VIDEO: High-end ‘ginbura’ window-shopping in Tokyo’s Ginza District

VIDEO: High-end ‘ginbura’ window-shopping in Tokyo’s Ginza District

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

In Tokyo, Ginza District is one of the centers for luxury shopping, fine dining and entertainment. This fashion and high-end shopping district draws crowds looking to catch a glimpse of some fancy items or enjoy a pricey meal.

Ginza is so well-known as a great place to window shop and stroll that it’s even coined a term. “Ginbura” in Japanese is a portmanteau meaning to roam around Ginza.

As you ginbura your way around Ginza, you’ll notice that adults enjoying the area far outnumber young people. Unlike Harajuku and Shibuya, which are a mecca for teens and young adults, Ginza maintains a more mature ambiance. Catch a glimpse of the price tags of the items on sale inside Ginza’s upscale department stores and boutiques and you’ll understand why!

By day, Ginza is a snazzy fashion shopping district and also has various art galleries, a theater, and more. By night, the posh district’s many cocktail bars, lounges and nightclubs draw a crowd, too.

If you’re searching for a specific luxury fashion brand, you’ll likely find it in Ginza. But, even if you can’t afford to shop ‘til you drop here, window shopping and enjoying a coffee and pastry at any of the nice open cafes is a budget-friendly way to treat yourself.

Before it became an upscale district, Ginza was actually where the Tokugawa Shogunate molded and minted various coins during the Edo Era (1603-1867). Ginza literally means silver coin mint (gin - silver; za - minting facility).

One interesting landmark is the old-fashioned brick clock tower at Ginza Wako on the corner of the main 4-chome intersection, which has been giving passersby the time since 1932. The clocktower even made its debut in a classic Godzilla film in 1954. This is prime real estate and the buildings at this intersection are Japan’s most expensive at about 42 million yen ($323,000) per square meter (as of 2022).

The Ginza Wako point serves as a center point for Ginza and along that main road, you’ll find all the major department stores and boutiques lined up side-by-side. Veer off the main street for a look at some of the modern and fancy fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Maison Hermes, or the intricately-designed Tokyu Plaza shopping center.

Visit the district on weekends or holidays, as Chuo Dori is closed for vehicles from noon to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. April – Sept.), allowing you to enjoy your ginbura with only the worry of how much money you’ll spend.



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