Ginza and Shimbashi


So on my day off, I decided that I was going to explore Ginza. It’s been a recommendation of my housemate for weeks so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s one of Tokyo’s top shopping districts and I was super surprised at how western it is. It’s like the Paris of Japan. So many shops and cafes I was there for literally hours!

Apparently, it was built on a swamp and it’s where silver coins were minted in 1612 but after a fire in the 1800s that pretty much wiped out the whole city, the Japanese government decided to modernize. So now it has a huge collection of shops, restaurants, and bars. The best time to go is during the weekend because the giant street that runs right through the shopping district is closed to cars.

I have been to Paris and Italy but I have never seen so many designer shops and shops without price tags on the items if you know what I mean. It’s not all retail though, just down the street a five-minute walk away is a place called Shimbashi there are lots of things to see.

The Giant Ghibli Clock

Or the Nitele Big Clock. It’s like a huge steampunk cuckoo clock. Built from over twenty-seven tonnes of copper and steel, thirty feet high and over sixty feet in width. It springs to life a few times a day. Little characters move around. blacksmiths hammering stuff, a guy spinning a wheel and cannons moving around. It took six years to complete and is thought to be inspired by the film Howl’s Moving Castle as they were both made at the same time although nothing is confirmed. It’s amazing to watch!

Ghibli clock

Caretta Shiodome winter illumination

Every year the Shiodome mall puts on a light show and time the lights with music from Disney movies. Now I’m not a crazy massive fan of Disney and haven’t been since I was ten years old but it’s pretty good. When I was there it was playing songs from the movie Beauty and the Beast.

Caretta Shiodome winter illumination


It’s no surprise that given Ginza is so big and so full of shops and attractions (and being part of Japan) you would think that there is going to be one or two “nice restaurants” well you’d be right! Anything you could think of! French, Italian, Indian, you name it Ginza has the best version of it. But For me, every time I go to that area I always eat at the same place. Freoles! It’s a burrito place just inside the main doors of the Shiodome on level one.

In Japan, there are precious few opportunities to eat like you would at home, at least not without breaking the bank and Even then there will be a Japanese twist on it but here at Freoles I can confirm that if you want an uncompromised and not so expensive Burrito, Freoles is your place. (Vegetarian options as well)


Just want to add that I’m a big fan of Christmas lights and am always super bummed they get taken down the moment Christmas is over. Well, not in Japan!

Here they aren’t “Christmas lights” they are “winter lights” so they stay up a lot longer than the rest of the world.

Japanese christmas lightsJapanese christmas lights

Japanese christmas lights


If you come to Japan I highly recommend you check out Ginza and Shimbashi.

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