- About Togoshi Ginza: the Longest Shopping Street in the Kanto Region
- Editor’s picks! 4 Delicious Shops on Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street
- Compass Coffee (Togoshi Ginza Branch)
- Japanese Sweets at Wagashi Aoyagi
- Dumplings at Otofuke Gyoza-no-Houei (Togoshi Ginza Branch)
- Crispy Croquettes at Niku no Kumono
- The Shrines Standing among Togoshi Ginza's Bustle
Japan has many shopping streets nationwide, often created by locals who wished to support the local community, and provide services to tourists. There are over 1,700 shopping streets in Tokyo alone! The topic of this article is the longest of such shopping streets in Kanto. It is also the first of its kind to be given the word “Ginza” in its name, and houses a hefty 400 shops in its 1.3 km of space.
This street is named “Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street”, and in this article, I will report to you its most recommendable stores that I found, along with some spiritual power spots hidden in the street. I have selected some long-loved staples of the street, as well as some new businesses that have opened after 2017!
About Togoshi Ginza: the Longest Shopping Street in the Kanto Region
The total length is 1.3km! Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street boasts the longest length of the Kanto region’s shopping streets
Today I report to you on Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street in Togoshi, Shinagawa ward. It is one of the most popular shopping streets in Tokyo. The street has a wide variety of 400 stores, whose services include retail, cafe, food, and baths.
One of the points I should mention is that Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street is the longest shopping street in the Kanto region! While there are many shopping streets within Japan that carry the name of “Ginza”, this was also the first to adopt that name.. It extends to a total of 1.3km, which includes many intersections and 2 stations (Togoshi Station and Togoshi Ginza Station). There are so many shops that it may be hard for first-time comers to decide which shops to visit.
History of Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street's Birth
All over Japan, there are many shopping streets with the word “Ginza” in their name. Among them, Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street was the first to take on this name. When the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Tokyo in 1923, many of the brick buildings in Ginza collapsed, and thus the owners of the buildings were troubled with how to dispose of those bricks.
Hearing of this, the shop owners of Togoshi offered to receive these bricks and used them for repairing their streets. At the time, Ginza was already the center of merchandize business in Tokyo. Because these owners had a vision that they wanted their shops to be as prosperous as Ginza, and because the bricks they received came from Ginza shops, they named their shopping street as Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street. That is how the first Ginza Shopping Street was born.
It was after Togoshi Ginza's did so, that many shopping streets all over Japan followed this trend, and named their street with “Ginza” in their titles.
Meet Gin-chan, the Mascot of Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street!
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The signage of Gin-chan
When you walk in Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street, you will bump into a yellow cat mascot. This cat is the mascot of Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street, Togoshi Ginjiro. His nickname is Gin-chan. He is a lovable character, and there is a legend that you will achieve happiness by touching the star sign on his head. You may come across him on a panel, or as a statue. When you do, why don’t you try patting his head for some good luck?
The statue of Gin-chan in front of the information Center
Editor’s picks! 4 Delicious Shops on Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street
Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street, one of the longest shopping streets of the Kanto region, consists of three separate zones that are each managed under different shopping street promotion associations. The easternmost jurisdiction is managed by the "Togoshi Ginza Shoeikai Association", the area across from there, over the Togoshi Ginza Station railroad is managed by the "Togoshi Ginza Association". The final zone beyond there is managed by the "Togoshi Ginza Ginroku Association".
They are called the Shoeikai zone, the Chuogai zone, and the Ginrokukai zone respectively, and each zone is lined with a variety of stores. Among them, I, the editor, especially focused on food-serving shops here and introduce to you some of Togoshi Ginza’s most renowned stores!
Compass Coffee (Togoshi Ginza Branch)
Getting out of Togoshi Ginza Station. I first went to the Shoeikai zone. I spotted the store located at the starting point of this eat-around tour.
Compass Coffee (Togoshi Ginza branch)
Compass Coffee's Togoshi Ginza branch is a specialty store for roasted coffee beans. The signage in front of the store says, "Today's coffee available for take-out." The modern and stylish exterior of the store draws the eyes of passersby. Allured by the pleasant aroma of roasting beans, I entered the store to be greeted by a coffee roaster and rows of cans filled with coffee beans. At the back of the store, I saw a small counter too.
