itōya rises up a whopping nine floors. It features everything you’d expect from a stationary shop in Japan, from pens and notebooks to postcards and folders.
It goes well beyond that though.
At Itōya Stationary Store, you’ll find a variety of interesting objects to decorate your home & office. It even hosts art classes for budding artists.
For a unique souvenir, head up to the business centre. Here, you can create a custom notebook, choosing your own paper and cover stock.
Getting there: 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 its clothing and household items, Mitsukoshi delights foodies on its 11th and 12th floors.
Among the restaurants, every aspect of popular Japanese cuisine is covered. You’ll find all the favourites: sushi, teppanyaki, okonomiyaki, soba, udon, and tempura. There’s also a handful of international choices like Korean, Italian, and French.
Getting there: The store lies directly in front of the A8 exit of Ginza Station.
Like Mitsukoshi, serious shoppers searching for the best things to do in Ginza will find their fashion heaven at Matsuya Ginza.
The trendy & upscale Matsuya department store features all the latest styles. Both famous international & Japanese designers are well represented. You can drop your yen here on everything from Dior and Louis Vuitton to issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto.
And for tourists, it couldn’t get much better.
Matsuya Ginza also offers services to make the lives of foreign shoppers easier. Check out their international shipping, duty-free, and foreign exchange counters to save money. (And space in your luggage.)
Getting there: 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? Escape the district’s consumerist bubble at the atmospheric restaurant district of Yurakucho.
Whereas nearby Ginza feels most comfortable flaunting its high-style, Yurakucho holds fast to the old Tokyo vibe. To see it in action, look to the dimly-lit alleyways below the train tracks leading to Tokyo Station.
Huddle in and treat yourself to some yakitori. Yakitori is the district’s signature charcoal-grilled skewers. It’s one of the best foods in Tokyo, drawing in office workers of Tokyo for after-work snacks and biiru.
Getting to Yurakucho: The restaurants of Yurakucho sit 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 on this mouth-watering 3-hour food tour. Visit lesser-known food joints in some of Tokyo’s most rustic settings while tasting 18 to 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 on this 3-hour food tour. The tour ventures to Yurakucho and beyond and 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 Tokyo’s most prestigious shopping. You’ll be able to shop at Japanese department stores like Mitsukoshi and Matsuya. There’s also a vast selection of international fashion boutiques like Dior and Prada.
The best time to join into the Chuo-dori fun is on the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons the street closes off to vehicles. In this weekly Pedestrians’ Paradise, you’ll jostle for elbow room with families and well-to-do shoppers. Enjoy the amusing street performances that give Chuo-dori a lively atmosphere.
Getting there: 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 three Michelin stars for its delectable sushi. When celebrities visit Japan, they beeline to Sukiyabashi Jiro. It’s thanks, no doubt, to the popular 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
What makes Sukiyabashi Jiro so popular in Tokyo isn’t the atmosphere, but the quality of the food. (In fact, the service is often brusque and a tad uninviting for foreigners.)
Chef Jiro and his team meticulously prepare each piece of nigiri in the set menu. And they expect you to keep up with their quickened pace and 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. Consider The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, or Park Hyatt Tokyo. Their concierge services should be able to hook you up.
Getting there: The restaurant lies at Sukiyabashi Crossing. Exits C5 and C6 of Ginza Station are closest to the entrance.
Hamarikyu Gardens is one of the best natural escapes in Tokyo. It whisks you away from the bustle of the streets of Ginza and Shiodome to a relaxing urban oasis.
This park is unique, drawing water from Tokyo Bay and shifting with the tide. It creates 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 Tokyo!
Among the best activities at Hamarikyu Gardens is to relax among the beautiful scenery. You can also enjoy a matcha tea at the teahouse perched in the middle of the pond.
Getting there: From Shimbashi Station at the southern fringes of Ginza, it’s about 10 to 15 minutes to Hamarikyu Gardens. Shiodome Station is closer, only 5 to 10 minutes away 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. It’s served fine whiskies and cocktails to generations of Japanese writers and intellectuals.
In a city as expensive as Tokyo, drinking at a bar with such historical prestige doesn’t come cheap. Although the drinks at Lupin might be pricier than you’d like, the laid-back and quiet atmosphere is worth it. It’s the perfect storm for launching into serious intellectual discussions with newfound friends.
Getting there: From Exit B3 of Ginza Station, it’s a short 2-3 minute walk to Lupin.
Best hotels in Ginza for sightseeing
As Ginza is one of the top-rated areas to stay in Tokyo, 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: This no-frills 3-star hotel offers relatively large (for Tokyo at least), excellent value rooms in a super central location.
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier: This chic and classy 4-star hotel soars up above the 16th floor. The city views through the floor-to-ceiling windows are divine.
- The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo: This ultimate 5-star Ginza hotel experience combines contemporary style with traditional Japanese twists. The Peninsula Hotel Tokyo is one of the best luxury hotels in Tokyo.
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 & entertainment districts lie just 15 minutes away by train. Check out with guide to what to do in Shibuya to get started exploring.