First Apple Store in Japan to Be Demolished

John Hill
19. April 2022
Photo: Google Maps

The building in Tokyo's Ginza district that houses the first Apple Store to open in Japan — in 2003, when it was also the first Apple Store outside of the United States — will be demolished later this year.

When Apple Ginza opened on November 30, 2003, it became the 71st Apple Store (there are now more than 500), but only the first outside of the US, where at the time most of the tech company's stores were located in shopping malls. Anticipation was so great for the grand opening that roughly 2,500 people waited in the rain in a line that stretched for blocks around Ginza. 

Like most Apple Stores in the aughts, Apple Ginza was designed by Pennsylvania's Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which subsequently designed at least seven retails stores for Apple in Japan. Apple's five-story Tokyo flagship was designed as a glass skin in front of an existing building: the 8-story Sayegusa Building built in 1967, according to Japan Property Central's report on the forthcoming demolition.

In other Tokyo demolition news: April 12 marked the start of the demolition of one of the most important works of postwar architecture in Japan: Nakagin Capsule Tower.

The building that will replace the 55-year-old corner building at Matsuya-dori Street and Chuo-dori Avenue will be ten stories, reaching a height of 50 meters. With 4,001 m2 (43,000 sf), the new building will nearly replicate the floor area of the existing building, which has 3,940 m2 (42,400 sf). 

Demolition is expected to start in September, with the new office and retail building completed by late 2024. It remains to be seen in Apple will reopen its Ginza store in the new building.

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