They offer over 20 kinds of coffee beans every day, and you can have them roasted in your preferred darkness to take them home. You can also order coffee to go. The fresh hot coffee will be a perfect companion for your walk around the street.
A variety of coffee beans lined up in the store
Compass Coffee opened their store in this street in 2017. Other than this store, they also have a store in Kuhonbutsu, in Setagaya Ward, and a main store in Hatanodai in Shinagawa Ward. Their biggest draw is the excellent coffee beans they import from the equatorial region referred to as the “coffee belt”, known for their high-quality coffee production. If you let the staff know your favorite, such as Brazil, Cuba or Guatemala..., then the staff will select the best matching beans for you!
Select the roasting level and order!
Have the beans roasted in the store
This time, I ordered a cup of hot coffee to go. The coffee of the day was offered at three different levels of darkness, which were (in increasing order of darkness) "high roast", "city roast" and "french roast". Since I do not enjoy acidity in my coffee, I chose the French roast for its deep and bitter coffee flavor. There is a bench at the storefront, making this a perfect place for a break during your trip through the shopping street.
Today’s coffee to go (Regular size: ¥270)
Japanese Sweets at Wagashi Aoyagi
Walking from Compass Coffee for a minute, I entered into the Shoeikai zone, where I spotted a quaint-looking building. This is the long-established Japanese confectionary store, Wagashi Aoyagi, founded in 1919. A variety of Japanese confectionaries, such as Nerikiri, Yokan and Ohagi are displayed in the showcase.
The long-established store, Wagashi Aoyagi, founded in 1919
As I was looking into the showcase, the owner lady recommended one type of Nerikiri. Among all the cute-looking seasonal Nerikiri, she recommended the one named “Korokaki“. The Korokaki is a famous sweet of Togoshi, used before as religious tribute to Meiji Jingu Shrine. The skin wrapping its persimmon-like shape is so thin that the red-bean paste shows through, and is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship behind the product.
The front one is Korokaki (¥270)
The framed honorable certificate is displayed.
The high quality fresh sweets are reasonably priced at ¥270 each. I purchased 2 other Nerikiri other than Korokaki. All of them have a refined taste with just the right sweetness, and the adequate moisture of the red-bean paste makes them a perfect match with green tea. This store is no doubt a representative gem of Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street.
The lovely Japanese sweets displayed in the showcase
Dumplings at Otofuke Gyoza-no-Houei (Togoshi Ginza Branch)
After purchasing the quality fresh sweets for souvenirs, I strolled further to the Chuogai zone, passing through Togoshi Ginza Station. After a 5-minute walk from Wagashi Aoyagi, I was stopped by the delicious smell of heated gyoza in the showcase.
Otofuke Gyoza-no-Houei, Togoshi Ginza Store
The store I entered into is Otofuke Gyoza-no-Houei. Here, you can purchase a variety of gourmet foods from Hokkaido, including gyoza made in Otofuke-cho. This is their only existing branch in the Tokyo Area. This renowned store is relatively new to Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street, being founded in 2017. In addition to this location, they have stores in Sapporo City in Hokkaido, as well as in Iwate Prefecture, and Miyagi Prefecture as well.
The inside of the store
The history of how their gyoza was born is articulated
Of course, the specialty of this store is the home-made gyoza by Houei. Their home-made gyoza are made and freezed in Otofuke-cho and transported to this store in Tokyo. In this store, you can purchase the gyoza frozen, or grilled to go.
The juicy gyoza by Houei
The gyoza home-made by Houei are just so big! The gyoza is very filling with the chewy skin and abundant filling. When I bit on it, my mouth was filled with the juice from the meat and the meat melted in my mouth. It was so delicious! The filling is sufficiently seasoned, which makes this gyoza perfectly good without any kind of sauce.
They offer 4 kinds of gyoza, which are corn, shiitake mushroom, butterbur and the basic type, garlic chive. The 5 piece gyoza to-go package costs ¥500. They also offer the set of all kinds so that you can find your favorite one. I recommend this assorted set for you to decide your favorite, so that you can buy that type frozen in bulk.
