When in Japan, do as the Japanese do; for a truly Japanese occasion, what else but the finest of traditional Japanese dining to experience? Tokyo’s haute hub Ginza has some of Japan’s finest authentic chefs trained right here at home; below, we introduce a select 8, all of whom spin wonderous tastes of the seasons with demure-yet-warm hospitality, assuring an elegant and timeless pure ‘Kaiseki experience.
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~Fresh Natural Mushrooms and a Variety of Choice Rice Dishes; a Restaurant Worthy of Frequenting~
A ‘Kappo’-style Japanese cuisine restaurant in Shimbashi, Muroi adds the chef’s unique inspirations and deft technique to his chosen art’s traditions and methods, serving an original and sensational course of the seasons. Owner-chef Muroi, a veteran of Ginza’s culinary scene, sources ingredients from select contract farmers and the trusty Tsukiji market. Furthermore, during the June-November season, he himself ventures into the wild to harvest mushrooms; leaving Friday night to go picking Saturday morning, he then moonlights back to cook the same fresh mushrooms for dinner-time guests. Driving long and hard, he varies his trips, going to Iwate, Nagano, the Fuji Forestlands, and more to pick the 140-plus different mushrooms that he lavishes on his menu. Naturally, those mushroom-loving gourmands know of this dedication; every year when mushroom season comes along, Muroi’s seats fill up with alarming quickness. The interior has a variety of seats; the counter, useful for dates and light business, and the private rooms, of either table and tatami seats that seat 2-4 or 4-18, bettr for more formal uses. Flexibility in the shape of English acceptance and vegetarian menus makes Muroi an enticing destination for visitors as well. For an unforgettable Japanese cuisine experience, or a special night for you mushroom-avids, do visit this restaurant in multitude.
・Address: 8-7-19, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: 17:30~23:00 (Last Order 22:00)
・Directions: 3-minute walk from Shinbashi station (Exit 1), Tokyo metro Ginza Line
5-minute walk from Shinbashi station (Ginza ticket gate), JR Line
~Fresh Setouchi Red Snapper in 100 Different Ways~
25 years since opening shop on Ginza’s Showa-dori Avenue, Yamaji is one of Ginza’s premier Japanese restaurants, with a star to show; never growing old, regulars pay homage every day with frequent visits to this decorated establishment. Using the freshest of ingredients Japan’s lands and oceans provide, Yamaji fashions graceful dishes elegantly intertwining and maximizing the flavors of its pieces. Especially popular are the ‘Setouchi’ inland sea natural red snapper and other seafood flown in every day from Ehime’s Mitsuhama port, served simply and deliciously in the plain-yet-cozy hall. The restaurant, of modest counter and table seating, is perfect for uses both personal and business; for a purely fantastic Japanese culinary experience, taste the bounties of the islands at Yamaji.
・Address: 7-14-14, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch: Lunch: [Weekdays] Lunch: 12:00~14:00 Dinner: 17:30~23:00 (L.O. 21:30) [Saturdays] Dinner: 17:30~23:00 (L.O. 21:30)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Higashi-ginza station (Exit 4), Hibiya Line
~Exquisite Dishes and Hospitality with Care; the Merits of a Tiny Restaurant~
Underneath Ginza’s hallmark 4-chome crossing in a still-new building is the tiny 6-counter ‘Kaiseki’ Japanese cuisine Shiorian Yamashiro. The 30-something owner-chef, a quiet figure exuding confidence and a never-ending passion for culinary discovery, serves simple yet spectacular dishes that keep even fellow chefs coming for more. The regulars fortunate enough to enter this petite den are serviced with deftly layered flavors of the season; concoctions of the finest selected ingredients, meticulous technique, and visionary creativity. Further enhancing Shiorian’s experience is a watchful hospitality; the chef paces guests’ courses with individual eating speeds and conversation, allowing for the perfect background for a relaxing time with special friends.
