Ginza Ginza’s Potential—Japan’s Proud, Reigning Shopping District Since the Meiji Period
Ginza transformed into a modern town in the early Meiji period after a fire burned down most of Ginza in 1872. The Brick District was then built with the roads constructed wider, separating driving roads from pedestrian roads, and Western-style buildings made of fireproof bricks. The buildings had balconies on the second floor, creating a revolutionary Western town.
With that, many newspaper companies moved into these buildings such as Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, the now Mainichi Shimbun as well as Yomiuri Shimbun. It was interesting how all the media companies congregated. Horse-drawn trolleys and publically operated streetcars opened during the mid-Meiji period, becoming a forerunner to the Toden trains. Cafes opened before it did anywhere else, and Ginza became the top shopping district in Japan, taking on the latest trends. It was during this time that the first clock tower was built at the intersection at Ginza 4-chome.
Although the town was devastated after the Great Kanto Earthquake, it was rebuilt with reinforced concrete buildings including department stores and banks. It gave rise to new trends such as mobo and moga (abbreviated terms for modern boys and modern girls) and became the first place to disseminate Western influences. With the second clock tower built in 1932 and long-standing department stores as well as the latest high-tech buildings and stores, it is now continuing its development as a national town where the old meets the new.
NihonbashiNihombashi—a Combination of Long-Standing Stores From the Edo Period and the Latest Commercial Facilities
It is a well-known fact that Nihombashi was the starting point of the Edo Five Routes. It is a starting point for roads in Japan even to this day, and the bridge that was built in 1911 has the kilometer zero marker for the Japan National Route on the center.It prospered during the Edo period as the top riverside town and commercial district and became a home to many banks starting in the Meiji period due to the Bank of Japan being built nearby.Nihombashi is now home to long-standing stores from the Edo period such as Mitsukoshi Nihombashi which has its roots in Mitsui Echigo-ya as well as the latest shopping malls such as Coredo Muromachi and Coredo Nihombashi, attracting crowds as a sophisticated shopping area where you can enjoy both the Edo atmosphere and the latest trends.There also are cruises departing from near the Nihombashi Bridge on which you can enjoy the Tokyo townscapes, developed on the water transportation of Nihombashi River
AsakusaAsakusa—from Playhouses into Movie Theaters and Proving Entertainment to the Middle Class
Asakusa has always been a town for the middle class since the old times. It is centered on the Senso-ji Temple, said to have been built during the rule of Empress Suiko, where the Kannon goddess is enshrined and has been prospering since before the Edo period due to water transportation via the Sumida River as well as other old highway roads.With the arrival of the Meiji era, the areas around the Senso-ji Temple were transformed into the Asakusa Park. The Rokku area on the south-west became a theater town, and the areas beyond the first movie house in Japan called Denkikan became a movie theater town, supporting the middle-class entertainment. The first observation platform with elevators in Japan, Ryounkaku, standing 12 floors high, was built in 1880. It proudly stood until it was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake. The shops set up inside the temple grounds on the approach leading up from the Kaminarimon Gates, set up during the Edo period still remain to this day, selling traditional souvenirs and Japanese sweets, busy with both domestic and international tourists.