Things to Do in Ginza: Fun & Culture In the Famous Tokyo Shopping District

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While known mostly as an old-school shopping area, there are lots of fun things to do in Ginza without pulling out your wallet. Here are our tips for getting the most out of a visit to Ginza with kids (or without).

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THINGS TO DO IN GINZA WITH KIDS

Things to Do in Ginza with Kids (or Without)

Ginza is one of Tokyo’s swankiest districts, probably best known for glittering shopping centers and luxury goods retailers, but I am here to tell you that the broad avenues are more than just a parade of posh shops. There are plenty of things to do in Ginza with kids, as well, and art, toys, and food can also play a role in your day here.

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Walking: What to Do in Ginza

Things to do in Ginza with Kids: Japan Family Travel

That’s right: one of our favorite things to do in Ginza is simply to walk around, do a little people-watching, a little window shopping…maybe a little real shopping too.

Best Time for Walking in Ginza

On Saturday, Sunday and holiday afternoons, Ginza’s main drag is closed to traffic from noon to 6:00 pm (12:00-18:00 for April-Sep, and until 5 pm for Oct-Mar). The result is one large pedestrian area. You’ll see lots of families here during this time — many with their bikes or scooters. This is one of the main things to do in Ginza with kids. It’s also what to do in Ginza on a weekend if you want to embrace the crowds.

Book Tours to explore Ginza

Tokyo: Ginza Architecture Tour

Explore Ginza with a Local Guide

Shopping in Ginza: What to Do in Ginza

For decades, the name Ginza has been synonymous with shopping and glamour. Areas like Harajuku and Omotesando have risen to prominence over the years, but Ginza remains a vital linchpin to Tokyo commerce and fashion. Department stores like Mitsukoshi, Matsuya, and Wako dominate the scene here, as do flagship stores for various luxury brands like Bvlgari and Hermes. Shopping is what to do in Ginza, and there are loads of shopping gems worth exploring. Here are just a few we recommend.

Ito-ya

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When thinking of things to do in Ginza, maybe shopping for paper isn’t one of them. Yes, this is a stationery shop, but Ito-ya is probably like no other stationary shop you’ve ever been to. The fact that they dedicate 12 floors to pens, pencils, and paper is staggering on its own, but what I like best are the additional creative opportunities the Ginza branch provides for you and your brood.

For example, you can design and build your own notebook, and on a different floor you can buy unique postcards, sit at a nearby table to write someone, and then mail the postcard right away from within the store. Then you can tell the kids what “snail mail” means, and how messages were delivered back in the stone age when you were a child.

  • Ito-ya’s 12th-floor restaurant is worth checking out, too. They grow a lot of their own vegetables, which you can see on site.
  • Itoya floor guide in English here.

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Hakuhinkan Toy Park

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This is my favorite toy store in Tokyo. I’ve been there many times with my kids, as well as my friends’ kids and my nieces and nephews. With all its merchandise squeezed into five small and cramped floors, there is plenty to see and touch. Hands-on toy demos — including an RC race track — are on the upper floors.

If you keep walking south you’ll reach the Shimbashi/Shiodome area. You’ll see the monorail that leads to Odaiba over the road.

Ginza Department Stores

There are lots of department stores in the Ginza area, but these three are my top recommendations. Sure, you can go window shopping or actually pull out the plastic here, but my main reason for bringing you here is for what lies in the basement here. The Ginza Six shopping/lifestyle complex is now Ginza’s newest and largest addition. Visit the Tsutaya Bookstore on the 6th floor.

  • Mitsukoshi department store
  • Matsuya department store
  • Ginza Six Department Store

B1 & B2 Food Sections

B1 Things to do in Ginza with kids What to Do in Ginza.jpg

Most big department stores in Japan have restaurants on the top floors, with the basement floors dedicated to high-end groceries and pre-made foods. Head to B1 and B2 and discover some of the most beautifully displayed cuisine you’ll ever come across. Cuts of meat are laid out like floral arrangements. Desserts sit in glass cases like jewelry.

If you’re hungry, these are great places to pick up an excellent boxed lunch for much less than many of the restaurants nearby. Not hungry yet? You will be. Stay on the lookout for free samples, including chocolate. This is one of Keiko’s favorite things to do in Ginza with kids…or without them.

These department stores have restaurant floors on the upper level if you want to check them out. Ginza Mitsukoshi even has an open garden on the 9th floor where you can bring your lunch box and sit down to eat away from the busy Ginza streets. If you prefer eating at one of the 9th-floor restaurants, we recommend Minoru Shokudo.

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Eating: One of the BEST Things to do in Ginza!

food! Things to do in Ginza with kids What to Do in Ginza

For some, shopping in Ginza is the things to do. For me, however, eating top food is what to do in Ginza. That’s right: some of the best food in Japan can be found right here in Ginza. There are a lot of Michelin stars in the neighborhood, as well as great yakitori and other street food nearby streets.

Book the Best Ginza Restaurants

Make a Reservation for Sushi

Reservation for Sushi Ginza Kyubey Restaurant in Tokyo

Reserve Ginza Iwa Michelin 1-star Sushi Restaurant in Tokyo

Make a Reservation for Wagyu BBQ

Sagaya Ginza – Deluxe Wagyu BBQ

Ginza Enzo – Deluxe Wagyu BBQ

Make a Reservation for Kaiseki

Ginza Ibuki – Michelin Starred Kaiseki

Sottaku in Ginza – Michelin-starred Kaiseki Chain

Reserve Ginza Kojyu Michelin 2-star Kaiseki Restaurant Tokyo

Make a Reservation for Sukiyaki or Tempura

Shabu Zen – Japanese Hotpot and Sukiyaki

Reserve Tempura Kondo Michelin 2-star Restaurant in Tokyo

Food Tours

Ginza has both swanky, high-end places as well as cheerful local places filled with office workers after dark. Try some of the different walking Ginza tours that explore what to eat and drink.

