Pedestrian Paradise – The Ginza – Tokyo

On Saturday and Sunday the famous shopping strip The Ginza becomes a “Pedestrian Paradise” an initiative taken to encourage shoppers back to the area. The cars take back control at 5pm.

You will find all levels of consumer heaven here … my new favourite Tokyu Hands, a delightful old art supply shop sandwiched between every up-market brand imaginable. If shopping isn’t your thing, the people watching is very rewarding.

There are also many delights to be found in the side streets, the Nikon store with the latest camera to play with, also has a Gallery with some very interesting work.

Ginza is the playground of Tokyo’s bourgeoisie, and Chuo-dori Street is at the heart of it all. This shopping avenue runs east-west and intersects with Harumi-dori Street, the other main shopping avenue. This intersection is landmarked by the Wako and Mitsukoshi department stores.

Unsurprisingly, this street is massively popular with tourists. There’s plenty in the way of chichi boutiques and luxury brands aimed at the 1% – think places like pearl purveyor Mikimoto and Louis Vuitton. But there’s also shopping for those on a budget. Uniqlo, for instance, has a 12-floor shop filled with every basic clothing item you could possibly need, complete with a sales tax refund counter. (Don’t forget your passport.)

Old-school bakery Kimuraya Pan opposite Mitsukoshi still sells some of the best red bean-butter bread in town. And, Mitsukoshi and Matsuya department stores are well worth visiting too, if only to gawk at their stunning and extensive food halls.

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