Do you know about the Chuo Ward in Tokyo? It is one of the 23 wards of Tokyo, with various unique neighbourhoods and areas, along with different things to do and sights to see. If you are wondering what is Adachi ward, the different areas inside Adachi, the best things to do, history, accommodation and more, check out this ultimate Adachi ward area guide.
What is Chuo ward?
Among the 23 special wards of Tokyo, there is only one area that proudly calls itself “Chuo Ward”. “Chuo” means “centre” and Chuo ward is literally located in the middle of Tokyo, and is a sophisticated area with first-class office districts such as Tokyo Station, Ginza, and Nihonbashi, as well as a downtown area lined with department stores and luxury brand stores.
However, because it is central, along with Chiyoda Ward, it has become full of office buildings and is losing much of its function as a “residential area.
The difference between the daytime and nighttime population is quite large, and while there are plenty of restaurants and pubs to feed the salarymen during the day, at night there are only 24-hour convenience stores, lunch box shops, and pubs where the salarymen hang out after work.
There are few supermarkets or shopping streets that offer a sense of daily life. In recent years, however, high-rise condominium towers have sprung up in the area, and high-income families are beginning to move into the area, taking advantage of the trend to return to the city centre.
On the other hand, there are markets with a long history, such as the Tsukiji Market. The reclaimed areas of Kachidoki, Tsukishima, and Harumi, located across the Kachidokibashi Bridge from Harumi-dori Avenue, used to be a downtown area with a row of small, narrow tenement houses, but before long they have been transformed into celebrity towns with high-rise condominiums.
Living in Chuo Ward
Chuo City is home to many first-class towns such as Ginza and Nihonbashi, but if you go back to the history of Edo Tokyo, you will find that even these areas used to be downtowns.
The image of Chuo City residents is probably a mixture of the Edo downtown natives and the new affluent class who live in townhouses. There are a few high-rise condominiums in Suitengumae and Hamacho, and a few more in Tsukuda, Kachidoki, and Harumi, but the prices are too high for ordinary salarymen to afford. The main residents here are probably doctors, lawyers and bureaucrats.
History of Chuo Ward
Tokyo’s Chuo Ward is located on the southeast side of the Imperial Palace and is one of the “three central wards” of Tokyo, along with Chiyoda and Minato Wards.
It is divided into Yaesu, Ginza, Tsukiji, Nihonbashi, Tsukishima, and Kachidoki districts, but the area of the ward is not so large, and most of the areas facing Tokyo Bay are artificial islands that were reclaimed after the modern era.
Nihonbashi and Kyobashi are the original downtown areas that have existed since the Edo period, and although they have become high-end, sophisticated areas, it is not unusual to find long-established stores that have been in this area for several hundred years.
The new affluent class, who consider this area as a brand because of its deep historical background and the name of “Chuo Ward,” which has such famous areas as Nihonbashi, Ginza, and Tsukiji, have moved into tower condominiums that are being built one after another.
The population had fallen to the 60,000 level in the 1990s but has now more than doubled to nearly 150,000. The effect of the new residents has been to push up the average annual income of ward residents, which has risen to 5.56 million yen in Chuo Ward, ranking fourth among the 23 wards. This trend is expected to continue.
Characteristics of Chuo Ward
The centre of Japanese culture, commerce, and information
Chuo City has a long history, with Ginza, one of Japan’s leading shopping areas, and Nihonbashi, the starting point of the highway to various parts of Japan.
Tsukiji, the centre of food culture, Ningyocho, where traditional shopping streets remain, and Tsukuda and Tsukishima, facing the Sumida River and Tokyo Bay, allow visitors to enjoy strolling and eating in the elegant townscape.
While being a centre of a culture where various traditional performing arts and fine arts can be appreciated, the area is also home to a number of new spots such as large-scale commercial facilities.
Tradition and cutting-edge coexist
In Chuo City, as the city continues to develop with the times, traditional and famous buildings are being preserved.
Chuo City has been developing a town with a rich atmosphere that makes the most of these buildings while preserving traditional architectural masterpieces as it continues to develop with the times.
The streetscape, where the old and the new coexist in harmony with traditional and modern high-rise buildings, is a valuable landscape that Chuo City is proud of.
Full of seasonal delights
Chuo City, which has a strong image of a bustling building district, also has its own seasonal expressions.
In spring, cherry blossoms and other flowers bloom here and there, attracting many people, and in summer, visitors can enjoy strolling along the waterfront and beer gardens on the rooftops of buildings.