Walking Food Tour in Yurakucho, Shimbashi and Ginza

Adventurous Japanese Food Tour

Yurakucho, Ginza & Shinbashi Food Tour

Cooking & Tea Classes in Ginza

Learn Healthy Cooking from a Japanese Mother near Ginza

Enjoy an Elegant Tea Ceremony Experience in Ginza

Art Galleries: My Favorite Thing to Do in Ginza

This is my all-time favorite thing to do in Ginza with kids or on my own: check out a few galleries. My daughter and I used to visit a few on the weekends, but then there were even more that I’d visit on my own that I knew wouldn’t interest her. If you’re in the area and looking for what to do in Ginza, here are a few recommended art galleries.

Maison Hermes Gallery

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There are hundreds of galleries in the Ginza area, so there is always artsy things to do in Ginza with children, but I’m only listing our favorites here. Maison Hermes would be our top pick.

This contemporary art gallery is in a beautiful loft-like space on the upper floors of Hermes Japan’s flagship store in Ginza. To get there, you need to walk through the store (and it’s narrow — those with strollers, take heed), and in the back, there’s an elevator that takes you up to the entrance.

The exhibitions here are frequently stimulating for both kids and adults (think bright and sparkly, or incorporating sound). Older, art-leaning kids may want to stay longer if they find the exhibit interesting. The bright, window-lit room usually has only a few pieces, which makes it easier to keep track of runners.

Ginza Graphic Gallery

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Ginza Graphic Gallery

Right off Ginza’s main drag, the Ginza Graphic Gallery is a fairly consistent repository of intriguing design-related exhibitions.

The stark shapes, bright colors and frequent use of English grab my kids’ attention long enough for me to have a nice walk around. Don’t forget to check the basement floor if it’s open.

Shiseido Gallery

Like Maison Hermes above, the Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has its own vanity gallery with interesting work that can be fun for both young and old.

The gallery is in the basement, so take the elevator down if you have a stroller. This space shows photographs, sculpture and video installations — all fairly interesting and frequently engaging for kids, too.

Kabukiza Theater

Ginza with Kids, Japan Family Travel, Tokyo Family Travel

For many Japanese people, seeing a performance at the Kabukiza is what to do in Ginza. Kids as young as seven are allowed to attend performances, but I’m recommending the building alone for anyone above primary school. Certain teens and tweens would be riveted by select plays — others would be counting the ceiling tiles. Look for info on the particular performance and consider how your kids would react. Some plays are more engaging than others.

I took Keiko and my mother-in-law to a performance here once as part of Mothers’ day gift. We all really enjoyed it, even though none of us would call ourselves fans of kabuki. I rented an ear-phone guide, which explained what was happening on stage in English. I recommend renting one, but it sometimes distracted me from the performers, so I would take it off here and there, and to be honest, you don’t need a detailed explanation of every moment.

If you think the kids are up for it, it’s possible to watch just one act (for kids 7 and older). One-act tickets for that day’s performance are available at the box office on the left of the main entrance.

Book Now:  Tour at Kabukiza Theater

Enjoy Kabuki and Japanese Traditional Culture in Ginza

Kabuki-za Gallery Guided Tour

Next Destinations: After Things to Do in Ginza

Okay, so you’ve finished what to do in Ginza and now looking for more. You’ve been shopping in Ginza, you’ve eaten amazing food, seen some kabuki and all the other things to do in Ginza. You’re ready to move on. Where next?

Hibiya Park

This park is next to the Imperial Palace and can be nice for a stroll and some open space after the bustle of Yurakucho and Ginza. This is also the location of numerous festivals and expos — from a showcase of local produce to German beer garden parties.

Omotesando

This is a newer shopping district, which also connects to Yoyogi Park and the hip Harajuku neighborhood.

Read More: Things to Do in Omotesando with Kids

Shinbashi, Shiodome & Odaiba

Just south of the Ginza shopping area is Shinbashi and Shiodome area. From here you can jump on the Yuraikamome Monorail that goes out to Odaiba. There is lots of fun things to do there, including the much talked-about TeamLab Borderless exhibit.

Read More: Things to Do in Odaiba with Kids

Asakusa

This part of Tokyo’s “old town” is most famous for Sensoji Temple, but there are many more things to do in Asakusa worth checking out.

Read More: Things to Do in Asakusa with Kids

Ryogoku

This is the neigborhood where sumo makes its home. The sumo stadium is here and it’s not uncommon to see kimono-clas rikishi (wrestlers) out and about.

Read More: Things to Do in Ryogoku with Kids

Do You Know What to Do in Ginza?

What’s missing from our post? What other things to do in Ginza should we list? Whether you’re walking in Ginza alone or in Ginza with kids, we want to help you find what you’re looking for. Did you find things to do in Ginza with kids? Did you find any romantic things to do in Ginza for couples? If you know other places, let me know in the comment below. That way I can improve the list to share with everyone.

Further Reading – Beyond What to Do in Ginza with Kids:

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a Tokyo hotel or a Ginza tour using those links. My opinions are my own. I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find what to do in Ginza with kids or without. If you know what to do in Ginza or other things to do in Ginza that aren’t on this list please let us know so we can update. Whether it’s shopping in Ginza or any other fun things to do in Ginza with kids or on your own, help us make this post better!

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