The arts are in focus in Ginza this month, whether its modern art installations, digital art showcases, cuisine as art, or the traditional crafts explored through artistic clothing. So, with the weather finally starting to turn and Tokyo hopefully on course to wave goodbye to its protracted state of emergency, here’s what you can get up to in Ginza this month.
In Full Blooooom Tokyo
In celebration of its fifth anniversary, Tokyu Plaza Ginza is holding the somewhat bizarrely named exhibit “In Full Blooooom Ginza, Tokyo” from March 15 to March 31. The theme is reflected in the name: “blooming” spring flowers, which will make up the exhibit’s centerpieces, and the succession of “o’s” representing infinite happiness.
Floral artist Daisuke Shimura’s elegant works will be peppered throughout Tokyu Plaza. These will be accompanied by live performances – called “Flower Flash” – on Saturdays March 20 and 27, where Shimura will reimagine and rearrange the floral decorations on show. Limited-edition products and okashi (sweets and treats) will also be on sale during the course of the event.
Ginza 456 TeamLab Exhibition
Ginza 456, a high-tech mobile phone shop operated by Japanese network provider KDDI, is hosting a collaboration event with the inimitable digital art consortium TeamLab from March 22 to May 31.
Under the concept of “The world brought about by 5G will be a borderless world”, KDDI and TeamLab have developed a “borderless” experience combining AR technology and 5G internet with the physical world. The main showpiece integrates a special Ginza 456 smartphone app with a catch-and-release butterfly game, whereby smartphone users can capture the dreamlike virtual butterflies zipping around the store.
Metamorphosis Garden at Ginza Six
Not to be outdone, Ginza Six is also unveiling a new installation in the coming weeks to celebrate its fourth anniversary. The Metamorphosis Garden by sculptor Kohei Nawa will dominate the glamorous mall’s vaulted atrium from April 12, 2021 until April 2022, tentatively.
Nawa, one of Japan’s leading sculptors and a visionary in his field, designed Metamorphosis Garden on the nexus where life forces and physical matter coexist. The “Ether” and “Trans-Deer” works incorporated into the piece serve to symbolize life, both of which rise up from irregularly shaped floating islands. AR elements, created in collaboration with choreographer Damien Jalet, will also feature in certain areas of the building.
Aoyama Shan Wei Ginza
Shan Wei, a popular Chinese restaurant where table bookings are red hot commodities, opened a new noodle restaurant in Ginza on March 8. The cuisine on offer hails from Hunan Province, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, and in (I hope) ironic homage to China’s 20th-century totalitarian dictator, many of the dishes bear his name.
Crispy Mao Zedong pork ribs, Mao Zedong noodles, and Mao Zedong chips all populate the menu, along with more recognizable classics, such as steamed chicken in soy and steamed pork with spicy mala sauce. Shan Wei Ginza is styling itself as a noodle restaurant by day and ramen pub by night, with takeout and delivery services, both available.
Rooftop Sakura Drinks at Aloft Hotel in Ginza
From April 19 to April 30, Aloft Hotel Tokyo, a boutique lifestyle hotel in Ginza run by Marriot International, is offering limited-time-only cherry blossom menus at the rooftop terrace, Roof Dogs, the ground-floor W XYZ Bar, and The Warehouse restaurant.
Menu items include rosé champagne from Nicolas Fiat, France’s number one selling brand and the third best-selling brand in the world after just 35 years on the market. W XYZ Bar will also offer a special food menu, featuring sakura-themed sweets and snacks, accompanied by seasonally inspired pink drinks and cocktails – the perfect menu for hanami season.
Cozy Corner Disney Sweet Collections
Ginza Cozy Corner, one of Tokyo’s top confectionary café chains, will be selling a new range of Disney-designed sweets, the Mickey & Friends Collection, at cakes shops nationwide from March 19. The nine-piece, limited-time-only assortment of creamy cakes and buns was inspired by various Disney characters, including Mickey, Goofy, and triplets Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Online reservations (for pick-up at the shop) are available at selected stores between Monday, Mar 15 and Saturday, Apr 17.
Sixième Ginza Kimono Pop-up Store
Sixième Ginza, a concept shop in the Ginza Six complex, is holding a special clothing exhibition from now until March 31. The shop is running a fashion pop-up that introduces the Nihon Buyo Kyokai (Japanese Classical Dance Association) concept of “inheritance and innovation” through traditional clothing. Guests can sample and purchase elegant kimono and kimono accessories from long-established sellers in Ginza, a district where the traditional Japanese arts run deep to its core.
Limited-Edition Ties at Okano in Ginza Six
Hakata-ori, an ancient weaving technique hailing from Fukuoka with over 780 years of history, is one of the few methods in the world to use mainly warp threads (vertical threads) to express patterns and color variations. At Okano in Ginza Six, a clothing store specializing in traditional Japanese textiles manufactured for the modern era, 100 pieces of Keikin Rokusai neckties made with the traditional hakata-ori technique are on sale from March 15.
The limited-edition ties were created in collaboration with Pen magazine to promote traditional Japanese crafts, which already in decline, received yet another blow from the Covid-19 pandemic. To that end, each tie also comes with a smooth Paulownia casing, utilizing a plant deeply rooted in Japan’s cultural arts.
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