In a city that is always changing, new buildings pop up every day, sometimes seemingly overnight. But for all of the construction activity happening around Tokyo on a daily basis, properties that become true landmarks are somewhat hard to come by.
This story first appeared in the May 18, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This is why Tokyu Plaza Ginza, which opened this spring, stands out. With its enviable location, varied mix of shops, restaurants and open space, and services catering to locals as well as tourists, it has quickly become a destination in its own right.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza occupies a 0.93-acre lot of prime real estate in Tokyo’s most expensive and sought-after shopping district. Developed by Tokyu Land Corp., the angular, glass-facade structure was designed by Nikken Sekkei, a Japanese architecture firm. The exterior of the building was inspired by “Edo Kiriko,” a type of Japanese cut glass that is known as a handicraft representative of Tokyo.
It’s across the street from the famous Sony Building, with other neighbors including the flagships of Hermès, Armani and Dior. The building itself has 16 floors — five subterranean levels and 11 above-ground floors — with 13 for retail and food, and three floors for underground parking. An airy rooftop garden space offers a quiet respite from the city, as well as some magnificent views. The building’s total floor space is around 538,195 square feet.
The development is anchored on the ground and second floors by Emporio Armani, Bally, Cruciani, Hackett London, Globe-Trotter, Hunter, Kiton, and a few other shops and cafés. The third-through-fifth floors are home to fashion, lifestyle and cosmetics shops such as Margaret Howell, Thann, Andrea Mabiani, Urban Research, Sinéquanone, Birkenstock, G-Shock, Snow Peak, L.L. Bean and Nigel Cabourn.
Perhaps the most unique shops in Tokyu Plaza Ginza — and those that are likely to attract many of the international visitors that have flooded Japan over the past year-and-a-half — are on floors six through nine. Two of these levels are branded the “Find Japan Market,” a selection of curated shops that aim to provide high-quality Japanese goods. Almost an entire floor is occupied by Hands Expo, which looks like a cross between a souvenir shop and a quirky design store. It is filled with unique Japanese innovations in all product categories and price points. The other market floor houses shops such as Tabio (socks), Makanai Cosme (cosmetics) and Giraffe (neckties), all of which are uniquely Japanese brands popular with international visitors.
But what is likely to prove one of the biggest draws for tourists — more than two million came to Japan in March, according to preliminary figures compiled by the Japan National Tourism Organization — is the Lotte Duty-Free store on the eighth and ninth floors. The second airport-style duty-free store to open in Ginza over the past several months, it sells luxury brand goods, watches, sunglasses, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco and more. Shoppers must show their boarding pass in order to make a purchase, and their goods are delivered to the airport and can be picked up on departure.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza’s top two floors are dedicated to food, with restaurants representing cuisines from various regions of Japan, as well as countries including Argentina, Greece, China, Spain and Thailand. So after all their retail therapy, shoppers can refuel with a good meal and then maybe grab a coffee from the stand on the open-air rooftop and sip it in a hammock chair.