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This stunning building was designed by Renzo Piano, a delightfully named Italian architect. The building required 13,000 glass bricks; the finished product is two towers, where silhouettes of shoppers and products can be seen through the blurred glass. Many Japanese people flock here for their famed scarves or the latest It-handbag. Inside the buildings, there is also a cafe and the Forum, an art exhibition area.
Tucked away in a small corner, the Ginza Kazuya is a small haven serving heavenly artisanal sweets.The chef-owner here is a one-man machine - he does everything on his own, from purchase the ingredients needed to make his 'Kazuya no ren' (the base of all his sweet products) to greeting and serving his customers. He fills his sweets with a variety of local ingredients; Ginza Kazuya confections are very popular with locals and the initiated so call in advance to reserve sweets as production is limited. The shop might be a little difficult to find but in the end it is all worth the effort.
In Tokyo, a city that launched a thousand thoughtfully designed luxury stores, you could be assured that Armani was not to be outdone. The Armani Ginza Tower, home of the Armani / Ristorante, the stunning Armani / Spa along with a complete collection of Armani clothing, is both a retail and architectural triumph. The building itself is particularly dazzling at nighttime, festooned with lights and with structural supports that mimic bamboo stalks.
Kyukyodo has a long illustrious history - it opened in Kyoto in 1663 and had the privilege of supplying incense to the Imperial Palace. The store then moved to Tokyo in 1880 and has been operating ever since. The Ginza branch is famous for several reasons - many origami enthusiasts will come here first, to find high quality paper, hitofudegaki drawings, and gorgeous boxes, cards and postcards made from washi paper. Kyukyodo still sells incense and, most notably, the store is situated on what is verifiably the most expensive plot of land in Japan. Look out for the distinctive brick archway.
The Auguste Mariage et Compagnie Tea Company, established in the seventeenth century, was a high-end tea supplier for the Parisian upper-class. The company has retained its impeccable name and reputation and the city of Tokyo positively drinks it up; Mariage Freres has four teahouses in the city alone. Go to the elegant Ginza branch and try one of their hundreds of types of tea - if you're feeling the call of your sweet tooth, try one of their delectable desserts in the upstairs tearoom.
At this store you will find one of the most varied selection of shoes in Tokyo. Washington sells footwear for men, women and children in both casual and formal designs. The styles have a smart and young look about them. There are some Japanese designs, but most items are high-quality imports that are available in small and large sizes. The store is very popular with foreigners because of the availability of suitable sizes. In addition, the helpful staff speaks a little English.