各ジャンルに精通する個性豊かなエディターたちが、GINZA SIXをぶらぶらと

GINZA SIX Is Fun Whenever

澤田 真幸


I live just on the other side of the Sumida River, so Ginza is close by. I’ll often go and wander around on my own time. Many things about the Ginza district are appealing, but what I like most is its inclusiveness. The main streets are decorated resplendently and lined with high-end fashion houses and stores of the highest rank, both in terms of price and status. At the same time, if you wander down one of the side streets, you’ll immediately come across tasteful establishments that have operated for a hundred years or more, along with welcoming places popular with regular folk. Alongside the glitter and high end, it is also full of stores and restaurants, which make Ginza less intimidating. The bottom line is its scope is broad, with an inclusiveness that makes Ginza a delightful place to visit whenever and for whatever reason.

I see this same quality in GINZA SIX, which features many unique stores from around the world. Visiting feels like an international tour. Each time I go, I feel the same excitement I feel when I go to a theme park. In the nearly two years since its doors opened, this excitement hasn’t waned. It’s always fun to go, even if you have no specific goal. I went and wandered GINZA SIX once again this time with that same sense of excitement.

Heading inside and up to the second floor, you come across a spacious atrium and a giant art installation overhead. GINZA SIX has many places for photos, but I like this space best. The view from the escalators to the upper floors is inspiring. As you go up, the view expands before your eyes, an entire town unfolding before you. My heart flutters no matter how many times I see it. The atrium artwork changes every half year or so, I’m told. The current work is a piece by Nicolas Buffe. A new installation by Chiharu Shiota is scheduled to go up on February 27. I look forward to seeing this new view as well.

I continue up the escalator to the fifth floor. It occurs to me, suddenly, that the business card holder I currently use is well worn, so I decide to check out SOMÈS SADDLE, an establishment founded in Utashinai, Hokkaido, in 1964. It’s the only maker of horse harnesses in Japan. The company supplies leather products such as saddles to some of the world’s top jockeys, as well as equipment for horse-drawn carriages maintained by the Imperial Household Agency. It also makes bags, wallets, and other leather goods. I did some research on the bags here once before for an article, and I was impressed by the company’s dedication to the quality of its leather and its uncompromising stance on handcrafting everything it makes. I’ve been interested in the brand ever since.

I first take a look at the brand’s standard HANOVER series business card holder (14,000 yen; all prices listed before tax), made of shell cordovan leather, a luxury equine leather made from rare material beneath the hide on the rump of a horse. Cordovan isn’t as water resistant as other leathers and can stain if it gets wet, which is the downside, but it’s deep gloss and coloring have great appeal.

Besides cordovan, some products are made with calf leather. These, too, are indisputably of the highest quality. After looking at the business card holders, I check out the bags. After signing designer Hiroshi Tsubouchi, SOMÈS SADDLE launched its HT Label in 2014. I’m especially intrigued by the BOSTON L (180,000 yen) in this series. The leather’s soft, and the rounded handles made with sewing machines used to make horse harnesses are sturdy and feel comfortable in the hand. The four bottom corners are thick cowhide leather to put to rest worries about dirt and wear. I often go on three-day/two-night trips with a backpack. I find myself thinking this Boston would also work.

SOMÈS SADDLE products, whether business card holders or bags, all have an understated refinement. They inspire you to use and maintain them for long with a special a sense of care. With proper care, leather products last a lifetime. An eye for the latest trends is commendable, but the joy of owning and cherishing something for years and years has an appeal all its own. The feel and color of a leather product deepens with use and over time. Unique qualities emerge. The article merges with the life you strive to lead, and you find yourself suddenly very attached. SOMÈS SADDLE also offers comprehensive line of services. The store will inscribe your name on a product, free of charge. The maintenance space within the store will oil the leather for you, another complimentary service that also happens to be essential to the care and maintenance of leather goods. And if something breaks, the dedicated repair team has you covered.

My next stop is CIBONE CASE, a spinoff of CIBONE in Minami Aoyama. It has a conspicuous presence, even on the fourth floor, among all the lifestyle shops. They carry all sorts of products selected without regard for category, including works by creators in Japan and abroad and products from contemporary Japanese makers. I like interior products of all kinds and tend to check out the various stores that sell these products, but the selection here is right up my alley. Whenever I come to GINZA SIX, I stop in and look at the showcases for decorative ideas.

