Location: Sayegusa Honkan (Sayegusa company headquarters), 5-12 Ginza, 3-Chome, Chuo-Ko, Tokyo, Japan; at the corner of Ginza-dori and Matsuya-dori Streets, in the Ginza shopping district, and not far from the Imperial Palace.

Number: 72

Grand Opening: Sunday, November 30, 2003, 10 a.m.

First in Line: Devin, 6 a.m. Saturday morning, followed by Youichi and another Japanese citizen at 9 a.m.

Building: Technically called the "Sayegusa Honkan Building" built in 1965, it previously housed Sumitomo Bank on the ground floor, and was completely reconstructed to house this "high-profile" store, the first to open outside the United States. The 8-story building includes other tenants on the 6th through 8th floors, including several law firms. Apple's retail space is located on the first five floors, and occupies about 20,000 square-feet. The 5th-floor Studio Training Center holds hands-on classes will be held for prices of 11,000¥, 16,000¥ or 22,000¥ ($100, $146 and $200).

The store is organized by floor:

B1 - tenant parking garage, storage
1F - Pro / Home
2F - Genius Bar / Movies / Music / Photo
3F - Theater, tiered, with 84 seats
4F - Accessories / Software / Kids / Internet Café
5F - Studio Training Center
6F-8F - other tenants, including law firms & Apple offices

There is a vehicle entrance off an alley at the back of the building that leads to an underground parking garage.

The building was designed by architects from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (Calif.), the associated architect was Gensler (worldwide), the structural and facade engineer was Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners Inc. (London-NY), the mechanical and electrical engineering was done by Flack + Kurtz Inc. (NYC), and the lighting design was by ISP Design Inc. (Miami). Project management was provided by Sato Facilities Consultants Inc. (Tokyo). The Kajima Corp. also provided design and development work on the project, and was builder. Many of these companies have also worked on other Apple retail store projects.

Features: This is definitely a showcase store for Apple, and the first store outside the United States: the outside façade is vertical, bead-blasted stainless steel panels (lower floors), and glass curtain walls and ceramic printed glass (upper floors). There are large white Apple logos on two sides of the building. There is a 10-foot, narrow display window on the side of the building. The front of the building is glass with two narrow steel panels on the sides, with doors in the center. The interior of the store models U.S. stores: natural wood tables, bright lights, stone floors, hands-on product displays, etc. What's different: a pair of constantly-running elevators from ground to 4th floor, an 84-seat demonstration theater on the 3rd floor, a 27-foot long Genius bar, and Mac Specialists speaking 10 different languages.

There is "crown" logo on the Matsuya-dori Street side that resembles the Rolex trademark, but is related to the owners of the building, the old-time Sayegusa family business that's still headquartered on the upper floors. At the back of the building, there is an outline-only (stealth!) Apple logo above the parking garage entrance--nice touch!

Check this description of the store from a architectural viewpoint.

Employees: 140, speaking 10 languages. The company began advertising job openings in early 2002, including the usual Mac Specialist, Manager and HR Manager positions. Several Ginza store employees trained at west coast Apple stores during October 2003. A Burlingame (N. Calif.) Apple store visitor told MacMinute they encountered several Japanese employees during a visit to the store during the Panther roll-out on Oct. 24th. The store manager is Steve Cano, no stranger to this high-pressure job: he also managed Palo Alto (Calif.) and SoHo (NYC) when they opened.

Other: In Sept. 2004 Apple reported the store hosts 4,000 visitors a day compared to 800 a day for U.S. stores, and sells ¥100 million ($913,000) a week in products, compared to about $283,000 a week for U.S. stores.

Media:

  • My complete coverage of the grand opening, including photos and video updates.
  • Apple's photos of the grand opening
  • Japanese photos of grand opening
  • MacCentral's story on the Ginza opening
  • Japan Consuming story on the grand opening
  • "The Longest Line" video by Masanori Fukumoto, about 10 minutes of someone walking the grand opening line!
  • Keith Finch's photos: the sidestreet and Ginza sides of the building just before the opening
  • collection of photos just after scaffolding and tarps were removed in Nov. 2003
  • Fetzer's Inc. collection of photos

Other Web pages of information about the store:

  • Apple's Ginza Web page [English / Japanese]
  • Press release on Ginza grand opening
  • During a Nov. 5th analysts' meeting, Ron Johnson revealed additional details about the store.
  • Map of the Ginza district
  • Photo tour of the district, with some QTVR photos
  • Business-related discussion on the Bitcafe Web site.
  • The Macrumors Web site has discussion of the Ginza store
  • Mac News Network article on a suspected site for the Ginza store (now confirmed)
  • An Inquirer story on the Ginza store location
  • View this QTVR view of the intersection where the Apple store is located, at Ginza-dori St. and Matsuya-dori St., just a block from the center of the district. When the photo appears, swivel to the right--the building is beyond the man with the red jacket who's in the street taking a photo, and it has a vertical, red-and-white banner. The building has been reconstructed and looks differently now. Compare it with the Inquirer photo (link above).
  • This photo shows the former Sumitomo Matsui bank building where the Apple store will open.
  • List (perhaps a little outdated) of restaurants in the Ginza area... if you're attending the grand opening... or this list of American-style restaurants.
  • MacObserver's photos of other computer retailers in the Ginza
  • Night photos of Ginza store
  • the Sayegusa Building before renovation (see bottom photo below) ex-patriot's blog about the store
  • follow-up on the store after it opened (Jan. 2004)

as of 11-19-2003 [photo by Keith]

as of 10-1-2003

Sayegusa Building, before renovation began. Note the sign on top of
the building, now replaced with a rotating back-lit Apple logo.