The robot hotel that we stayed at was located in the Ginza area, so that’s usually the subway station that we use on a daily basis. This was probably the first time out of all our Tokyo trips that we were so close to Ginza, so we ended up spending a lot of time there and found that there are some great places to eat and shop in Ginza!
Our favorite find on this trip was probably Hibiya Kanikosen, a crab restaurant where you will find the most delicious preparations for this delicacy. In the past, we have always dined at Kani Doraku, that famous tourist-filled crab restaurant with the giant crab on its storefront. This time, we decided to try something new, and Alan saw a tv show on Hibiya Kanikosen and made a reservation for us to have lunch there. I’m so glad he did because it turned out to be the very best meal we had on the trip!
We had crab prepared in so many different ways, but my favorite was the crab sashimi because it was so fresh!
Tip: Dining there for lunch instead of dinner will be much cheaper, as with most restaurants in Japan. Also, be sure to make a reservation!
Here are some other great finds for us in the Ginza area:
On weekends, central Chuo Dori street in Ginza gets closed down and becomes a pedestrian street, which is really nice!
Shopping is what Ginza is known for, with mostly high end shops and luxury malls. Our favorites though, are the big Sanrio store and the famous Japanese stationary store Itoya. With 12 floors of stationary and gift items to peruse through, stationary lovers like us can easily spend an entire afternoon there! I think Bridge and I spent an hour just on the washi tape section, haha.
Other good finds in Ginza:
Nissan Crossing– Nissan showroom with a lot of futuristic looking cars.
Ginza Six– large shopping mall with lots of luxury goods, but our favorite floor was the one with all the restaurants!
A Happy Pancake— fluffy Japanese pancake is all the rage these days, and we had to try it for ourselves to see what it’s all about. We chose this place from its reviews online and went there for a late breakfast, but had to wait for about 30 minutes in an extremely confined space. The pancakes were indeed incredibly fluffy and tasty, but a little too sweet. It was like eating a birthday cake for breakfast!
Bridgette decided that she wanted to get a haircut while in Tokyo. We randomly went into a few salons that we came across, but got turned away as foreigners. I don’t think the rejections were ill-intended. I think the Japanese take a lot of pride in what they do, and they don’t want to produce bad results on someone’s hair because of a communication issue. We finally found one in Ginza that accepted us as a customer, even though they really didn’t speak much English either. With Bridgette’s elementary Japanese skills and her stylist’s limited English, along with universal hand signals and pictures, Bridgette had a great experience at the salon and walked out with a really cute haircut! Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the salon to share here, but if you happen to recognize it and know the name, please let me know!
Another favorite area of ours in Tokyo is Tsukiji, the famous fish market. The actual market with the wholesaling of fishes in the morning has moved since early October 2018, but much of the touristy area with the shops and restaurants remained at the old location. We love walking around the shops selling local items and indulging in all the fresh seafood there.
Last, but not least, Shinjuku is always a must-go for us whenever we are in Tokyo. Shopping and eateries aside, Bridgette loves the multi-level arcade there where she and Alan spent literally hours on those claw machines!
Tip: The staff at those arcades are generally very helpful. If you ask them for help at the claw machines, they will open it up and rearrange the prizes in a way that makes it easier for you to claw successfully!
One final recommendation before I end this post…the vending machines in Japan are known to be absolutely amazing, and one of our favorite things is the corn soup from the vending machines! Particularly on cold days, these piping hot cans of corn soup can warm your hands and your belly!