Tokyo is a safe and exciting city that seems to offer everything. This enormous metropolis has theme parks, gardens, unique landmarks, a huge range of local and world cuisines, different markets, video game and anime districts, museums, hotels, and shopping streets that fit any budget. Ginza, which is in the Chuo Ward of Tokyo, is considered to be one of the most expensive districts in this versatile city and a must-go for shopaholics.
With many upscale shopping centers, grand restaurants, and high-end fashion stores, the district is living up to expectations and locals and tourists alike flock there by the hundreds every day for some retail therapy. However, if you dislike shopping, there is no reason why you still can’t visit this very beautiful and classy area of Tokyo. If you are looking for some things to do and see in Ginza while someone you are traveling with someone who is out shopping, give these six fun activities to try to get the most out of your visit.
This shopping street of Tokyo transforms into a pedestrian’s paradise during the weekends. The streets are closed to vehicles, allowing people to enjoy the space freely. This makes it more enjoyable for people to roam around without having to keep an eye out for vehicles. Sometimes, there are even small concerts and performances for added entertainment.
Ginza street has a lot of things to see and is a pleasure for photographers. Relax with a coffee or wander this charming and safe district while people-watching, admiring the architecture, or listening to a local busker.
Hamarikyu Gardens and its park are surrounded by a seawater pond coming from Tokyo Bay. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets and enjoy a scenic stroll in the gardens. The pond houses various saltwater fish including eels and sea bass, bringing more nice photo opportunities. This is an especially nice place to go if you visit Tokyo in spring or summer, and with the skyscrapers of the city surrounding this little piece of heaven, you get a taste of both urban and natural all at once.
The park is designed like the Edo period of Japan, and for 500 yen you can enjoy a cup of tea in the teahouse on the small island on the pond. Tokyo is home to a lot of lovely parks which offer a quiet break admist the urban chaos of Tokyo, and Hamarikyu Gardens is one that’s worth visiting.
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Follow the Mad Hatter and enter the Wonderland through Alice in Labyrinth theme restaurant in Ginza. Everything is Alice in Wonderland themed, including the walls, the chairs, and even the food. The waitresses are also dressed up in costumes making the experience more life-like! If you are a fan of this classic Disney movie, don’t miss a unique dining experience at the Alice in Labyrinth.
There are other Alice-themed cafes all over Japan if you don’t have time to visit the one in Ginza, such as Alice’s in A Magical Land in Shinjuku, Alice in Fantasy Land in Osaka, and Alice’s Fantasy Restaurant in Nagoya.
Shop from the rest of Japan through some of the “antenna shops” spread all over Ginza. These specialty stores actually showcase products from all around the country and make excellent little souvenirs. Washita, in particular, is a store specializing in music, food, art, and crafts of Okinawa, the southern tropical island prefecture of Japan. There is also a liquor store below that you might want to check out if you’d like to try some local sake.
There is no need to miss out on the Japanese hot spring culture if you are in Ginza. This public bath, locally called an “onsen” or hot spring, is one of a kind. Being nestled in the middle of a group of shopping centers, this Edo period bathhouse is still open to this day and is the best place to relax your sore muscles from traveling and walking. Sometimes, they float flower petals in the baths to make it even more soothing. If you love “onsens”, or Japanese hot springs, give Komparuyu a try.
If you want to experience more of Japanese culture, watching one of the plays in Kabukiza Theater is definitely worth trying out. The entire performance lasts for approximately five hours but if you think you cannot dedicate that much time to watch the entire show, there are single act tickets available as well. Kabuki is an old style of Japanese performances and well worth a look. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, the flamboyant costumes and unusual performance style is entertainment in itself.
Making a reservation at least two days in advance is recommended. There are restaurants in the theater where you can eat duing the intervals, and food and drinks are allowed while you are in your seat. Try an interesting kabuki performance while you are in Ginza if you’re interested in Japanese culture.
It is true that Ginza is considered a high-class area and an expensive district to visit. With its countless high-end stores and designer shops, budget travelers might cringe to the notion of staying in the district for too long, especially if they have a tendency to impulse buy! However, there are also many wonderful places to visit and things to do in Ginza that are enjoyable for those on budgets and even those that don’t like shopping all that much! Next time someone suggests heading to this famous district, do any one of these six activities to kill time while they shop, and maybe even discover your new favorite part of Tokyo.