Words by: Annika Johansson
Tokyo is altogether grand. A stylish sensory smorgasbord full of dazzling bright lights, inspiring brands, immaculate streets and fabulous buildings. Home of Chanel and Gucci. The largest Uniqlo on the planet. Michelin-star eateries. Eclectic art galleries. Novelty night clubs. Lantern-led streets of chocolate, tobacco, kimono and rare salmon stores.
We recently spent some time in our favourite part of Tokyo - Ginza. An enigmatic neighbourhood where like so many other places, the more you look, the more you’re rewarded. Read about where we explored, how we explored, what we fell in love with. (and scroll through to watch a little film we made on our travels).
Keep some time up your sleeve for spontaneity. For it’s when you sidestep off the main promenade to explore the tiny back streets, that Ginza’s design edge comes full circle. With so many unique and adorable shops, galleries and restaurants you won’t find on Google maps or in a guide book.
You must use your feet to find them. How refreshing! Sometimes you can’t read the signage, but you trust your instincts. And end up eating the best Tonkatsu of your trip. Or you stumble across a cool cycle shop where you just want to hang one of the bicycle designs in your living room as art. Or bring back a friend immediately to show them.
Try as you might though, you may never find it again. Instead you encounter an altogether different group of backstreets, that are equally fabulous and full of delights. And so begins your discoveries, all over again.
Possibly the most stimulating stationery shop you’ll ever set foot in. At around 100 years old, it’s the granddaddy of stationery shops with 12 floors of design heaven – each floor dedicated to a different concept. It even has its own custom postage stamps and you can post your handwritten letter right there in store.
Tsutaya Bookstore (in Ginza Six).
An inspiring bookstore specialising in arty publications from every subject you can imagine and more. You can seriously lose yourself in this delightful environment for half a day. And find it tough narrowing down the few books you want to bring home. Which leads us to our third favourite little destination in Ginza.
A bookstore that only ever stocks one title at a time! A man named Yoshiyuki Morioka opened his tiny Morioka Bookstore in 2015. With the soul aim of selling books he deemed worthy of his centre stage. One title. Updated every week. A minimal space where there are no distractions. It’s all about the physical book and its contents. And you know it’s got to be great, if it’s made the cut onto Morioka’s single-book shelves.