The Ginza (銀座) is the most popular upscale shopping, dining and entertainment district of Tōkyō, with many department stores (including Ginza Six mall), boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, bars and clubs and cafes.
Ginza was one of the first districts of Tōkyō to be wrested from Tōkyō Bay. In 1612, during the Edo period, a silver mint was established in the area, from which the name Ginza (gin 'silver' and za 'place, camp') is derived. After Ginza burned down completely in 1872, the area was completely rebuilt by British architect Josiah Conder and engineer Thomas J. Waters. They widened the street from 12.6 to 27 metres and built a long row of two-story brick buildings with balconies in front along the wide pavements where gas lanterns stood. Following the example of Paris and London, the first promenade in Japan was thus created. After initial difficulties, mainly due to the high prices of the new buildings, the people of Tōkyō soon felt at home in the new district, and nothing stood in the way of its further development into an entertainment district. In the early twentieth century, however, Asakusa was the most popular amusement district in Tōkyō, and it was only in the post-war period that Ginza moved up to the first place. Today, the name Ginza has become synonymous with shopping streets, so there are now Ginzas all over Japan.