By ANNA MATSUO
Fendi, Dior, Chanel. Name it, and Ginza’s got it. Ginza’s Chuo-Doori, which prides itself with store after store of European brands, is comparable to the Champs-Elysées and Fifth Avenue.
My two girlfriends and I spent an afternoon living the “high life” of Ginza, and here's how it went.
After taking the Inokashira line from Komaba Todaimae to Shibuya, Ginza is just 25 minutes away on the Ginza line.
From the subway, we come right out onto Chuo-Doori.
One of the first stores we went into was Prada. Although I hesitated going into such a high-end store at first, I quickly came to the realization that there was no pressure to buy anything. Because Ginza is a tourist hotspot, where many tourists come every day, the stores are accustomed to people coming into their stores for tourism purposes. Thus, in Ginza, you can go into stores you probably wouldn’t elsewhere.
After trying on some makeup and buying an eyeliner at Shiseido, we walked into Ginza Six, which opened its doors just a few weeks ago on April 20. Large, inflatable pumpkins designed by Kusama Yayoi decorated the high ceiling. I was first impressed by how the store attendants guided crowds onto the escalator so that the flow of customers would be smooth. “Please go up on the escalator in two rows,” they called out. Swayed by the crowd, we somehow made our way up the escalators, intrigued by the amount of customers.
There were a nice selection of brands at Ginza Six— Van Cleef and Arpels, Tabio, Adidas, Yves Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo, Barbour… the list goes on for five floors. All that glitters IS gold at Ginza Six. Restaurants and cafés are located on the sixth floor, and there are a few more high-end restaurants and a lounge on the thirteenth. You can also access the Ginza Six Garden, open to the public, from the thirteenth floor. Concrete and greenery come together to create an urban garden-- Enjoy the smell of jasmine while you overlook Ginza.
Photo by author
Tea time! We walked into Mitsukoshi, one of the most famous department stores in Japan, right across from the iconic Wako building. On the second floor of Mitsukoshi is Ladurée— the famous French macaron shop. On busy days, the wait can be two hours, but we were lucky and were led into the Rococo style tea room after a short twenty-minute wait.
We ordered the “Afternoon Tea” set (￥3564 per person) after much contemplation at the menu. It included one hot beverage (hot chocolate or tea of your choice), one cold beverage (orange or grapefruit juice), two macarons of your choice, two finger sandwiches, two financiers, little meringues, and a pastry of your choice per person.
The macarons (I selected the Earl Grey macaron and the pistachio macaron) were a little sweeter than I prefer them to be, but the savory financier was a great palate refresher. The two finger sandwiches were ham and cheese-- but if you are a pescatarian, you can ask them to change the ham to salmon, and if you are a vegetarian, they can change it to two cheese sandwiches. Unfortunately, the iconic Ispahan (rose and lychee macaron) and Saint Honore Rose Framboise (rose and raspberry puff pastry) were already sold out, so we didn’t get our first-choice pastries. But our second choices of Fraise Laduree (a strawberry-shaped shortcake), Tarte Fraise Rhubarbe, and Plaisir Sucre (hazelnut and chocolate ganache cake) were delicious nonetheless. I definitely recommend this fancy three-tiered plate on a day you want to indulge and “treat-yourself”.
Photo by author
Time to leave Ladurée — our magical time is over. After spending almost three hours chatting, we decided to call it a day. Our Gossip Girl-esque day in Ginza is one for the books— and Instagram, of course.
Ginza is a must-go if you’re into fashion-- and even though it’s not discussed here, there is a lot more to explore in Ginza. Not into that high-end stuff? You can see Kabuki plays in east Ginza at the Kabuki-za, and Ginza is only a few minutes walk from Tsukiji fish market.
And although Ginza is a great place to explore with your friends during the day, it's quite a romantic city at night. I went to Ginza Six another time at night, and from a quiet corner of the rooftop garden, I got a spectacular view of Tokyo Tower. There's even some sitting space, so it's a great spot if you want to spend a few quiet moments with your significant other.