TOPTokyo LifeWhat’s New in Ginza this Month: November 2020

What’s New in Ginza this Month: November 2020

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go in Ginza

By David McElhinney

As Christmas draws near, the glamorous Ginza neighborhood is ramping up for the festive season. Accompany its brand-spanking-new metro station refurbishments, Ginza is welcoming illumination events, Christmas cakes and yuletide puddings, and a range of themed art exhibitions that aim to inject some positivity into the culmination of this tough old year.

Revamped Train Station

The new interior design of Ginza Station may have been unveiled in October, but it would be remiss not to give it a cursory mention here.

 

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The ‘Crystals of Light’ artwork by Tokujin Yoshioka, featuring 636 glass crystals that refract passing light and reflect commuters’ movements trudging through the station, is the most ostentatious addition. Accompanying it are gleaming pillars to aid with navigation and digital ceiling images that reflect street-level locations so travelers can better orient themselves while underground.     

Merry Christmas from Ginza

The grand and prepossessing architectural facades of Ginza, melding avant-garde styles with European neo-classicism, are a perfect match for winter illumination events. Several buildings will don their own miniature cloaks of twinkling bulbs; others will erect towering Christmas trees to get into the festive spirit. The Kyobashi Edogrand commercial complex sports a 12-meter tall rainbow-hued Christmas tree from November 20 through December 25, while the Marronier Gate Ginza mall has opted for a Christmas tree-themed chandelier this year, which is on display from early November through Christmas Day.

 

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Where Ginza, Marunouchi and Hibiya collide, the annual Nakadori Street illumination, casting the tree-lined boulevard in a warm glow every winter, kicked off in early November running through February 14, 2021. The event is being held to honor the tireless work of medical professionals in 2020.     

Matsuya Ginza’s Christmas Cake Bonanza

If you’ve lived in Tokyo for any length of time, you are likely accustomed to outlandish and saccharine-looking cakes peering at you from behind glass cabinets or through bakery windows. As Christmas looms, some of the top bakers in the capital go above and beyond their typically elaborate designs – the new range of cakes from Matsuya Ginza are case in point. You can order online from their selection of five artisanal Christmas cakes, each of which is sure to elevate your post-turkey dessert to new heights.    

New Pop-ups at Ginza Sony Park

The dynamic Ginza Sony Park complex is renowned for its ever-changing pop-up stands and temporary establishments, showcasing what’s vogue in the world of Japanese food and drink.

Starting November 28, running until September 2021, three new additions are joining the roster: 

  1. GEN GEN AN: from the tea shop of the same name in Shibuya, which specializes in bespoke green tea and sweets made by award-winning confectioner Sota Atsumi. 
  2. Kamapan & Friends: a bakery whose focus is on additive-free breads. 
  3. Seafool: a restaurant with an American-style seafood menu, featuring fish burgers, calamari and shrimp.

Kyobashi Pop Culture Art Exhibit – Kitahara’s ‘AMAZING Collection’

Possibly because of its ability to offer levity in tough times, art is a central theme of the new events in Ginza as 2020 comes to a close. In the aforementioned Kyobashi Edogrand complex, the super realistic “pop-sculptures” of toy collector Teruhisa Kitahara’s ‘AMAZING Collection’ are exactly the kind of campy joy many of us need at this time of year. From jarringly accurate to downright wild, the figurines depict characters from classic entertainment franchises: King Kong, Star Wars, Thunderbirds, Godzilla, and more. The exhibition will run until January 22, 2021. 

Ginza Six Art

At the Ginza Six shopping complex, many modern artworks are on display until February 23, 2021. The series, ‘Ginza Six Art Rambling,’ features pieces by global artists representing shifting lifestyles, a reflection of the current state of our coronavirus-affected world. The pieces are designed to be viewed as visitors stroll around the building’s multiple floors, rather than being confined to a single section.

Elsewhere in Ginza Six, while there will be Christmasy sweets for sale in the Basement 2nd floor depachika, it may be the Christmas cake art that grabs the headlines. The ‘Merry Christmas Cake Boxes’ sound nominally uninspired, but they’re a pretty eye-catching and unique pair of artworks: rotating boxes of gilded metal, drooping chocolate designs and dancing mechanical berries that bring to mind a steampunk baker colliding with a hall of mirrors.      

In keeping with the holiday theme, Ginza Six also collaborated with artist Lemasa Yamabata to design this year’s winter decorations and Christmas tree. A combo of festive motifs and traditional kogin patterns, the designs are a celebration of eastern and western cultures.

Ogaki Masu Charity Art Project

One of the best examples of how art can benefit the community is through charity. Masu, small cypress-wood boxes traditionally used to measure grain and subsequently as drinking vessels, are also believed to be fortuitous (masu means “benefit” or “increase”). Eighty percent of the masu produced in Japan come from Ogaki City, Gifu, and its these miniature works of craftsmanship on display Ginza from December 1. 

160 different types of masu from 160 individual creators will be available for purchase at the Creation Gallery G8 (or online) until December 25. Proceeds will be used to support Japanese children, from households affected by Covid-19 to those who suffered at the hands of torrential summer rains in Kyushu.  


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