In autumn, the streets are decorated with red and yellow leaves, and in winter, the main streets and commercial facilities are romantically decorated with gorgeous illuminations.
As you can see, Chuo City is filled with a wide variety of enjoyment all year round.
Areas in Chuo
Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit belongs to Chuo Ward. The name comes from Jan Joosten, a Dutch navigator who married a Japanese and lived in Edo.
Unlike the Marunouchi side, the Yaesu side of the station has a motley assortment of buildings housing salaried workers and a few seedy stores catering to the geek crowd. The Yaesu underground shopping mall is one of the few of its kind in Tokyo.
The history of Yurakucho is depicted in the movie “Carmen 1945”; after the war, it was called “Rakucho” and was a place where pampered girls hung out with the Occupation Forces to have their spring break.
Since the area is adjacent to Ginza, there are many high-class restaurants, but the area under the underpass has turned completely into a black market of the postwar period. Marusan Yokocho and Nishi-Ginza JR Center are full of chaotic elements.
Imagawa Koji, a postwar under-underpass eating and drinking district on the south side of the station, has a ward boundary running down the middle of the alley, with the northern half in Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku, and the southern half in Nihonbashi Hongokucho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo.
The Shinbashi station is the nearest station to some areas in Ginza 7 and 8-chome, Chuo-ku. The Nakagin Capsule Tower Building, a very famous and rare architectural work by Kisho Kurokawa, towers over the area.
Ginza Line stations
Tokyo’s leading brand town in the world. A shopping zone for the wealthy where famous brand stores from around the world gather. However, if you take a step into the back of the area, you will find Showa-era back-alley restaurants, a long-established cabaret called “Hakubara,” and even public bathhouses such as Kinshunyu and Ginza Yu, which have survived.
The closest subway station to Tokyo Station on the Ginza Line. There are many local bank branches from here to the Yaesu Street area. The Police Museum is open to visitors free of charge.
In addition to the grand building of Nihonbashi Takashimaya, a long-established department store along with Mitsukoshi, commercial facilities such as COREDO Nihonbashi have opened due to redevelopment in front of the station.
The long-established department store Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi and the Bank of Japan’s head office, which is shaped like a circle when viewed from above, give the area a stately appearance. In recent years, new commercial facilities such as COREDO Muromachi have been built, and like Nihonbashi, there are many conscious stores for elite salarymen.
Hibuya Line stations
The original name of this district was Kobikicho. The Kabuki-za Theater, the centre of Japanese traditional performing arts, is located here and attracts crowds of old lady tourists all year round.
The address is part of Ginza, but there are more restaurants and small offices than large commercial buildings. There are also some condominiums, factories, and row houses here and there.
Tsukiji Honganji Temple and St. Luke’s International Hospital are landmarks of the city. The well-known Tsukiji Market has suspended its relocation plan. It is an ikanimo-style tourist spot that is flooded with tourists all year round, but the rundown condition of the outer market is also a sight to behold. Overlooking the market is the Tokyo headquarters of the Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s leading self-proclaimed quality paper (Asahi Shimbun).
A station used by Keiyo Line residents to transfer to the Hibiya Line. The Minato 2-chome neighbourhood, with its old name of Teppozu, was a disastrous landfill ruin zone, dotted with worm-eaten vacant lots. A redevelopment project has been underway and high-rise condominiums are under construction.
Japan’s Wall Street with the Tokyo Stock Exchange towering above it. It is full of offices of securities firms. Surrounded on all sides by rivers, Shinkawa, also known as Reigishima, has many condominiums and apartments where residents live.
The former Yoshiwara, the origin of the Yoshiwara brothels, was once located here. It is an oasis for businessmen who work in Nihonbashi, with a high concentration of restaurants that serve as hideouts for adults.
Surprisingly, the streets are still lined with narrow row houses in an old back-alley landscape. Amazake Yokocho, where the ladies who commute to the Meiji-za Theater stroll about. The special sukiyaki bento box at Imahan Ningyocho, a restaurant frequented by doctors and executives.
Jushikouen in front of the station is the site of the former Denmacho prison house, and Daianrakuji Temple is the site of an execution site, where Shoin Yoshida was executed.
Ginza 1-chome 銀座一丁目
A station on the outskirts of Ginza used by Yurakucho Line users. This is the closest station to the Okuno Building, a superb vintage apartment building built in 1932, and Ginza Yu, a public bathhouse.
