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Nicolas G. Hayek Center

Shigeru Ban Architects

Asia | Tokyo

The Ginza district dates back to the dawn of the Edo period (1603-1867). In 1869, when the city known as Edo became Tokyo, the area was still a conglomeration of two-storey wooden houses, occupied by merchants and craftsmen. Located east of the Musashino highlands, with its fortress castle later to become the imperial palace, the area contrasted with the hills of Yamanote to the west, home to the daimyo, or feudal lords, the hatamoto, or standard bearers, and the samurai, warrior class.
Ginza developed as a series of small narrow strips mirroring the allotments of the original traders and craftsmen. Subsequent property accumulation allowed the building of the first high-rises and department stores, making Ginza one of the first Tokyo neighbourhoods to embrace the wave of modernisation that swept the country with the opening to the west around 1870 at the time of the Meiji...

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