To talk of Ginza is to talk of Sushi; although this classy shopping district has much more in content, it is near impossible to explain the area without its wonderful seafood selections. A special bubble even within the Tokyo metropolis, Ginza, just a few minutes walk from the famous Tsukiji fish market, is a can’t-miss location in any aficionado’s quest for exquisite sushi pieces. To make your search somewhat simpler, we at Pocket Concierge have compiled here an introduction to the 5 most-sought after masters in Ginza; hope to visit these venerable giants of the craft for occasions like cherished anniversaries, important receptions, or once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories.
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~A Heavenly 8 Seat Counter of Unparalleled Sushi in Ginza’s 8-Chome District~
Hidden away in Ginza’s 8-chome, slightly removed from the frenetic bustle a few blocks away, Satake’s tiny 8-seat counter is a heaven for sushi-lovers. Brought to life piece by piece in chef Satake’s hands, each course served is unique unto itself, as if it were its own cask of single-malt, the fruits of both nature and man blended into an entity never to recur again. The presentation heightens Satake’s pieces into true art; selected seasonal seafood and sushi-rice unite with artisan pottery from Kyoto to create a truly personal edo-style sushi experience.
・Address: 8-18-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch: 12:00~14:00 Dinner: 17:00~22:00
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Tsukiji-Shijo Station Exit A2 (Toei Oedo Line)
~Bask in the Cozy Wooden Interior and Exquisite Sushi~
7 minutes from Higashi-Ginza Station, Ginza Ichibun resides in the corner of a nondescript building in the Ginza 2-chome district. Chef Takeshi Ogawa, a favorite of gourmands, serves with a elegant and polished modesty in his constant quest to create ‘a restaurant I’d enjoy frequenting’. Bask in the beauty of his plain but warm wooden interior, and feel the fruits of nature come alive.
・Address: 2-13-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: 18:30~22:30 (L.O. 20:30)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Higashi-Ginza Station Exit A7 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Toei Asakusa Line), 5-minute walk from Shintomicho Station Exit A7 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line)
~Modern ‘Delightful’ Sushi, with the Mastery of Establishment Inheritance~
A single, unvarnished plain wood 7-seat counter; a symbol of the select few allowed seating facing this artisan master. Chef Ryusuke Yamane, a longtime anchor for the renowned sushi establishment Kyubei, only recently decided to go independent, in 2015. But ever since, thanks to his artful sushi exuding dignity, and doctrine for bringing the utmost joy to his guests in the limited time and space they share, Sushi Ryusuke’s eminence has only grown higher.
・Address: 7-3-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: 12:00~ Dinner: 17:30~23:00 (L.O.21:30)
・Directions: 6-minute walk from Shibashi/Ginza Stations (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
~Irrefutable Taste; a Young Yet Seasoned Ginza Veteran Hushes Even the Loudest of Critics~
Enter the still-fresh entrance to see the even fresher master of this bright and warm wooden hall, the stage of 33-year old chef and recent Ginza gourmands’ darling Yuichi Arai. After honing his craft at the venerable Kyubei and Sushi Sho, Arai chose to go independent at his young age, throwing himself into the fierce competition of Ginza’s fine-dining world with both inherited technique and his own ‘Arai’ style. To guests at his 7 open counter seats and private counter room, the chef presents exquisite pieces concocted with precision and style; he is selective of even the vinegar he uses for each different course, a meticulous man when it comes to caring for his guests. With a variety of sake and wines to pair as well, Arai has successfully hushed even the harshest of critics with its elegance and purely extraordinary sensory experience; no wonder it has very quickly become another ‘un-bookable’ destination.
・Address: 8-10-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Dinner: 17:00~23:00 (L.O. 22:30)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Ginza Station Exit A5 (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
~The Acclaimed Ginza Koju Presents; a High-Cost-Performance Sushi Proposition~
Ginza may be the world’s fiercest battle-ground when it comes to sushi, and in more ways than one; Japan’s finest chefs fashion pure sensual pleasure across the street from each other, and charge guests an average minimum of at least 300USD to try. One such establishment, the rumored pinnacle of Ginza Japanese Cuisine, Ginza Koju, and its owner Toru Okuda, has now set forth a different proposition; Sushi Harumi was conceived as the go-to for high-quality sushi at a more reasonable priceline. Harumi’s master, chef Keisuke Yoshiya, a veteran of 9 years at a hotel in Chiba and 3 more at an independent Sushi establishment in Tokyo, delivers with passion the promise of sublime sushi that does not break the bank.
・Address: 7-6-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: 17:30~24:00 (Last order: 22:00)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Ginza Station Exit B6 (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi 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.