A vacant area surrounded by Ginza, Tsukiji, and Hatchobori. The Chuo Ward Office is the nearest station.
Tsukudukushima, where the descendants of fishermen who saved Ieyasu’s life and were brought here from Osaka live, has also become a crowded area of townhouses. It is the former “Ishikawajima Jinshoku Yoroba,” a rehabilitation facility for criminals in the Edo period.
Like its neighbour Tsukishima, Kachidoki is a reclaimed island with a high concentration of narrow tenements.
After the opening of the Oedo Line, it has transformed into an area of many tower blocks. Crossing the Kachidokibashi Bridge, Ginza is just a stone’s throw away, and many wealthy celebrities are moving to the area one after another.
This station has long been the last stop on the Hanzomon Line. Famous for Suitengu Shrine, where pregnant women from all over the Tokyo metropolitan area come to pay their respects.
On the eastern edge of the Nihonbashi area. Meiji-za Theater and Nihonbashi Hamamachi Park, where legions of ladies who love traditional arts gather. Sometimes, you will find crowds gathering here to play Pokemon Go.
Bakurocho, Bakuro-Yokoyama, Higashi-Nihonbashi 馬喰町・馬喰横山・東日本橋
The Bakuro-Yokoyama textile wholesale district is one of the most famous in Tokyo.
Although it is a transfer station, the JR Sobu Rapid Line, Toei Asakusa Line, and Toei Shinjuku Line have different station names.
The rows of barracks-like stores and houses above the Hamachigawa River, which was reclaimed after World War II, used to be a spectacular sight, but in recent years they have been replaced by condominiums and other buildings and are disappearing.
What to do in Chuo
Kabuki-za Theatre 歌舞伎座
The Kabuki-za Theater is located in Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Since its opening in 1889, the theatre has been destroyed by fire, restored, reconstructed, and renovated to meet the needs of the times, culminating in the completion of the current fifth Kabuki-za theatre. It offers a variety of seat types from first-floor plank seats to third-floor seats, as well as the popular “one-act viewing” on the fourth floor, where you can enjoy watching your favourite act.
The tiled roof, balustrade, and other Japanese-style features of the exterior are in perfect harmony with the Kabuki-za Tower in the background and the streetscape of Ginza. The basement of the Kabuki-za is home to Kobikicho Plaza, where souvenir shops and restaurants are located.
Nihonbashi Bridge 日本橋
Nihonbashi Bridge is a stone double-arch road bridge connecting Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-chome and Nihonbashi 1-chome, it is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.
Since its construction at the opening of the Edo shogunate, the bridge has been repaired and rebuilt about 20 times. The inscription of “Nihonbashi” on the bridge pillars was written by Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the 15th shogun of the Edo Shogunate.
Shinbashi Enbujo 新橋演舞場
Built in 1925, Shinbashi Enbujo is located in Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. It was built as a place to showcase the skills of Shinbashi geigi, and currently hosts a wide variety of performances centring on kabuki, shinpa, and shinki gekijo (new plays).
The Shinbashi Geigi “Azuma Odori” held for four days every May is popular as a springtime tradition in Tokyo, offering a glimpse of the geisha world, which is not open to the public at first glance. The theatre also offers a variety of boxed lunches and a cafeteria menu inside the theatre where visitors can enjoy the traditions of the Shinbashi Hanayagi world.
Located right next to Exit A2 of Hamacho Station, Meijiza has been a longtime favourite since its construction in 1873. Widely known as a hall of fame for kabuki and new school plays, it now hosts a variety of performances, including song shows, contemporary plays, and musicals.
The theatre retains the atmosphere of a Japanese-style building while blending in with the modern exterior of the Hamacho Center Building, and inside the building, there are many facilities to enjoy between acts, including a coffee shop, lounge, and long-established Japanese confectionery store. The “makunouchi bento” (boxed lunch in the curtain), a traditional Meijiza flavour, is one of the best parts of the theatre experience.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza 東急プラザ 銀座
Tokyu Plaza Ginza is a commercial facility facing the Sukiyabashi intersection in Ginza, it opened in 2016 as a new landmark in Ginza. The building has an impressive exterior with a motif of Edo faceting, a traditional craft, and is equipped with a comfortable lounge where visitors can freely relax and a rooftop terrace.