・Address: 5-9-19, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch: 12:00~15:00 (L.O. 13:00) Dinner: 18:00~ (L.O. 23:00)
・Directions: 1-minute walk from Ginza station (Exit A5), Ginza Line
~Japan at its Best; Relations with the Sources a Prime Ingredient~
Chef Ishizuka, a veteran of many a Ginza gem and former 5-year consecutive Famous gourmet guide-starred head chef in Azabu, serves beautiful bites of the seasons under his own banner. A firm believer of chef-source relationships, bonds nurtured over the years and frequent trips to the countryside lend to fresh the ingredients straight from the source; his seafood, selectively procured on the spot with fishing trips the chef himself attends, gives Ishizuka’s sashimi a life like no other. A chef’s course-only menu may not be much to look at, but the talkative master takes ques freely, and through conversation deftly creates a personalized course. Paired with the 15-plus labels of sake, including some rare and coveted bottles, Ginza Ishizuka offers an extraordinary Japanese cuisine experience of the freshest of the season’s fruits. For important receptions and occasions, best give this hidden gem a call.
・Address: 1-13-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch：11:30~14:30 (L.O. 13:30) Dinner：17:30~23:00 (L.O. 21:30)
・Directions: 1-minute walk from Ginza Itchome station (Exit 10), Yurakucho Line
~Straight-from-Kyushu Specialty ‘Taki-Niku-Nabe’ and the Starlit Tokyo Skyline~
Kintsuta’s unique specialite is a treasure trove of Kyushu’s best; The ‘Taki-Niku-Nabe’, a hot-pot of lucious Oxtail soup, is served in a specially designed made-to-order pot that, along with the hot-pot recipe, is trademarked and patented for a truly original experience. Fresh vegetables and Japanese Black Cattle wagyu sirloin straight from the source, as well as Kagoshima’s ‘Kokuho’-brand pork, bred on feed infused with shochu-spirit malts for a distinct rich sweetness, are beautifully arranged on the side, ready to be enjoyed shabu-shabu-style. Relish the Kyushu bounty boiled rare in the soup; dip in a light sauce of salt and tomato base, and bon-apetit. Of course, Kintsuta is not all about its signature hot-pot; the course, down to the digestif ‘Wa-Kocha’, a Japanese-style black tea, is popular for its Fukuokan sensory pleasures. The hall, of simple white coloring, has multiple private rooms for 2-8 persons; with a beautiful Tokyo skyline in the background, luxurious sofa seating, and a convenient spot in the middle of Tokyo, Kintsuta is a sought-after destination not only for dates but for families and a variety of occasions as well.
・Address: 8-3-1, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: 17:30~23:00 (L.O. 22:30)
・Directions: JR Yamanote Line "Shimbashi Station" a 3-minute walk from Ginza Exit
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line "Shimbashi Station" a 3-minute walk from Exit 5
~Ginza’s Essence of ‘Wa’; Presented by Japan’s Finest Chef~
At the pinnacle of Japan’s premier haute-dining center is the Japanese culinary colossus Ginza Koju, a starred feature restaurant 7 years in a row. The owner chef, Tooru Okuda, is one of Japan’s most highly respected and an internationally renowned master of artful masterpieces that convey the very essence of Japanese cuisine; chef Okuda’s dishes sing to the 5 senses scenes of his country’s beautifully transient seasons, an unmatched feat for which even critics cannot help accumulating visits. The chef, one of few heralded individuals that spearheaded bringing Japanese cuisine into the international mainstream, is also a government- appointed ’Goodwill Ambassador for Promoting Japanese Cuisine’. Koju’s interior, a calm and simple affair, is still yet a fresh and wonderous world; chef Okuda’s meticulously crafted courses, highlighting the movement of nature’s seasons in the use of ingredients in different stages of individual season, are lent a dignified grace in this holy glow. Here, guests can taste, and feel, and sense, with tongue as with eyes, through the mood and the hospitality, a deep and rich 5-dimensional world of ‘wa’ only attainable at the venerable Koju. For those seeking a timeless memory, an otherworldly experience, do seek out Tooru Okuda’s Ginza Koju for a new world of ‘gourmet’.
・Address: 5-4-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: 12:00~13:00 (L.O.) Dinner: 18:00~21:30 (L.O.)
