Japan is known for its spectacular subway systems, a lot of which can be accredited to the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. Famous for being the oldest subway line in Asia and its yellow-orange symbol colour, the Ginza line stretches from Shibuya station to Asakusa station for a total of 19 stops. With a starting fare of 170 JPY (1.53 USD), being able to guide your way around the Ginza line is crucial to getting around Tokyo. Here are 7 destinations, introduced from west to east, that any visitor to Tokyo can’t miss when traveling on the Ginza line.
Shopping at Omotesando Hills (Omotesando Station)
The Tokyo Metro Ginza Line begins at Shibuya, and just one stop away from Shibuya is Omotesando station, considered one of the largest fashion hubs in central Tokyo. The crown jewel on the Omotesando shopping street is Omotesando Hills, a shopping complex adored by locals and visitors alike. Omotesando Hills not only houses top-of-the-line fashion boutiques, but also features restaurants and beauty services. The building is also decorated for special holidays, including Christmas.
Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Price: varies by shop
Opening Hours: Shops: 11am-9pm (Mon-Sat), 11am-8pm (Sun). Restaurants: 11am-11:30pm (Mon-Sat), 11am-10:30pm (Sun). Cafes: 11am-10:30pm (Mon-Sat), 11am-9:30pm (Sun).
Access: 2-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Omotesando Station (Exit A2)
Contact: +81 3-3497-0310
Stroll down Ginkgo Road (Gaienmae Station)
Almost directly out of Gaienmae station is the breathtaking Ginkgo Road. Located in a quieter area of central Tokyo right next to Jingu baseball stadium, the 300 metre-long Ginkgo Road is known for its ginkgo trees that turn an astonishing yellow in the autumn. The road connects Meiji Jingu Gaienmae with Aoyama doori, and is a peaceful breather from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya and Minato-ku. Be sure to make time to take a walk down Ginkgo Road on your next autumn trip to Tokyo.
Wine and dine at Andaz Tokyo (Toranomon Station)
As one of the newer stops on the Ginza line, Toranomon station may not be a familiar name to many travellers, but it should be. It is home to the Toranomon Hills Mori Tower, which houses the luxurious Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, apart of the Hyatt hotel family. For visitors who don’t mind spending an extra dollar or two, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills has a variety of restaurants and bars, including a stunning rooftop bar which overlooks Tokyo’s Minato-ku and Tokyo Tower. With comfortable couch seating and delicious cocktails, Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills promises celebrity treatment for all guests.
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills Rooftop Bar
Address: 1-23-4, Toranomon, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Price: from 1200 JPY
Opening Hours: 5pm-12am (Sun-Thu), 5pm-1am (Fri-Sat)
Access: 5 min walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Toranomon Station (Exit 1)
Contact: +81 3-6830-7739 (Reservations 9am-9pm)
Prefecture-hop at prefecture antenna shops (Nihonbashi/Mitsukoshimae Station)
You don’t need to leave Tokyo to get a taste of everything that Japan’s other prefectures have to offer! Concentrated mainly in the Nihonbashi area, near Tokyo Ginza Nihonbashi and Mitsukoshimae station, are a variety of prefecture antenna shops. These shops allow visitors to Tokyo to experience other prefectures’ goods and delicacies without having to step foot out of Tokyo.
Prefectures with antenna shops in Nihonbashi include and are not limited to Toyama, Nara and Shimane prefecture. Featured in the picture above is Mie prefecture’s “Mie Terrace.” Mie prefecture is home to Shinto Ise Grand Shrine, where the 2016 G7 summit was held. Mie Terrace is accessible directly from either Nihonbashi or Mitsukoshimae station, and features the best of what the prefecture has to offer.
Address: YUITO Annex 1-2F, 2-4-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Shop/2F Event Space: 10am-8pm. Restaurant: 11am-11pm.
Access: 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Mitsukoshimae station (Exit A9)
Contact: Shop: +81 3-5542-1033
Book Road (Kanda Station)
Kanda is known for its secondhand instrument stores and sports equipment stores, but nothing quite takes the cake like Jimbocho’s Book Road. Located at the crossing point between Yasukuni street and Hakusan street, it is said that Book Road is home to over 180 individual secondhand bookstores. Each bookstore has its own flavour and every book genre imaginable.
If you are having a hard time deciding which secondhand bookstore is the perfect match for you, head over to the Jimbocho Book and Town Information Office. Although services are only offered in Japanese, the friendly staff will help you find great books and cafes, as well as give you pointers to navigating the area.
Jimbocho Book and Town Information Office
Address: 1-7-7 Jimbocho, Kanda Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:30am - 6pm. Closed on public holidays and Sundays.
Access: 16-minute walk, 4-minute taxi ride from Tokyo Ginza Kanda Station
Kappabashi Kitchen Town (Tawaramachi Station)
Just one stop before Asakusa station on the Ginza line is Tawaramachi station, home to the quaint Kappabashi Kitchen Town. Kappabashi received 15 minutes of fame for its fake food, often used in displays at restaurants and cafes. However, Kappabashi Kitchen Town offers more than just that. Just a short walk away from Tawaramachi station, you can purchase anything from tableware to condiments. If you are a bit wary of spending the extra buck at a tourist trap like Asakusa, get off one stop early and get some shopping done in the side streets of Kappabashi Kitchen Town.
Hanayashiki (Asakusa Station)
The final stop on the Tokyo Metro Ginza line is Asakusa station. Asakusa is well-known among almost all tourists for Buddhist temple Sensoji and the bustling marketplace that lead up to it. However, what most people are not aware of is Hanayashiki, a former flower garden transformed into a theme park just a short walk away.
The park is famous for being the “oldest amusement park in Japan,” opening in 1853 after the arrival of Commodore Perry and the end of the Edo era. Hanayashiki is really a hidden gem - it is rarely crowded, offers beautiful views of Skytree and rides cheaper than Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios. It also offers “ninja training” challenges and kimono and tea ceremony experiences. Hanayashiki is overall a great place to take a break from the crowds and immerse yourself in nostalgic Japanese culture.
Address: 2-28-1 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Price: 1,000 JPY (28 USD) general admission + 2,300 JPY (65 USD) for free ride pass
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm (hours vary seasonally and with weather)
Duration: around 2 hours required.
Access: 5-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Asakusa station
Contact: +81 -3842-8780
Tokyo Ginza Line: Oldest subway line with great history
As the oldest subway line in Asia, the Tokyo Metro Ginza line is not simply a transportation route, but home to the best of the traditional and modern in Tokyo. Whether you enjoy shopping in Omotesando or picking up a good book in Kanda, look across Tokyo at Toranomon or shop for trinkets at Tawaramachi, there is a destination for everyone and every occasion along the Ginza line.
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