Some of the thoughts that go flitting through my head: “Using something like that in that way, that’s sheer genius!” and “Hmmm, I bet this would make a nice accent piece.” I go around the store imagining worlds of possibilities. The store features a corner gallery with new exhibitions every month or so, a great way to discover new artists and yet another thing to look forward to. You’ll also find well designed products that pleasingly accentuate our day-to-day lives. The sheer joy of discovery every time you visit makes you lose track of time.

There’s a lot I want, but this time I choose just two. One is this work by Akio Torii (3,981 yen), who operates a ceramics studio in Saitama Prefecture. It’s made by baking a clay mass in a kiln and polishing the surface. At first glance, it looks like a tea caddy, but one lacking a lid. It’s a ceramic cylinder, to put it bluntly. You can use it as a paperweight or put it somewhere as an accessory of some sort. The uses are endless. What can I use it for? It transcends its function as a simple implement and tests the imagination of the person using it. It would make a good gift, too.

These colorful vessels are the work of Yoshinori Takemura, whose atelier is located in Chiba Prefecture. They lack a common recurring pattern to unite them. The artist’s style is to conceive forms and colors in the moment. Each and every work has a different form and color scheme, and all have their own appeal. Honestly, I want them all, but the single-flower vase (Short Piece B, 5,000 yen) is especially appealing. What should I put inside? Where should I place it? Spending time in this way imagining new possibilities for your life and living spaces is oddly delightful.

Finally I make my way down to the second belowground floor, the Food Floor. I’m planning to meet someone later. Since I habitually try to have something small for people when I meet them, I’ve come to find a little gift. But finding gifts like this is hard. If you start to think about quantity, price, appearance, flavor, and so on…the considerations can go on forever. Knowing what makes a commendable gift, I would argue, is one measure of a refined adult.

Recommended by one adult of this stripe is Jingoro. Jingoro is the first store opened in Tokyo by Ishidaya Honten, a traditional purveyor of rice crackers (senbei) established in 1907 in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. It’s known, of course, for its rice crackers. Of these, Takumi (Meister’s Senbei), available exclusively at GINZA SIX, are touted as masterpieces. Some people, I’m told, even make special trips to GINZA SIX just for them.

They’re made from a blend of glutinous and non-glutinous rice and have a perfect crunchiness and rich flavor. Six flavors are available: salt, seaweed and salt, seaweed and soy sauce, shrimp, sesame miso, and granulated plums. Salt (1,200 yen for 18) tends to be the most popular. They’re even better than advertised—you experience a distinct, refined, salty goodness as soon as you put one in your mouth. The stylish packaging, too, helps make them the perfect small gift.

The store also displays variously flavored senbei throughout. You can try the ones that strike your fancy. Since I like spicy food, I ask for the Spicy Curry (445 yen). Most curry flavored foods out there aren’t spicy enough, but these are plenty spicy, so I’m more than satisfied. Based on their recommendation, I also try the Cilantro (445 yen). I don’t normally like cilantro, but I’m told: “It’s precisely people who don’t like cilantro who should try these.” I do, and, well…they taste a bit like cilantro. But there’s also a hint of lemon here. I don’t dislike them; I kind of like them, actually.

The store is named after Hidari Jingorō, the legendary sculptor who carved the famous sleeping cat at the Nikko Toshogu shrine. Hidari Jingorō, of course, is shrouded in mystery, and some say he wasn’t even a real person, but the name is associated with distinctive sculptures in some 100 locations around Japan. Those who openly display erudition lack sophistication, but I’m thankful to have this little bit of information to go with the gift I bought. On this point as well, I can recommend Jingoro.

Come to wander, with no particular purpose or plan. You’ll still enjoy delightful encounters and go home deeply fulfilled. For me, GINZA SIX is a place that deepens the joy of day-to-day life. Having establishments like this, I think, can only enrich one’s life. I’m glad there’s a GINZA SIX.

Text:Masayuki Sawada Photos:Yuichi Sugita Edit:Yuka Okada


澤田 真幸





シボネ ケース




2019.02.08 UP