GSIX: Tokyo’s Latest Luxury Fashion Destination Opens
A Look Into Ginza's Newest Fashion Symbol
"Does the newest symbol of Ginza have what it takes to keep global customers returning — or is it a one-time visit type of destination?"
After years of development, promotion and much publicity, the largest ever shopping complex in Tokyo’s Ginza area opened officially on April 20th, attracting top global elites, celebrated fashion designers, celebrities, reporters, and of course top buyers, all there to see, feel and taste Tokyo’s newest fashion hub. The crowds, the excitement, the lineups, and the different new features the complex hosts, seem to make this towering focal point of Ginza’s 6-chome corner the must-visit destination of 2017.
Our Savvy team went for a sneak peak of the complex to see what is it that makes it so unique — and whether it has or doesn’t have what it takes to attract returning tourists and local customers alike.
Facts & Figures
Located right in the center of Tokyo’s Ginza district, GSix boasts a massive retail space of 47,000 square meters, making it the largest ever commercial complex built in the area. Rebuilt on the premises of the old Matsuzakaya department store, which stood there for 89 years until 2013 as the first department store in Ginza, GSix marks the end of the old department store culture in Japan, and opens doors to a brand new one: such that attracts world brands, screams modernity and stands on par with Milan, Paris and New York.
Home to a total of 241 stores and 121 flagship stores, the complex opens to the public a total of eleven floors, including an impressive rooftop garden perfectly fit for a date with your obento (or French meal if you wish). The three basement floors offer a massive beauty merchandise with renowned cosmetics companies from all over the world; a food emporium where you can spend a day (or two), and the Kanze Noh Theater, a cultural facility where regular traditional events will be taking place throughout the year. The first three floors are dedicated to fashion, the fourth and fifth to fashion and lifestyle, the sixth has a huge bookstore and restaurants, and the 13th is all about the food — real good food. The floors in between the sixth and the 13th will be occupied by offices and are not open to the public.© Photo by GSIX
Among the 241 stores in the complex, 12 make their debut in Japan at GSix, four are the largest in the world, 35 are largest in Japan, and 83 open in Ginza for the first time — all in all, it’s certainly an impressive lineup.
For The Beauty & Fashion Lovers
From big label names such as Fendi, Kenzo, and Dior; the noteable LVMH Group has featured a strong ten of its most sought after brands, all uniquely as well as strategically placed throughout the gargantuan facility.
As you navigate yourself through each floor, one will notice quite a few unique brands and collaborations. The fashion brand Ground, for example, has teamed up with the creators of Final Fantasy and have created a limited collection of items, all of which are unisex to focus on the current idea of Genderless Fashion. Other exclusively offered products include a solar-powered watch by the timepiece maker Citizen, as well, a full feature focus of the brand Kuro, which is a line of garments using different patchworks and indigos dyes for their Okayama-made denim wearables.
From Versace to Vivienne Westwood, Jimmy Choo to Belstaff, and Helen Kaminski to Tabio Japan, there’s really everything you’re looking for, whether it’s women’s or men’s fashion, headwear, shoes, bags and accessories — if you don’t mind spending a considerable amount of cash.
For The Art & Culture Savvy
The very impressive Tsutaya Book Store, which is closer to being more of a library, is based on the 6th floor. The store specializes in not only books and magazines, but also artworks as well as stationery and lifestyle items, and here you will find some specific books on Japanese design, art and fashion. You can sit and read or work at this creative venue, while sipping a cup of coffee at the adjunct Starbucks. Most of the 6th floor is dedicated to this retailer’s space, which is needed because the store has some 60,000 books and counting stacked beautifully across aisle after aisle and way up high to the ceilings.
The spacious rooftop garden houses a small shrine giving shoppers a tranquil resting spot in-between their shopping extravaganzas. But those interested in something more traditional and cultural, should head to the Kanze Noh Theatre located on the third basement floor. Formerly located in Shibuya, the Kanze Nohgaku Theatre closed it doors last November and reopened at GSix — the place where the genre was originally born during the Edo period. The theater is expected to attract tourists and promote the traditional art, which still largely remains unknown to the international community. The theater will also serve as a temporary evacuation accommodation in case of emergencies and natural disasters.
Public art is also one of the major GSix attractions. The complex showcases three globally acclaimed artists and features additional art displays throughout the facility for customers to enjoy while on their shopping excursions. The renowned avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama has decorated the facility’s ever so high ceilings with her classic red polka dot pumpkins, and lucky us — these beauties will be on display until early next year, so plenty of time to make your way to Ginza, look up in awe and snap away! A pop-up store dedicated to the artist is also featured on the 4th floor until May 16.
For The Lost In Translation
A Tourist Information Desk for customers is conveniently situated on the ground floor where the perfectly assembled GSix information staff will assist you with any of your shopping questions in English, Chinese, and or Korean.
Some of the at-your-hand services available include a currency exchange counter, a temporary baggage storage, a duty free counter, parcel delivery services, a souvenir shop and a convenience store, and of course, tons of information not only on GSix, but sightseeing landmarks around the area.
For The Hungry & Health-Conscious
If you’re ready for a snack or even a full sit down meal, food shops and stalls are located both on the second basement and the 6th floor. The 13th floor is where you would head for a luxurious dining experience, a romantic date or a special celebration. The cocktails at the Mixology Salon located on this floor is highly recommended — the talented Shuzo Nagumo crafts delicate tea-infused cocktails or teatails, using tea leaves hand selected from all over the world. On the same floor you can also find a wide selection of exquisite fusion, Japanese and Chinese diners, including the renowned sushi restaurant Tsukiji Suzutomi. There’s plenty of good stuff to choose from here.
For a casual but more concept-shop-like experience, try 72 Degrees Juicery by David Meyer on the 5th floor. The smoothies are wonderful and the open toasts are healthy and quite filling. The Elle Cafe on the basement floor is another unique option for the health-conscious ones. Filled with gluten-free small pastries, coconut milk-based yoghurt, smoothies and tea detox juices, this place is your perfect stop for a quick bite on the go. For a fancier cafe experience, try the Dior Cafe on the 4th floor — the perfect place for a stylish afternoon experience with your girlfriends. For a more casual night out, yet a really good quality meat, try the Salt Grill & Tapas Bar by Luke Mangan on the 6th floor. And don’t forget to spend a few hours at the the vast depachika on the B2 floor — from bakeries and pie stores to a honey-exclusive shop, it’s a paradise for every foodie down there.
What’s Perhaps Missing
I spent the most of my Friday last week experiencing what one would experience at this impressive complex – from waiting in line before doors opened at 10:30 am, to exploring each floor thoroughly, even taking a quick break and slurping down a smoothie at one of the concept cafes. I can’t deny that the facility operates with perfection. If you’re looking for the obvious, then it’s great. However, if you’re looking for a fashion destination that really will wow you, maybe even take you for surprise, GSix may fall a little short.
The complex is expected to perform primarily to attract foreign tourists – apparently up to 20 million shoppers a year — and for this reason, I think it will surely serve its ¥86 billion invested hope for return. But in the end, who is GSix intending on really pleasing in its international facade? And will incoming tourists really feel satisfied with the shopping experience when they are bombarded by similar brands which they can find in their own cities? I think the key question is, will one return or is GSix a one-time visit type of destination? As I walked around the complex, I couldn’t help but think that it would have been so much more unique if it had included more Japanese brands, Japanese goods, maybe a little more Japanese food – all while in an international environment that felt a little more unique, innovative, and tech savvy.
Address: 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Access: Two-minutes walk from Ginza station, A3 exit