When Ieyasu moved his military capital to Edo in 1590, Ginza was all swamp and marshland. Once filled in, the area attracted tradesmen and merchants. The silver mint that provided Ginza’s name, “silver place,” was built in 1612.
In 1872 fire destroyed everything and, with the Meiji Restoration in full swing, the government ordered English architect Thomas Waters to rebuild the area in red brick. From then on it was the focus for Western influences and all things modern, and is still one of Tokyo’s great centers. Tiny shops selling traditional crafts mix with galleries, landmark department stores, and the ultra-modern Sony showroom for an unrivaled shopping experience.