The facility features a variety of stores, mainly fashion, but also general merchandise, duty-free stores, restaurants, etc. The fashion select store “HINKA RINKA” targeting adult women on the 3rd to 5th floors is also very popular. The basement floor is directly connected to Ginza Station.
Mitsukoshi Ginza 銀座三越
Opened in 1930, Mitsukoshi Ginza is the flagship store of the Mitsukoshi department store, which traces its roots to the kimono store “Echigoya” founded in 1673. The 16 floors (4 below ground and 12 above ground) are home to a wide variety of stores, including more than 200 women’s fashion brands, one of the largest cosmetics floors in the Ginza area, as well as speciality stores selling men’s items, food, and sweets. The restaurant floor, which offers a wide variety of Japanese, Western, Chinese, and ethnic cuisines, is also popular.
Koami-jinja Shrine 小網神社
Koami Shrine is famous for its “Sennarai-benten,” or “Senninai-benten,” a goddess of luck and protection from bad luck. Popular shrine with a constant stream of worshippers.
Koami Shrine is located in Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Inari-san is enshrined as the deity of the shrine and has long been worshipped as the “god of good luck and good luck repelling bad luck. The shrine is also home to the “Tokyo Senarai Benten,” which is said to bring good fortune by purifying money at the “Senarai no Ii” well, as well as statues of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune and Fukurokuju, who are said to bestow virtues, and there is no end of visitors to the shrine.
Hamarikyu Gardens 浜離宮恩賜庭園
Located in Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Hamarikyu Gardens features a tidal pond. The tidal inlet refers to a style of pond design in which seawater is drawn in to change the appearance of the pond using the ebb and flow of the tide.
The tidal pond and the two duck ponds are representative of the Daimyo Gardens of the Edo period. On the middle island of the pond, there is a “Nakajima no Ochaya” where tea and sweets are served. Cherry blossoms in spring and cosmos and autumn leaves in fall are beautiful sceneries you can enjoy here.
Suitengu Shrine 水天宮
Suitengu is a branch shrine of Kurume Suitengu located in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, and is widely known as a deity for safe childbirth and childbirth.
The Arima family, the feudal lords of Kurume who had revered Kurume Suitengu for generations, originally invited a branch of the shrine to their residence in Edo (Tokyo).
The shrine is constantly visited by worshippers praying for easy childbirth and for the birth of their children, and within its precincts, there are statues of “Kippo Inu,” or “baby dogs,” which bring good luck if you stroke your zodiac sign, as well as a statue of a kappa parent and child. In addition to amulet charms for easy childbirth, the cute ema (votive picture tablet) of a father and child dog is also popular. The annual festival is held on May 5 every year.
Ginza Six is the largest commercial facility in the Ginza area where world-class luxury brands and noteworthy gourmet foods gather. The building has 13 floors above ground and 6 floors below, and houses over 240 stores.
The atrium in the centre of the building is a space where installations by world-renowned artists are exhibited. Ginza Six attracts a great deal of attention each time an exhibit changes. The building is home to stores in a variety of genres, including fashion, lifestyle, and food, and there are many programs and items that can only be found here.
Harumi Triton Square 晴海トリトンスクエア
Harumi Triton Square is a commercial complex located in Harumi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. The site consists of three office towers, a shopping mall, various services, cultural facilities, and residences.
The shopping mall, inspired by the streets of southern Europe, offers cafes & restaurants, fashion, beauty salons, clinics, and other stores necessary for daily life. There is also a plaza blessed with beautiful flowers and trees, providing a place of relaxation for the neighbourhood and office workers.
Yaesu Shopping Mall 八重洲地下街
Yaesu Shopping Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in Japan, located underground at the Yaesu Exit of Tokyo Station. It is lined with about 180 stores, including restaurants, cafes, fashion goods, and clinics.
The huge shopping mall is not only directly connected to Tokyo Station but also has a parking lot directly accessible from the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway. Known affectionately as “Yaetica,” it has many stores that will tickle the fancy of adults, including good old-fashioned restaurants, fragrance stores, galleries, and stores specializing in Western liquors.
Mitsui Memorial Museum 三井記念美術館
Mitsui Memorial Museum is a stately Western-style building representing Japan in the early Showa period and is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The museum opened in 2005 as a relocation of the “Mitsui Bunko Annex” in Nakano Ward. The museum houses a number of valuable artworks collected by the Mitsui family over a period of more than 300 years since the Edo period.
