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Tokyo’s opulent Ginza district gets new luxury complexes, open-air communal events space

Tokyo’s opulent Ginza district gets new luxury complexes, open-air communal events space

“The Ginza,” considered Tokyo’s most famous luxury shopping, dining and entertainment district, is transforming. Known for its upscale department stores, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, night clubs, hotels, high-end cafés, and the Kabukiza Theater – newly rebuilt in 2013 maintaining its baroque Japanese revivalist style – Ginza is further enhancing its leisure experience for locals and tourists alike.

On September 24, 2016, the 13-storey (including two underground) Ginza Place opened. The façade, featuring 5315 white, aluminum panels, was designed by Tokyo-based Klein Dytham Architects (designers of Daikanyama’s T-Site). Its form was inspired by the curvature of the 1932-landmarked, Neo-Renaissance style Wako department store building directly across the street. The complex features luxury shopping, fine dining, an indulgent Ceylon Ayurveda Spa, and Sony Corporation and Nissan Motor Company showrooms, at the former Sapporo Ginza Building site.

On the contemporary side, the expansive G6 lobby-atrium is an exhibition space. The opening installation, on view until late February 2018, is Yayoi Kusama’s Red & White Spotted Pumpkins. Beyond shopping and art there is, of course, over 50 food venues. Standouts include: Emit Fishbar for fresh oysters and Daruma Kiwami for kushiage (deep-fried skewered tidbits), and even a Starbucks Reserve Bar. Specifically, for international visitors, the complex features Terminal Ginza: a tour bus hub, multilingual tourist information center (9 am-9 pm), currency exchange, baggage storage, a duty-free counter, and a 24-hour convenience store.

The next opening, in Autumn 2017, will be the Asahi Ginza building, owned and operated by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Welcoming visitors above Namiki-dori, it will be a 14-storey (including two underground floors) edifice housing shops on floors one and two and the first Hyatt Centric¬¬ hotel in Asia Pacific, the Hyatt Centric Ginza, on floors three to twelve. Interior construction at the 164-guestroom hotel will continue even after the commercial spaces open, as the hotel itself, including dining bar with terrace seating, meeting space, and a fitness center, isn’t scheduled to open until early 2018. Once open, the hotel will be targeting “millennial-minded travelers who are looking for authentic local experiences in the center of the destination.” This is in line with the overall concept of the Ginza district, which “values the ginbura concept, in which shoppers can walk around the district and visit a variety of stores.”

Also in 2018, the site where the former Sony Building stood, until its closure on March 31, 2017, will be transformed into an open-air, communal space called Ginza Sony Park, accessible through 2020. Since, the number of tourists to Japan has been increasing – visitors to Japan from overseas rose 21.8 percent to 24.04 million in 2016 (according to the Japan National Tourism Organization) – and is expected to increase through the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in Summer 2020, Sony intends to showcase itself at an event venue. Here, visitors will enjoy unique Kando – emotionally compelling – experiences, delivered by both Sony and others. After the Olympics, construction will begin on a new, reborn Sony Building to be built on this same location, with an anticipated public opening in autumn 2022. Sony will decide on a final concept for the new Sony Building together with local residents, business, and visitors to the Ginza Sony Park.

Tokyo’s Ginza district is among the most expensive real estate in Japan. In this area, one square meter of land is worth over 10 million yen (nearly $90,000)! Ginza is a place to be and be seen. And now, and in the coming year, there will be more places to be and be seen – and not without expanded free public wifi; so travelers can post Ginza selfies to their hearts’ desires.