It is known as an upscale area of Tokyo with numerous department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses. Ginza is recognized as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world. Many upscale fashion clothing flagship stores are located here, being also recognized as having the highest concentration of western shops in Tokyo. Prominent are Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Dior, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Flagship electronic retail stores like the Sony showroom and the Apple Store are also here.
There was a fire in 1872. It burnt down most of the area. After the fires, the Meiji government designated the Ginza area as a "model of modernization." The government planned the construction of fireproof brick buildings, and larger, better streets connecting the Shimbashi Station and the foreign concession in Tsukiji, as well as to important government buildings. Designs for the area were provided by the Irish-born architect Thomas Waters; the Bureau of Construction of the Ministry of Finance was in charge of construction. In the following year, a Western-style shopping promenade on the street from the Shinbashi bridge to the Kyōbashi bridge in the southwestern part of Chūō with two- and three-story Georgian brick buildings was completed.
"Bricktown" buildings were initially offered for sale, later they were leased, but the high rent meant that many remained unoccupied. Nevertheless, the area flourished as a symbol of "civilisation and enlightenment", thanks to the presence of newspapers and magazine companies, who led the trends of the day. The area was also known for its window displays, an example of modern marketing techniques.
Most of these European-style buildings disappeared, but some older buildings still remain, most famously the Wakō building with the now-iconic Hattori Clock Tower. The building and clock tower were originally built by Kintarō Hattori, the founder of Seiko.
Its recent history has seen it as a promiment outpost of western luxury shops. Ginza is a popular destination on weekends, when the main north-south artery is closed to traffic. The traffic blockade began in the 1960s under governor Ryokichi Minobe.
Ricoh is headquartered in the Ricoh Building in Ginza. The neighborhood is a major shopping district. It is home to Wako department store, which is located in a building dating from 1894. The building has a clock tower. There are many department stores in the area, including Hankyu, Seibu, and Matsuya Co.. There are also art galleries.
- Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line)
- Ginza-itchōme Station (Tokyo Metro Yūrakuchō Line)
- Higashi-Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
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Mitsukoshi department store at Ginza.
Sony Building and intersection at dusk
Ginza in the early 1900s, photographed by William H. Rau
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