Haibara 榛原(はいばら) 日本橋本店
Founded in 1806, Haibara has been offering a “lifestyle with washi” for more than 200 years. It is famous for selling gampi paper, which is smooth to the touch, to the common people of Edo.
The store carries a wide variety of washi products, including washi paper, Japanese accessories, letterheads, money envelopes, and gift bags, bringing the style of the Edo period to the present day. Some of the works of modern painters such as Takehisa Yumeji, Shibata Zeshin, and Kawanabe Kyosai are also used in their products.
Events in Chuo
- Doburoku Festival どぶろく祭
- Suitengu Grand Festival 水天宮例大祭
- Koami Shrine Grand Festival 小網神社大祭
- Sumiyoshi Shrine Grand Festival 住吉神社例大祭
Hotels in Chuo Ward
Sakura Cross Hotel Tokyo Kayabacho (3*)
Located in Tokyo, 300 m from Zuiken Kawamura Former Residence Place Monument, Sakura Cross Hotel Tokyo Kayabacho provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property is around 500 m from Oiwa Inari Shrine, 600 m from Bank of Japan Origin Place Monument and 700 m from Takao Inari Shrine. Each room is equipped with a balcony.
TSUKI Tokyo (4*)
Conveniently set in the Chuo Ward district of Tokyo, TSUKI Tokyo is located 3.6 km from National Diet Building, 5 km from Ryogoku Kokugikan National Sumo Stadium and 4 km from Chidorigafuchi. Japan Imperial Palace is 4.1 km from TSUKI Tokyo, while Tokyo Tower is 4.4 km away.
CITAN Hostel (2*)
Located in Tokyo, 600 m from Suginomori Shrine, CITAN Hostel provides air-conditioned rooms and a bar. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Jisshi Park, Revival Monument of Japanese Traditional Chinese Medicine and Takarada Ebisu Shrine.
Mitsui Garden Hotel Nihonbashi Premier (4*)
Open from September 2018, located within a 11-minute walk from Tokyo Station Nihonbashi Exit and 1.9 km from The Imperial Palace, Mitsui Garden Hotel Nihonbashi Premier features accommodation with a bar. The property is directly connected to Shin-Nihombashi Station and Mitsukoshimae Station.
Mimaru Tokyo Nihonbashi Suitengumae
Located within 2 km of Edo Tokyo Museum and 2 km of Marunouchi Building, MIMARU Tokyo Nihombashi Suitengumae offers free WiFi throughout the property. The property is situated 2.3 km from Kachidoki Bridge and 3 km from Japan Imperial Palace.
Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo (5*)
Kabuki-za is an 8-minute walk from Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo. Hama-Rikyu Gardens is an 11-minute drive away. Guests can reach Omotesando and Shibuya within 20 minutes by train. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 13 km from the property.
Hostel DEN (1*)
Set in Tokyo, Hostel DEN is a 19-minute walk from Marunouchi Building. All rooms feature a kitchen and a shared bathroom. Free WiFi is available. There is a prayer room at this accommodation. Edo Tokyo Museum is 1.8 km from the hostel. Tokyo Haneda International Airport is 15 km from the property.
DDD Hotel (3*)
Conveniently set in the Chuo Ward district of Tokyo, DDD HOTEL is located 300 m from Asakusa Mitsuke. A continental breakfast is available daily at DDD HOTEL. Popular points of interest near the hotel include Ichogaoka Hachiman Shrine, Japan Stationery Museum and Kusawakeinari Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 28 km from DDD HOTEL.
Obi Hostel (1*)
Opened from April 2017, obi Hostel is conveniently situated a minute’s walk from Bakuro-yokoyama Subway Station and within a minute’s walk from Bakurocho Station A1 Exit. Direct trains are available from Haneda and Narita international airports to the nearest train station. Free WiFi access is offered throughout the entire property.
Hotel Vista Tokyo Tsukiji (4*)
Conveniently located in the Chuo Ward district of Tokyo, Hotel Vista Tokyo Tsukiji is 90 m from Nihon Tenji Seitei no Chi, 300 m from Chirori Memorial and 300 m from Shoyoji Temple. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Hojuji Temple, Ginza Core Shopping Mall and Namiyoke Inari Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 22 km from Hotel Vista Tokyo Tsukiji.
What do you think about Chuo Ward in Tokyo? Do you like finding out about the history and culture of this interesting area of Tokyo? There is so much history and unique things to do in this local neighbourhood of Tokyo, if you’re interested in coming for yourself, make sure to refer back to this blog.