POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Fri 2011/12/16 09:41 JST in Places to visit in Japan

Located in the Chuo ward in Tokyo, Ginza is where one would go to find department stores, fashion boutiques, restaurants and brand names such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. On a Sunday or national holiday, the main wide street that runs through Ginza is pedestrianized until the evening enabling folks to have a nice stroll while shopping n eating.

This is Chuo-dori - the main street that runs through Ginza (located here in Google maps).
There is something about Ginza that has a distinctively different feel than other shopping districts like Shinjuku for example. Could be the tall buildings or the "snazzy" feel of things in the air?

Here looking for some parking with the aid of our car navigation. We got that navi quite a few years ago and am not sure how to update the map data - we discovered the hard way that the one way arrows were out of date ^^;
Here you can see the car arrow on top of a building - it gets confused when there are too many tall structures in the immediate vicinity.

If you are looking to get some car navigation in Japan, I recommend smaller units that you can take out of the car with you. After parking your car, you would then be able to use the same unit to get you to your destination.

Parking on the roads in Tokyo are a pain in the left buttock. In most places you can park for only an hour - in this case its 300 yen. If you park for more than an hour, the side of the parking meters start to glow red making it easy for a traffic warden to spot from afar.

If you want to park for longer in the same spot, you need to move the car and re-park it. We discovered that there is some sort of infra red beam that hits the car when its parked. Unless the beam is broken, it thinks you are still parked. If you are lucky enough not to have anybody behind, you can just move the car back a bit to break the beam and then move back forward. Wondering if a deflecting mirror would do the trick instead? ^^;

The meters don't let you put in money to cover a few hours either. I'm presuming that they do this so that everybody gets some parking time.

At this time of year, Ginza is decorated with Christmas illuminations adding to the ton of neon signs.

Also done a short live broadcast from the iPhone which you read about in the Tokyo Cam photo article.

The buildings in Chuo dori are very tall and many of them are very narrow. Its interesting to watch how they manage to demolish and build new buildings in such narrow spaces.

Stormtrooper x Evangelion.

The main intersection at Ginza.

Depend on what you want to do but if you are shopping and eating then you would probably use up 3 - 4 hours here. The Apple store is also located in Chuo dori - and better still - the Volks store is located just opposite Apple so you can also pick up a Dollfie daughter too.

The bustling intersection reminds me of how I recorded sounds of the Shibuya crossing many moons ago when I came to Japan as a visitor. I would listen to those recordings in my room back in London. When I closed my eyes, I was teleported back to Shibuya thought the sounds.
When I opened my eyes, I was back in London which reminded me that I needed to continue to study Japanese hard or I'll be stuck in London forever listening to those recordings.

For folks who want to live and work in Japan - when you are over here next, record something through your own eyes so that you can relive it when you are back home - the chemical reaction caused by this will help keep you focused on your destination and push you to get the things done needed to get you here.
The chemical reaction thing is obviously just a theory of mine but it worked for me ^^;

Department store Mitsukoshi. Most of the department stores have the basement floor filled with food stuffs, clothes and wot not on the middle floors and restaurants at the top.

You can get to Ginza by getting off at Ginza station and also Yurakucho station on the JR line - its very close.

Shiny people, shiny balls.

Ginza also has a load of coffee houses too where you can take a break from shopping and walking.

Ginza has a load of chocolate and sweet stores - the popular ones would have a constant queue of folks outside.

Forgot the name of this little elephant - is the mascot for a pharmaceutical company and can be seen with his female elephant friend - both of them often wearing clothes.

The rows of warm drinks in vending machines increase in the Winter seasons where you can pick up some hot Japanese green tea or piping hot lemon tea amongst others.

Ginza is a lovely place to take photos of at night. More photos of Ginza taken with the Canon and wide angle lens in the Ginza Xmas photo article.

And then there are above ground parking lots like this one - 500 yen for 20 mins! @.@ Whats the most expensive parking rates (and where) you have in your neck of the woods?

At first I thought this was a clump of some sort of meat...

But turned out to be some sort of sponge cake. 2835 yen for this box.

Saw folks like this in the UK too - playing seasons tunes for the folks who served in the war. In the UK they gave out poppys for those who donated.

Was looking for some Singaporean food and then remembered a place called Rasa located opposite the CitiBank. Was also close to our parking spot.
Bet this Penang set (3675 yen) costs 10 times more what it costs in Malaysia ^^;

Wanted to try something different but ended up ordering something that tasted like soap ^^;

This is our second time at Rasa. In early evening the place is pretty empty but packed by 8PM.

This was the best meal of the evening - Rojak I beleive?

The satay tasted good - 800 yen for this.

Ended up ordering too much - curry fish head. Takes a while to prepare so if you are in a rush then you may want to go for something else.

After dindins walk.

Secret between you and me (don't tell anybody I told you) - but I think I may have already mentioned it ^^;
If you fancy a nice view from above, as you walk along a street, keep an eye out for staircases which go up the side of a building. Many of the stair cases are situated where the balcony is so if you just go up the stairs, you can normally get a good view.

The stairs let pretty much anybody in - because they have to let everybody out in the case of an emergency.

My fave shot of the evening taken on the GF1 pancake lens. Its really nice up here!

If anybody does approach you and ask what you are doing up there (very unlikely), just say that you are waiting for Suzuki-san from Kani Doraku.

If you become knackered from all the walking up n down, this young chap will take you up n down Chou Dori for free - take in the sights while you relax.

Time to head back home. Folks can get to Ginza using the map below.