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).

THINGS TO DO IN GINZA WITH KIDS

THINGS TO DO IN GINZA WITH KIDS

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.

Have You Read Our MEGA-Post on Tokyo for Kids?

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PLACES TO VISIT IN GINZA WITH KIDS

Things to do in Ginza with Kids: Japan Family Travel

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), creating 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 on a weekend.

Find Best Family Hotels in Tokyoin Osaka or in Kyoto

Ito-ya

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When thinking of things to do in Ginza, maybe buying 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 check out.

Itoya floor guide in English here.

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 family 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 kids (think bright and sparkly, or incorporating sound), but you’ll probably only need 20 minutes with little ones. 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.

Check Maison Hermes exhibition schedule and calendar before you go

The Basement Floors of Department Stores for Food

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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 cuisines you’ll ever come across. Cuts of meat are laid out like floral arrangements. Desserts sit in glass cases like jewelry.

FYI: You may be asked not to take pictures (I shot most of mine on the sly).

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 kids.

Ginza with Kids, Japan Family Travel, Tokyo Family Travel

Both 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.

Mistukoshi department store is located at the corner of famous Ginza crossing and can be accessed directly from subway Ginza station (exit A7). Their food section is on the 2nd basement floor (B2F).

Matsuya department store is located only one street away from Mitsukoshi and right across from Apple Ginza store. Their food section is on the 1st basement floor (B1F). 

Need luggage? Read: Best Carry-on Bags
Or Read: Best Check-in Suitcases

Hibiya Park

Ginza with Kids. Hibiya Park. Image by Yasayuki Hirata: www.flickr.com/photos/hirata_yasuyuki/

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.

Hibiya Park is located 2 min from Hibiya station. 

Kabukiza Theater

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Kids as young as seven are allowed to attend performances, but I’m recommending the building alone for children in 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.

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.

Still unsure? Read what others say about Ginza Graphic Gallery.

The Shiseido Gallery

Like Maison Hermes above, the Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has its own vanity gallery with interesting work that can be fun to see with young ones.

This one’s 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.

Hakuhinkan Toy Park

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This is my favorite toy store in Tokyo. I have been there many times with my kids, 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.

Hakuhinkan is open every day 11:00am-8:00 pm (including holidays)

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

Read our list of Things to Do in Odaiba with Kids

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CONCLUSION

Was this what you imagined Ginza with kids to be like? Did you find things to do in Ginza with kids? If you know other places, let me know in the comment below or contact me. So I can improve the list to share with everyone.

Japanese food, japanese desserts, japanese sweets, Kabukiza theater, Things to Do in Ginza: Fun & Culture In the Famous Tokyo Shopping District
Image credits: #2, #3, #8, #13

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 using those links. My opinions are my own. I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you have fun in Ginza with kids. 

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