• Ja Zh
  • Another 300 USD Giveaway (Rooms) Samurai Generations

History of Ginza

228
445651
Tue 2010/12/21 12:33 JST
5276681390_9840565a3e_o

Located in the heart of Tokyo is Ginza - a swanky modern area where a load of luxury fashion brands (Japanese and Western) can be found concentrated in and around the main Chuo Dori street. There are also a load of restaurants and coffee shops too to help shoppers recharge their depleted energy cells before continuing to shop or being dragged around shopping.
Folks who want to visit Ginza should go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon where the main street is pedestrianized for a most pleasant walk. Its just sooo peaceful. Get off at Ginza station.

The History of Ginza

A Shogun called Tokugawa Ieyasu started to build his government in Edo (Tokyo was originally called "Edo" up until 1868 where it was renamed to "Tokyo" after it became the imperial capital) in 1590. At the time, Ginza was nothing but marshland on a peninsula.
In 1612 under Tokugawa Ieyasu, a silver mint was established in the area which is where the naming "Ginza" [銀座] originates from but wasn't called Ginza until 1869.

In the 1700's when Ginza was being developed, the area was built in blocks of 120m x 120m and has kept the same grid layout through the years even after the area was burnt down in a huge fire in 1872 (Meiji 5), The Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 (Taisho 12) and the air bombings in 1945 (Showa 20).

5278569009_f2516bb30a_o

After the huge fire in 1872 (Meiji 5), the Meiji government designated Ginza as a model of modernization with brick buildings instead of wood and better connected streets. The government also wanted Ginza to be the center of Westernization.
Irish-born architect Thomas Waters was commissioned to rebuild the Ginza and is responsible for the design of the many 2 to 3 story Georgian style brick buildings. The area was known as "Renga Gai" [煉瓦街] meaning "brick town" at the time.

The photo above is taken in 1910 (Meiji 43) where horses were used to pull the trams on the tracks. Horse pulled trams came into public use in 1897 (Meiji 30).

5278569211_e2e30a04ed_o

The above photo taken in 1913 (Taisho 3). By this period, trams are now running on electricity.

5279176170_9c922a7025_o

Ginza Chuo Dori - the main street that folks who have visited may be familiar with. Snapped in 1921 (Taisho 10) - 2 years before the Great Kanto Earthquake. Trams ran in the Ginza area until 1967 (Showa 42) were their service came to an end after the increased usage of the automobile - trams ended up making traffic conditions worse.

5278569483_ddb1e2d47c_o

Photo taken right after the The Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 (Taisho 12) which pretty much destroyed the entire area. Ginza then underwent a huge reconstruction effort which was heavily financed by the government. Most of the brick buildings were also demolished.
The building under construction on the right is Matsuya and opposite is where the Apple store is right now.

5279176528_46c4aa22b0_o

Photo taken in 1930 (Showa 5). Just 7 years after the Great Kanto Earthquake.

5278569885_d2d226ac55_o

Photo taken in 1935 (Showa 10) - 13 years after the Great Kanto Earthquake.

5278570035_6145a56a0b_o

Ginza in 1940. By this time, World War II is around the corner. A ban is placed on the production and sales of luxurious goods and restrictions are also placed on lighting up neon signs and street ads. In 1944, the police closed all bars, restaurants and cafes. During this period, soldiers could be seen performing marches through the streets of Ginza.

5278570153_638d8e2eb1_o

Photo taken in 1945 (Showa 20) towards the end of the war. Tokyo was to receive a series of bombings which affected Ginza. The bombings took place on March 10, April 28th and May 25th. For a 3rd time, most of Ginza was destroyed.

5278570409_c08c024287_o

Photo taken in 1946 (Showa 21). At the end of Word War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers and was the first time in Japanese history that the island was occupied by a foreign power.

5279177242_eb85dc7359_o

Photo taken in 1955 (Showa 30) - 4 years after Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty which made Japan an independent country again.

In many of these photos you will notice the clock tower - its the Hattori Clock Tower which originally stood from 1894 to 1921. It was demolished in 1921 to rebuild a new one but reconstruction was delayed due to the Great Kanto Earthquake. The new clock tower was completed in 1932 (Showa 7).
The clock tower was built by Hattori Kintaro who was the founder of the company which was to become of of the largest watch makers in the world - Seiko.

5279177376_7902251f7a_o

Pedestrianization is known as "Hokousha Tengoku" [歩行者天国] and usually lasts for a few hours on a weekend before the cars are let loose again. In August 1970 (Showa 45), Hokosha Tengoku started in 4 locations around Tokyo which were Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Asakusa and Ginza. On the first day in Ginza (pictured above), over 230,000 people came out to enjoy the company of others for a stroll.