・Directions: 3-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Ginza Station Exit B6
3-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Ginza Station Exit B6
~Feel the Transient Seasons; ‘Wa-French’ Fusion with One of Japan’s Finest Terrariums~
GINZA SIX; a recently completed complex at the heart of the convenient Ginza 8-chome, just a few minutes from both Ginza and Shimbashi stations. Hidden away in this fiercely competitive sector of Tokyo is the secretive Niwa ~Garden of Four Seasons~. Unfortunately, this is about as much as can be said; this restaurant after all is members-only, a restricted garden of Eden open to only those who dare to know. Blending essences of Japanese and French cuisines, Niwa’s chef creates a unique ‘Wa-French’ ‘Fusion-Kappo’-style course; differing with every month, each dish a bite-size taste of the season, the menu is designed for satisfaction regardless of gender. Of course, the cellar too is stocked with a diverse selection of mariage-to-bes. A sommelier-select list of organic wines, European, domestic, and more in wines and champagnes, and a extensive tally of sakes from each prefecture selected by the J.S.A Sake Diploma await for those curious to try the magnificent pairing course. Niwa’s simple cypress counter belies the interior’s natural glamour; sitting across is one of Japan’s finest terrariums, boasting a wild grace fit to adorn the most special of occasions with an extraordinary feel. For a uniquely exquisite course and a fully sensational seasonal experience, head to the Garden of Four Seasons and its nature’s delights.
・Address: The address will be provided when the reservation is confirmed.
・Hours: Dinner: 18:00-23:00(L.O.21:00)
・Directions: The access will be provided when the reservation is confirmed.
~Medicinal Japanese Cuisine and a Ginza-esque Chic~
The still new 2-chome underground Oryouri Shibuu, a tiny 7-seat counter serviced by owner-chef Kenichi Shibuya and nobody else, is a home of warm hospitality and delightful seasonal flavors. The chef’s focus on healthy and medicinal ingredients, lending to his simple yet memorable, flavor-rich dishes, are uniquely original concoctions served on beautiful pottery tableware. Autumn-winter snapping turtle and puffer-fish, Spring red snapper, and Summer eel are signatures, combined with fresh greens in deeply tasteful soups and stews. A finishing touch in home-made soba noodles, knead and cut from soba-flour sourced from selected partners across Japan, is a treat that any would savor. The chef’s skills as a sommelier as well shine at Shibuu; the course is accompanied by wines chef Shibuya himself tasted and selected. Enjoy original pairings, for example a wine mariage with soba, in particular the dipping broth; whilst commonly paired with sake, Shibuu offers the merits of a one-man operation and chef-sommelier-in-one. The chef’s own preference, a want of proximity to guests, is the grounds for a guest-counter at the same height with the kitchen-counter; enjoy sights of Shibuya’s flowing knife-work and meticulous care for a truly personal restaurant experience. The tiny shop is unfit for large groups, but the cozy mood is perfect for casual receptions, dates, and anniversaries; the chef, with experience hosting cooking lessons for foreign visitors, is open to international guests as well. For a down-to-earth course and a pure taste of ‘Japan’, Oryouri Shibuu’s hospitality awaits.
・Address: 2-4-19, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Dinner: 18:00~22:00 (L.O. 21:00)
・Directions: 2-minute walk from Exit C8 of Ginza Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi line
3-minute walk from Exit B4 of Ginza Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya line
Ginza’s Main Street, the internationally renowned symbol of the centuries-old high-end commercial district, led to the proliferation of local ‘~~Ginza’ streets at the heart of many a regional town across Japan. Today, foreigners and locals alike flock to the multinational brand boutiques that line the street, especially on the weekends when, as since 1970, an expansive stretch is zoned as a pedestrian paradise.
Address: 1-chome~8-chome, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
A Kabuki-only theater established in 1889, the Kabuki-za is located just a few minutes walk from the bustling Ginza 4-chome crossing. The anchor of Kabuki-style traditional theatre, it has remained throughout the Imperial Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras as well as the postwar Showa and current Heisei periods as the pillar of the art as it evolved, integrating new techniques and trends in refining its existence to adjust to newer times. As only the best perform at the Kabuki-za stage, the titles staged too tend to be those traditionally famous and popular. However, in recent times the theatre has adjusted to adopt its international following, with an optional foreign language guide to assist those not fluent in Japanese; hence, we would highly recommend attending a staging or two of Japan’s traditional arts during your stay, with Kabuki not being the least of them.
