Ginza, Tokyo’s centuries old commercial center, and Soba, Tokyo’s favorite comfort food, go back ages; hence, it is only fitting that Ginza is home to some of Tokyo’s finest soba shops. From established houses loved by regulars and modern elegant outlets perfect for a date stop to quick but sublime eats apt for a post-’kabuki’ theater or ‘rakugo’ storytelling show, we have lined up below the best of our selection of popular soba restaurants in the luxurious Ginza district.
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~Bask in the Nostalgic Aroma of 100% Buckwheat Noodles~
A backstreet soba shop belying an otherwise bustling Ginza, SASUGA resides in a quiet corner 5 minutes from Higashi-Ginza Station. Here, the chef serves additive-free, ‘towari’ 100% buckwheat soba. Cut incredibly thin, the roughness of 100% buckwheat is miraculously rounded into an aromatic and delicate smoothness on the throat. SASUGA’s specialty, the ‘hiya-kake’ soba, is a bowl of cold soba noodles with broth poured over; the broth too is delicious, a specially blended and caringly simmered light soup that compels all those partaking to drink down to the last drop. SASUGA, open till late hours, is perfect for a post-show stopping-by; enjoy an evening of kabuki or rakugo, then knock on its doorstep for a further special addition to your night. Whether single or a group, the availability of counter, table, and rooms make for a great setting for any use.
・Address: 2-13-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: [Weekdays] Lunch: 11:30~14:00 Dinner: 17:30~22:00 (L.E 19:30 L.O.22:00) [Saturdays] Lunch: 11:30~14:00 Dinner: 17:30~21:00 (L.O. 20:30)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Higashi-ginza station Exit A13 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
~Hand-Made 100% Buckwheat Soba to Finish; a French-Trained Chef’s Charcoal Barbeque Delights~
On the 6th floor of a building alongside Konparu-Dori Avenue at Ginza’s 8-chome district, Sasuga Le Kura awaits; contrastinly to its elder-sister, Ginza-2-chome’s 1-star Soba SASUGA, Sasuga Le Kura entices guests with delicious charcoal barbequed grills before finishing them off with the same incredible ‘towari’ 100% buckwheat soba noodles. The chef at Le Kura, originally trained in French cuisine, utilizes his techniques to bring to life a variety of exquisite dishes from the grill, each cooked to perfection with a combination of charcoal grilling and cooking mastery. Enjoy delicate challans duck, rich fois gras, and organically farmed greens from Midori-Shop, a Tokyo-based organic vegetable grocer, barbequed to perfection over the open lively open flame. Le Kura’s specialties don’t end there; try the ‘kaki-age’ mix-tempura of tiny sakura shrimp as well as the fluffy ’sobagaki’ buckwheat dough dumplings for further unforgettable selections. Of course, there’s no forgetting Le Kura’s other pride and joy, its ‘towari’ 10% buckwheat soba. Using buckwheat floured with a made-to-order stone mill crafted by renowned stonemason Hiromichi Ishitani, the chef delicately prepares the noodles as the final course. The chef’s course, served at the counter facing a dynamic and entertaining kitchen, is full of artful small dishes that each pair beautifully with sakes and wines. Le Kura takes the lead in catering to a new era as well, providing a vegetarian option for those who call ahead; with semi-private rooms for families, a private room for up to 10 for group receptions in addition to the counter, and late hours allowing for reservations up till 10PM, Le Kura offers a wide range of sublime experience to all those hoping for an incredible Ginza evening.
・Address: 8-7-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: [Weekdays] 17:30~26:00 (Charcoal Grill： L.O.24:00 Soba： L.O.25:30) [Saturdays] 17:30~22:00 (Charcoal Grill： L.O.21:00 Soba： L.O.21:30)
・Directions: 4-minute walk from Shinbashi Station Exit A3 (Tokyo Metro Ginza 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.