5278570795_a8d9fd556c_o

And this is Ginza in 2006 (Heisei 18) with the Hattori Clock Tower in the center of the photo. The land in Ginza is the most expensive in Japan with 1 square meter costing 25,000,000 yen around the Ginza 4 chome area. Not only is the land expensive, the brand shops will require giving up a few limbs too if you want to buy stuff. The restaurants and cafe prices are reasonable however.
This photo was plucked from the Ginza Xmas post where you can see more Ginza by night photos.

5276070359_5258a4d58d_o

Recently spend a Saturday afternoon in Ginza and as usual went in our trusty Mirai-mobile. We parked a walking distance from Ginza in Yurakucho.

5276070561_fb9e43b080_o

Some Chinese food for lunch.

5276682102_e6fec03e3e_o

A back alley in between Yurakucho and Ginza.

5276682204_88d0b3316d_o

Spotted an arcade filled with retro games.

5276682356_002e7bc81e_o

Bic Camera in Yurakucho - on our way over to Ginza.

5276071245_dd55d1cde9_o

Cutie Nozomi Sasaki in the new Wilcom ads.

5276071325_a620975b78_o

The Seibu department store in Ginza. This reminds me that I need to go and see Yamato.

5276682766_1b119d2aa6_o

Ginza on the other side of this bridge.

5276682852_4475e60fde_o

A load of folks lining up to buy some lottery. Historically, the lottery place in Ginza has sold a load of winning lottery tickets so the chances of becoming a millionaire are much higher if you get them from here. Approximate wait is quite a few hours though.

5276071965_290b4e3c89_o

A load of vintage Nikon cameras and lenses. A vintage Nikon commercial below ^^;

5276683332_bdd90cc070_o

The Fujiya mascot Peko gets a Christmas make over.

5276072457_44d45e71c0_o

I thought that Ginza was only pedestrianized on a Sunday so was (pleasantly) surprised to see the main Chuo Dori street closed off to traffic on a Saturday.

5276072557_6c65b71fc1_o

Ginza is like a fiery Phoenix which rose from the ashes after being burnt down to the ground 3 times.

5276684246_82b9468eaa_o

One thing that I've not noticed with other pedestrianized areas is that Ginza sticks out these umbrella tables and chairs for folks to sit and relax. While its a bit chilly in the Winter, it feels most harmonious to sit down with a cuppa hot coffee while watching folks stroll back n forth. An experience that I recommend anybody to try.

5276073223_02504eaf79_o

At the Apple store.
Dad : Whats this?
Me : The new MacBook Air
Dad : Is it better than my MacBook Air?
Me : Ummmm.

5276073481_ae7036a534_o

Japan is the land where you can leave your bags unattended and (usually) not have to worry about it going missing.

5276073935_7840037173_o

Snapped in roughly the same spot as the Great Kanto Earthquake photo.

5276074035_6b1f566be0_o

Cuppa hot Choco Mocha. Starbucks is located in one of the side streets near Matsuya.

5276685480_1bbc099344_o

Humans need a permit to perform on the streets - dogs do not.

5276074945_a09867498e_o

Many folks around the huge Christmas tree taking photos.

5276075117_f0c4b6fcf0_o

The main crossing in Ginza.

5276075203_1289919ba7_o

Bicycles are forbidden to enter the pedestrianized area but foreigners don't know that and when they come along on their bicycles, the police (who are watching the crowds from some location) would call out on a megaphone to the cyclists who don't (or pretend not to) speak Japanese.

5279177848_dd834f1ac4_o

And more Ginza by night photos in the Ginza and Ginza Xmas posts.

Tokyo · CEO Mirai Inc
http://www.dannychoo.com/profile

Director for Culture Japan. Creator of Mirai Suenaga. Member of the Japanese governments METI CIIC.
経済産業省クリエイティブ産業国際展開懇談会委員。
テレビ番組カルチャージャパンのディレクターと司会。
twitter.com/dannychoo
facebook.com/dannychoodotcom

Related

  • A Week in Tokyo 57

    Been trying to comprehend how so much has happened over the past few weeks - the sands of time are runn...

     Sun 10/08/08
    548
    353047
  • Hokkaido Food

    Spent some time in Hokkaido traveling by Hokkaido JR to relax, enjoy the sights and scoff down some goo...

     Tue 10/07/20
    348
    442501
  • Dealing with Haters Part 1

    Its a lovely evening so thought we would go walkies around the Lalaport area at Toyosu - a nice place f...

     Mon 10/05/31
    383
    456216
  • Tokyo Evacuation?

    Media around the world continues to go on about how everybody is leaving Tokyo and that its a ghost tow...

     Fri 11/03/18
    486
    733597

Comments

Create Comment Show comments
  1. Loading-pulse