We are spending a few days in Tokyo and are excited to experience the largest metropolitan area in the world. 2015 estimates put the total number of people at 38 million. Let me repeat, 38 million people! That is the entire population of Serbia six times over! They are spread out over a large area, but still has a population density twice that of Bangladesh at 2,642 people / square kilometer.
Our apartment is in Nishi (west) Asakusa which is on the northeastern fringe of city center. We arrived last night and took a 13-minute train ride to the famous Ginza area of Tokyo. I read a lot about Ginza in my Visualizing Japan course from Harvard X. It first developed during the Meiji restoration and was a symbol of cosmopolitanism that the government wanted to promote after centuries of isolation. The Shiseido company used Ginza as a central part of its successful marketing campaign in the interwar period. It was not popular with foreigners, as they wanted to see the more “authentic” Japan and the older neighborhoods. Most of the European architecture buildings were destroyed in World War II, but the famous Wako department store building survived. I am reading a lot about World War II lately and can’t imagine that the building was once the American GI RX. It has come a long way since then. The Wako building can be seen in the lead photo on the left.
The Chanel store in Ginza.
Ginza reminds me of Manhattan with its glitzy window displays and lights. The architecture in Japan is more cutting edge than New York in my opinion and it is a delight for those interested in building design. It is also similar to the Shinsaibashi area on the Midosuji road in downtown Osaka. After a year and half in country, the train lines were not as daunting as before and with my Tokyo train app and our ICOCA cards that work around the country, it was quite easy to get around.
Louis Vitton window display – Ginza
We found an excellent Mexican restaurant underneath a raised freeway. The Zest Cantina was located with several other restaurants in an underground tunnel of sorts. The homemade guava lemonade and guacamole were absolutely delicious! I recommend the hamburgers as well.
A typical Kralovec family photo – the boys wrestling and the girls posing!