01Everything You Need to Know About Ginza
Most people who visit Japan may know of Ginza, famous for kabuki and fashion, but how many of them really know Ginza? This tour brings guests in and around the heart of Ginza and introduces them to several significant cultural and historical aspects of the town, as well as showcases a number of trendy hotspots and restaurants for tourist to spend their time on after the tour is over. Between visiting a small shrine in a small backstreet of Ginza, to peering out of a glass tower to Ginza’s own scramble crosswalk, this is a tour that appeals to everyone in Tokyo who plans on visiting Ginza.
Start at the Famous Kabukiza Theater
The tour starts with guests gathering at a Tulley’s café under the Kabukiza tower. My friend and I came a little early and had coffee before the tour. The guide started the tour by introducing the souvenir market shop in front of the café designed to look like a traditional style market place. There were a variety of small Japanese trinkets being sold ranging from $1 key chains to $100 fans. This would be the perfect place to return to before leaving Japan to arrange gifts for friends back home. We then moved above ground to see the Kabuki-za theater, where we received an explanation on Kabuki and how to view it from outside the building. We also went across the street to get a full picture of the building.
Exploring the Intricate Backstreets of Ginza
The first leg of the trip consisted of walking through the backstreets of Ginza while we heading for the Kiriko Lounge/observation deck. We learned about how most of Ginza used to be peninsula when we walked down a street that had once been the coast, and visited a small shrine wedged between two modern stone buildings. The tour guide pointed out which deity the shrine was dedicated to and showed us the small ritual preformed when making an offering of five-yen or “go-en” which means good relationship in Japanese. I thought it was funny how they bring puns into their religion. When we arrived at the Kiriko Lounge, the tour guide explained to us that Kiriko was a style of glass cutting born from Edo(Tokyo), and the tall windows of the Kiriko lounge were designed to look like Kiriko glass ware. The beautiful longue peered over a crosswalk that at certain times of the day rivals the famous Shibuya scramble. Definitely a good place to grab a drink during the night.
Walking Down Main Street
The final leg of the trip took us back through the heart of Ginza, with the guide making periodic stops to point out several popular places to shop and eat. The tour moved down the long main street, which the guide mentioned turns into a “pedestrian paradise” on the weekend, meaning that they close off traffic and put out picnic tables on the road for people to enjoy while shopping. Luckily our tour was on a Saturday, so we got to enjoy paradise which started right after the tour was over. My friend and I actually bumped into four other tour-mates after the tour was over exploring the recommended shops and restaurants. The tour ended at the gorgeous info center just at the end of the main street, which was filled with more information about Ginza and the area around it. There were also costumes and picture panels available, which the friendly staff helped us to enjoy.