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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Japan Times' "Ginza: Tokyo's Beacon of Prosperity"

Above, a view of Ginza in 2010 with the Matsuzakaya department store (center left). Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The allure of Tokyo's Ginza shopping district has attracted the attention of kaiju fans ever since Godzilla stomped through it in 1954.

The Japan Times has an article on the district that includes a history of how Ginza became the the prosperous place it is.

It begins with:
Ginza, Tokyo’s posh shopping and entertainment district, has delighted visitors for over a century with high-end shops selling everything from jewelry and clothing to sweets and stationery. 
But the Ginza area was once part of the sea. Reclaimed during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as part of the shogunate’s plan to develop the area, the district takes its name from “gin,” meaning silver, and “za,” for office, after a mint was set up there in 1612. 
Interestingly enough, it was a devastating fire in 1872 that paved the way for Ginza’s lasting prosperity. Burned to the ground, the area was redeveloped with the goal of making it as fire-resistant as possible.
Following the history of the district, the article then discusses the current redevelopment projects taking place in preparation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including the site of the former Matsuzakaya department store (that was torched by Godzilla). Included are several photographs if the district.

Above, a similar view in 2014 with the Matsuzakaya department store site being redeveloped. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here

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