Start from Exit A2 of Ginza Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line).
Out of the exit is the famous Ginza 4-Chome intersection where stand the department stores ‘Mitsukoshi’ and ‘Wako’ face-to-face. Yes! This is the Ginza!! Head toward Shinbashi, passing through the main street where many high-class department stores and famous boutiques converge. Ginza is easily accessible by metro. Station number: M16 (Marunouchi Line), H08 (Hibiya Line)
For me, personally, nothing is more interesting than the alleys in Ginza which are filled with various stores, such as old Western-style restaurants, boutiques, and chocolate stores. Strolling through the alleys is a stylish way to explore Ginza!
‘Gekkoso Painting Supply Store’, the Store I Visit Once a Month, before Going for a Drink.
Since established in 1917, ‘Gekkoso’ has been offering all products handmade. In 1971, their original oil color ‘Cobalt Violet Pink (Gekkoso Pink)’ won the first prize at the World Oil Color Competition.
As this place is located just off from the street, look for a red store sign.
I’ve been using their sketchbooks as notebooks. They are easy to use, and come with a wide range selection of colors (yellow, pink, blue and green) and paper types (blank, dot, and ruled). They won the 2008 Good Design Long Life Design Award.
‘Rock Fish’, a Bar Known for its Highball with No Ice.
Inside the bar, the lights above the counter illuminate Highball beautifully. Also, the staff’s bow ties and white uniforms are a nostalgic touch.
Here are the tips for a tasty Highball: 1. Never stir, 2. Put no ice, 3.Chill the whiskey and glass in the freezer. Well, I’ve been doing it the other way around…
The bottle on the counter is used as a donation box. Peanuts and rice crackers as ‘Otsumami’ (snack) are free, but you are supposed to pay the amount you think is right into the bottle. What a nice idea!
Secretly photograph the bartender, Mr. Maguchi. Despite his tough guy look, he is such a playful person (according to his website). Also, he seems to be the chairman of ‘Ginza Highball Association’ (which is probably his pastime.) It’s fun to see him in person at the bar after visiting his website. (http://maguchikazunari.jp/)
The bar’s name comes from his childhood memory of going fishing for ‘rockfish’. I order ‘Omuraisu (rice omlet)’. The potato salad tastes great, too.
Head to Yurakucho, Passing through the Nostalgic ‘International Arcade’.
This shopping arcade is located under a very long railroad bridge from Shinbashi to Yurakucho. It was built in 1962, aimed at attracting foreign visitors for the Tokyo Olympic Games and acquiring foreign currency. It used to be lively, but now it’s just a quiet, deserted arcade, with most of the shops shuttered. This is quite long! I guess it’s the ideal filming location for murder scenes of suspense dramas.
Hmm…Feels like I’m being drawn into the arcade!
After Tasting Ginza’s Best Highball, End the Night with Sandwiches at ‘Hokuo’.
The cafe is run by the 100-year-old company called ‘Amaguri-Taro’, well-known for its sweet roasted chestnuts. I’ll call it a night with their aromatic freshly-brewed coffee and amazing hot sandwiches.
Very hot sandwiches with salad, yogurt, and coffee. I don’t remember how much it cost, but their sandwiches are definitely a must try!