Crispy Croquettes at Niku no Kumono
The final destination is Niku no Kumono, which offers warm croquettes. The store is located just 30 seconds on foot from Otofuke Gyoza-no-Houei.
The exterior of Niku no Kumono
Actually, Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street itself is so famous for its croquettes that they promote them as “Togoshi Ginza Croquettes“. Since the croquettes made by the butchers in the street are all so tasty, many people are spotted biting on their croquettes as they walk on the street. The many stores offer their original home-made croquettes, and they are all superb.
The croquettes in the showcase
Niku no Kumono’s croquettes are popular for their strong and simple meat flavor. It has been covered by many media outlets, making this also one of Togoshi Ginza’s famed businesses.
When I visited the store around 4pm, almost all the croquettes were already gone, so I chose a Oyatsu (snack) croquette from them. This croquette is perfect for a snack, being a bit slightly sweet but full of flavor and relatively smaller than regular croquettes.
Smaller and sweet Oyatsu croquette
The croquettes of Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street are all superb, and are delicious crystals of the butchers’ skill and care. They are a must-eat, and a perfect companion to your trip through Togoshi Ginza.
The meaty homemade steamed meat dumplings are also popular
The Shrines Standing among Togoshi Ginza's Bustle
When you stroll around Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street, you may notice the red Torii gate of gates of the shrines in on the side road. There are three of them; one in the Shoeikai zone, the west side of Togoshi Ginza station, and the next one in Ginrokukai zone the east side of the station. Both of them are "Inari shrines", enshrining the fox god.
If you walk a bit from Chuogai zone, you will also find Togoshi Hachiman Shrine, which receives many visitors. There are many visitors to these shrines. It may be a good idea to visit these shrines, if you come for shopping here. Added to your itinerary alongside the croquettes, gyoza, and croquettes, a shrine visit might add a spiritual spice to your foodie stroll of Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street.
Hougo Inari Shrine
Hougo Inari Shrine
The Hougo Inari Shrine is located in the side rode of the Shoeikai zone, a 2 minute-walk from Togoshi Ginza Station, of the Tokyu Ikegami Line. At the center of the Torii gate, the characters of Hougo Inari Daimyojin are written.
Inari shrines are supposed to give us good luck in business The fox gods of Inari shrines are said to grant business prosperity. I wonder if Perhaps, they were built here to wish prosperity for this shopping street. Although the history or the its origin was were not described written, why don’t you stop by and pay a visit, if you spot it? their demeanor at the side of the road definitely carries a certain draw.
Suehiro Inari Shrine
Suehiro Inari Shrine
The Suehiro Inari Shrine is located in the side road in Ginrokukai zone. The statue of a fox (Oinari-san) is enshrined here. This shrine is located in a residential area, and it is well-organized and cleaned. This shrine also seems to have been built to wish prosperity for this shopping street.
Togoshi Hachiman Shrine
Togoshi Hachiman Shrine
Togoshi Hachiman Shrine is located beyond the Miyamae shopping street that intersects with the Chuogai zone. It takes 9 minutes on foot from Togoshi Ginza Station, Tokyu Ikegami Line. Togoshi Ginza shopping street is dotted with signage that will guide you to this shrine, making the path to it quite clear.
Once you go through the Torii gate, you will be enveloped in a the silence of the place’s sacred atmosphere. After going through the tree-lined approach, you will find the main chamber of the shrine. It enshrines Oujin Emperor (Hondawake no Mikoto). I recommend you also stop by this shrine, when you visit the street for shopping.
A Delicious Street Food Stroll through Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street
There are over 400 stores in Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street. In this tour, I searched for the most shining gems of street food, including those from both newer businesses and long-established ones.
Every day, Togoshi Ginza is restricted to public traffic from 15:00 - 18:00 between Monday and Saturday, and from 14:00 - 19:00 on Sunday and national holidays. During these times, Togoshi Ginza becomes a complete pedestrian zone! Without any cars to look out for, your walking pursuit of Togoshi Ginza’s best snacks will be much more relaxing.
Be sure to stop by Togoshi Ginza with some space in your stomach, and take a look around for your favorite store!