The media fanfare has almost rivalled the coverage usually reserved for royal families and heads of state, but mega-developer Mori Building and friends' Ginza Six finally opened on April 20 after much hype and teasing (and tens of billions of yen spent).
This block-spanning complex will keep even the most ardent shopaholics occupied for a day or three, while those not into shopping will be happy to hear that there's also enough food and cultural entertainment to make a visit worthwhile. Just to illustrate: we spent four hours in the building on our first visit and didn't manage to get beyond the three basement floors.
With 241 domestic and international brands represented in categories from clothes and accessories to cosmetics and art, the place is a veritable shrine to luxurious commerce – if you really want to make the most of it, best bring a high-powered credit card.
For those with cash to splash, Ginza Six has services including a One to One 'omotenashi concierge' service, a premium lounge, and personal stylists who can advise you on how to overhaul your wardrobe, but most mortals will be perfectly satisfied just by the impeccable service on display throughout the vast halls. Read on for our top picks at central Tokyo's biggest super-mall.
1. Head for Tsutaya, where books meet art
A serious rival to Daikanyama T-Site in terms of design, Tsutaya Books on the sixth floor feels bright and open thanks to the ceiling windows. In a first for Tsutaya, the shop also includes an art gallery and exhibition space.
For an introduction to traditional Japan, check out the culture corner, arranged for easy browsing and stocked with books on anything from kimono to Edo-period history. The 'subculture corner', meanwhile, carries far more than just manga – we even spotted a few swords in the display cases.
2. Enjoy a Noh performance
One of the more unlikely features at G6 (yep, they actually call it that) is the full-scale Noh theatre found on the third basement floor. The cypress wood stage has been relocated from Shibuya, where the resident Kanze troupe was formerly based.
Here, the multipurpose hall is set to host a wide variety of performances, with the opening programme seeing a group of 'living national treasures' taking the stage. Hot tip: if there are still tickets left on the door for the third performance of the day, you can pick them up for the 'Happy Hour' price of ¥3,000 (¥1,500 for students). Talk about a wallet-friendly cultural outing.
3. Immerse yourself in the art of Yayoi Kusama
It seems like Tokyo can't get enough of Yayoi Kusama, with the bewigged contemporary artist's standout exhibition on at the National Art Center, and Ginza Six is adding to the buzz by letting Kusama's pumpkins dangle from the ceiling until late February 2018.
There's even a fourth-floor pop-up store to go with the colourful installation, where everything is covered in polka dots and pumpkin motifs. Works by fellow contemporary artists Shinji Ohmaki and Misa Funai are currently being displayed in the hall – with Roppongi's Mori Art Museum pulling the strings, look out for art from other top names to take over here in the near future.
4. Combine your shopping with a restaurant pitstop
You could spend hours just window-shopping at Ginza Six – something that will inevitably render you a bit peckish. But fear not: there are plenty of food options to choose from.
Floors six and 13 are your best bets for a sit-down experience, with the former boasting a massive food court filled with Japanese hits such as sushi, Matsusaka beef sukiyaki, uni from Hokkaido and Kobe beef steaks.
Floor 13, meanwhile, is where to engage in some truly intriguing dining experiences: how about having your steak blindfolded while listening to 'taste-enhancing sounds' at Shunjukusei Ginza Grill? We haven't tried said gimmick yet, and aren't quite sure if we want to in the first place.
5. Eat your way through the depachika
Like most of Ginza Six, the basement food hall seems to be divided by nationality: you'll find clusters of Japanese-inspired eats in one section, while 'foreign foods' are presented in different clusters.
In terms of the locally inspired fare, we're fans of the luxurious matcha ice cream and baumkuchen at Tsujiri, the candied dried fruits at Aya Farm and the traditional wagashi at Suehiroan. The Japanese ingredient-infused chocolates at Kiki (a temporary pop-up) make for a great, if pricey, present.
As for the import eats, the exquisite, Ginza Six-exclusive W cheesecake danish at Viennoiserie Jean François was our favourite. For a coffee kick, head to Café Europe, which has a 100-year-plus history in Ginza, and grab a fancy bento from Yamanobori or some posh picnic sandwiches from Pâtisserie Ginza Sembikiya before heading up to the rooftop to devour everything while admiring the view.
Ginza Six truly merits a full-day outing – check out the full details for the complex here.