Address: Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
The headquarters of Wako, the spun-off retail wing of luxury watch and accessories giant Seiko, the ‘Ginza Wako’ building, as it is affectionately called, is a cultural and historical icon. Worth a rumored almost 100 billion USD in the frenzy days of the ‘Japanese Miracle’, the luxury retailer is still frequented by the famous and affluent for a variety of commercial uses, and also often hosts a diverse array of events at its 6th floor art gallery ‘Wako Hall’. Of course, being at the heart of Ginza’s iconic 4-chome crossing, thousands of visitors choose to meet, greet, and be merry on the Wako’s premises as well, and as an 86-year old timepiece overlooking Ginza’s glorious days, the building is currently a Heritage of Modern Industrialization, as designated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
Address: 4-5-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
The Mitsukoshi Department Store, one of the last remaining domestic luxury full-range retail giants, is a postwar icon symbolizing the consumerization of Japan’s modern economy. A hallmark of the Ginza strip sitting right across fellow icon ‘Wako’, Mitsukoshi is a much-loved shopping destination dating several centuries in enterprise history, and its modern day rendition in the heart of Ginza boasts a total 16 floors of high-end restaurants, 200+ fashion boutiques, and the largest cosmetics retail floor space in the area. The complex also has multiple rest stops for those tired from the stresses of shopping and walking, with a variety of neat cafes and a 9th floor ‘Ginza Terrace’ overlooking the street to complete the perfect elegant afternoon.
Address: 4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Designed by the decorated architect Kisho Kurokawa and built in 1972 as the world’s first capsule-style apartment-housing complex, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is renown as both an emblem of Kurokawa’s early works, and a symbol of the postwar ‘Metabolism’ architectural movement spearheaded by him and his peers. The ‘capsules’, round-window bestowed rectangular blocks, are each tiny and minimalistic yet functional living quarters; the tower’s concept allows for the addition and subtraction of these capsules in tandem with the population’s organic movements, a revolutionary architectural idea. Hence, despite the inconvenience and growing concerns over durability, the tower itself is a much-loved cultural icon, with many owners using it as office or second home. Until recently, the joys of living in these quarters were known only to owners; however, with the advent of Airbnb, it has become increasingly popular as a short-term destination for fans and visitors, especially since its demolishing has been decided for a date not too far away.
Address: 8-16-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Taxi drivers are increasingly capable regarding English, so it may be worth an attempt.
・As long as you know your destination address, the taxi's on-board navigation will do the rest.
Train System Pointers
・Japan's Railways run almost perfectly on-time, so calculating transit times is easy.
・Signs and announcements are multilingual; when in doubt, just listen or see.
・Tokyo's subway system can be difficult to navigate; if lost, officials at the ticket gates are willing to help.
・Japan is a safe country; traveling with small children and strollers will be perfectly fine.
1.Ginza, despite its location in the heart of the city, has a surprising many parks and offers beautiful scenery during cherry-blossom season (Tsukijigawa-Unemebashi Park, Kyobashi Park, Ginza Sakura Avenue, GINZA SIX, etc.）.
2.‘Ginza’ has a decidedly fitting meaning of ‘bustling place’.
3.The origins of ‘Ginza’ lie in the Edo-period mint of silver coins; in 1612, the office in charge of minting silver, originally located in current-day Shizuoka, was moved to its modern-day area in the new capital of Edo (Tokyo).
4.There are studies stating that during the Edo-period (17-19C), the area that is current day Ginza was a peninsula protruding into Tokyo Bay.
5.There are hundreds of locations with the ‘Ginza’ name throughout Japan, but the ‘Ginza’ in Tokyo is the original.
6.The first authentic Indian cuisine restaurant, run by an Indian native, opened its doors in Ginza in 1949.
7.The ‘gunkan-maki’ style of sushi, where the topping is held in place on top of the rice not due to the chef pressing the two together but with a wall of nori seaweed, commonly seen with pieces of ‘ikura (salmon roe)’ or ‘uni (sea urchin)’, was first invented in Ginza.
We will send you information on must-go restaurants in Japan that are not introduced in guide books.