An Afternoon in Ginza and Yurakucho

What started out as a simple lunch outing in Ikebukuro this past Saturday ended up being an entire day spent in Ginza/Yurakucho. For lunch, we started by going to Cafe Add+Ress at Ikebukuro’s Parco, which is something we end up doing most weekends now (their lunch plates are usually quite good). From there, we wanted to get out of Ikebukuro, and I suggested we head out to Ginza, since I hadn’t been there in a while.

As we arrived in Ginza, we started by taking the exit that leads through Matsuya, and made our way to the 7th floor to check out the Design Gallery. Unfortunately, the gallery space was being used for a zakka sale, so instead we just went through the Design Collection retail space for a bit. One of the reason’s we’d decided to come to Ginza was so that my wife could visit the Shanghai Tang store, which she hadn’t yet done (I’d been there a while back). If you have a thing for chinoiserie, you’ll probably enjoy taking a look, although expect to pay a pretty dollar. I like visiting the store because it always reminds me of my trips to Hong Kong, and I like the old Chinese music they usually play inside the store.

I then wanted to see this month’s exhibition at the Ginza Graphic Gallery, which is the Tokyo Art Directors Club show, so we headed there. I took in the show, which is quite nice, while my wife spent some time at the makeup counters of the Barneys New York store just across the street from the gallery. We then headed in the direction of Muji Yurakucho, stopping at the Okinawa store on the way there. At Muji, for the first time, we took an extended tour of the Muji+Infill “Ki no Ie,” taking in the space, and imagining what kind of home we could make of it. After some more browsing inside the store, we wanted to get a drink at Meal Muji, but the queue was a bit too long for us, so we headed out and roamed the streets a bit. Unfortunately, I don’t really know any good cafes in Ginza (I always just go to Meal Muji when I’m in the area), so we ended up going to a Starbucks in the area behind Matsuya. Although I’m not a big fan of the chain, the second-floor plush chairs were comfy, the greenery just outside the windows was relaxing, and it gave me the chance to leaf through the latest issue of SOTOKOTO, which they had in their magazine rack.

I’d been thinking of changing my glasses for a while now, since I’d had my current pair for at least 5 years, and decided that a pair of Muji frames would be just right — they’re a pretty good deal, at 10 000 yen, including lenses. We called Muji to make sure that we could get them done before the store closed, and then headed back and got a pair. Since we would have to wait about an hour, and we were getting hungry, we decided to go back out and get plates of hayashi beef omrice at one of the Ginza Lion branches in the area. A bit later we were back at Muji for my new glasses. We stopped by the Bic Camera store on the first floor, where I spotted an original — and playable — Space Invaders arcade cabinet. Nice!