Chuo-ku is located at almost center of the 23 wards of central Tokyo. (“Chuo” means “center” in Japanese), where “GINZA”, the world class large shopping area, “Kabuki-Za”, the Theater specialized only for traditional performance art, “KABUKI”, and/or “TSUKIJI” fish market (called kitchen of Tokyo) exist. Zero Mile point of Japanese 5 major roads is also in this ward, so it is just the center of Tokyo as its literally meaning. For your reference, you can see old Tokyo central landscape (150 – 200 years ago), such as GINZA as a representative spot, Nihon-bashi, Nakamura-za (former Kabuki-za theater) through big reproduction models, or diorama, at “EDO TOKYO museum” in Ryogoku.
TSUKIJI fish market
Tukiji Hongan-Ji temple
TSUKIJI fish market
It is the Japan largest fish market, which is also called “Kitchen of Tokyo”. Observation tour for Inside and Outside of the market is one of the standard route of Inbound tourism. Especially, the highlight of such tour is “observation tour of Tuna Auction” in early morning. There are so huge number of applicants that it is necessary to apply at the reception almost in midnight time before application closed, or you cannot attend the tour. And even if your application is accepted, there is another headache, how to spend time until the observation tour starting time of 5:30am. Outside of the market is access free, and there are lots of restaurants or shops offering fresh seafood dishes, various market foods or goods available from early in the morning, so you can enjoy TSUKIJI unique foods and shopping. “TSUKIJI UOGASHI” which is new shop and restaurant building just opened on Nov. 2016, contains fresh sea food shops, Market original restaurants, or cooking demonstration site. (This facility and outside of market shops/restaurants will remain here even after the TSUKIJI market moving to TOYOSU scheduled on or after Jun. 2018.) TSUKIJI was formerly a front counter of western culture as foreign settlement, and after Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), big fish market at Nihon-bashi which was burn out by Earthquake fire, moved from Nihon-bashi to this TSUKIJI, that is the trigger of the development of TSUKIJI as big fresh food market. Besides, there were Navy facilities constructed here in TSUKIJI in end of Edo era through early Meiji era (late 19thCentury), so TSUKIJI has an aspect of the birth place of Japanese Navy as well. You can see such history on tombstone of “Hatayama” (meaning “Navy flag raised place”) at “Sui Jinjya” shrine located at the far end of the “TSUKIJI UOGASHI” facility building.
The first Kabuki-za Theater was opened on 1889, and had been burned out by fire, reconstructed, and renovated. Even through such changes, this has been sit on the center of Japanese traditional stage art until now, as the only one in Japan, which means only one in the world, Kabuki specialized theater. The fifth renovated Kabuki-za Theater, the current one, was completed on 2013, which is the year of 125th anniversary. This renovation made it as handicapped accessible facility, and “Kibikicyo” free space was constructed on B2F of the building, those changes provide of visitors, convenience and attraction as a tourism spot. Even though it was reconstructed, its appearance contain old traditional architecture style, thus it inherit its history and traditional landscape.
This Ginza area is well known as one of most prominent busy district, where many of famous brand shops are lined up. The town name “Ginza” itself is branded, so there are many of shopping street named XX Ginza in various parts of Japan. The brand new big shopping facility “GINZA SIX” has just been opened on 2017, and it became a topic maker. The name “GINZA” was originally from the place of silver mint. (“GIN” means silver, and “ZA” means place”) Silver mint was here in early 17th century, and there has been developed as commercial area. The center of Ginza area, “GINZA 4-chome” intersection is the highest land cost area in Japan. According to the standard price indication of land cost in 2016, it costs yen 40,000,000/㎡. (more than US$ 360,000) “Ginza street” including Ginza 4-chome intersection, is opened for pedestrians as a pedestrian precinct on Sat, Sun, and National holidays, from 12pm to 6pm (until 5pm for winter season). Around 1 km precinct are busy by tourists who enjoy free walking on broad street.
Tukiji Hongan-Ji temple
This Buddhism temple is directly controlled affiliate temple of “Johdo Shin Syu”, one of the major sects of Buddhism, which was originally established on 1617, and reconstructed here through burn out or relocation in the past. Current main temple was constructed on 1934. This main building built under motif of ancient India style, with using marble abundantly, is designated as important cultural property, and is the representative spot of this Tsukiji town, it is the standard tourism spot of Tsukiji, where lots of tourists visit.
“Monjya-Yaki” is the Tokyo local cuisine admired equally with “Okonomi-Yaki” in Osaka. This “Monjya street” is located at Tsukishima, Chuo-ku, where it is only 2 stations, 5 min. train ride from Ginza by subway Yurakucho Line, or 25 min. from Shinjuku by subway Oh-Edo Line. It is the area just next to the exit of Tsukishima Sta., where more than 40 Monjya restaurants are standing along the both side of “Nishi Nakamachi Dori” shopping street as its center. This district is bustling not only by Tokyo native people, but also by tourists from local areas or inbound tourism visitors who want to try Tokyo soul food “Monjya-Yaki”.
This is a stroll garden constructed in Edo-era (17-18th century) Even though it is located the very center of metropolitan Tokyo, you can enjoy old traditional Japanese atmosphere at this seaside park surrounded by relaxing green trees and pond. Because of its seaside location, this park applies “Shio-Iri no Ike” (pond drawing seawater), so changing the scenery by the rise and fall of the tides, is its original feature. There is “Nakajima-no-ochaya” (teahouse in islet) in the middle of the pond, and you can enjoy “Maccha” (green tea) there. Also its scenery of 300-Year Pine’s graceful branches is one of the highlight of this park. This park is just a walking distance from Shinbashi, or Tsukiji, and also there is water-bus access available by using Tokyo Waterfront Line, which enables you to approach to this park with enjoying river cruise of Sumida River, from major tourism spots such as Asakusa, Ryogoku, Odaiba. Package tour of such river cruise and tea ceremony at Nakajima of this park is one of the popular sightseeing routes. Opening time 9:00 am through 5:00 pm (admission until 4:30 pm) Closing date Year end and new year day (Dec. 29th through Jan. 1st) Admission fee Adults : yen 300 (yen 150 for age 65 or older) Admission free for children of elementary school age, and junior high students who live in or trip to Tokyo. ※1 Group discount available, Free for handicapped person and his/her assistant ※2 Free opening date : May 4th (Green day), Oct. 1st (Day of Tokyo citizens)
This Nihonbashi bridge was originally constructed on 1603, and had been burned out by big fire several times, and was reconstructed as current stone bridge. It is mile zero point of Go-kaido Road, which is Japanese 5 main highway, so is known as the very center of Tokyo, or center of Japan itself. (For your reference, all the road indications toward Tokyo shows the distance to this point) Unfortunately current bridge landscape lost its old cultural scenery by the metropolitan express way, which was constructed covering over the bridge before the last 1962 Tokyo Olympic. However, the reconstruction plan of this expressway was just revealed this year, which relocate the expressway passing through the basement of the river, so that to recover the landscape of this bridge. So newly born Nihonbashi after YR2020 is awaited with high expectation. There is Japanese oldest department store Mitsukoshi in its north-west side, and the Zero-mile stone is located there. You can also find the monument of “Nihonbashi Fish market” on the other side of the bridge, which tells you that it had been the central fish market of Tokyo for 300 years until it was moved to Tsukiji.