The Shibuya area in Tokyo is a popular district for shopping, entertainment and nightlife. It’s located between the equally popular Shinjuku and Harajuku areas and a good central point to stay if you visit Tokyo. Most of the well-known shops and restaurants are located around Shibuya Station and you’ve probably seen pictures of the busy Shibuya Crossing or heard about Hachiko, the loyal dog’s statue. Here’s some of my recommendations on what to see and do in Shibuya.
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Shibuya is known for its youth fashion and culture and the area is filled with trendy shops and dozens of department stores. One of Tokyo’s most popular night clubs, Womb, is also located in the area.
Hachiko’s statue and Shibuya Corssing
If you arrive at Shibuya via trian/metro, be sure to follow the directions to the Hachiko exit. Here you’ll find the statue of the famously loyal dog Hachiko, who continued to wait for his master outside the station every day even after his master’s death. The movie with Richard Gere, Hachiko, is based on this true life story. Once you exit the station you’ll find yourself at the famous Shibuya crossing, the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. You can cross the street in organised chaos and go check out the views from the Starbucks in the QFRONT building. Beware this is a hugely popular spot for photos of the crossing for visitors and locals alike.
Shibuya 109 – Across Shibuya Station you’ll find Shibuya 109, a mall of ten floors filled with the newest fashion trends and youth culture. Take your time browsing here.
Tokyu Hands and Loft – The best lifestyle/creative stores around. Both shops have 7+ floors to explore.
Center Gai – A pedestrian area lined with shops, fashion boutiques, karaoke bars, etc. At night it’s filled with young people and I personally enjoyed the atmosphere of Shibuya and the Center Gai more than Shinjuku.
Koen-dori – Also called ‘Park Street’, Koen-dori will lead you straight to Yoyogi Park. On the corner you’ll find the MODI shopping complex and the rest of the street is filled with the Parco Department store and its affiliates.
Supeinzaka – Spanish Slope has a unique atmosphere with smaller boutique shops and restaurants.
Shibuya Mark City- Annexed to Shibuya Station, this is another Department store filled with a variety of clothing stores and good restaurants. The basement food floor is absolutely amazing and a good place to buy high quality snacks or a reasonably priced lunch. Taro Okamoto’s mural, depicting the nuclear attack of World War II, can be seen in the station concourse inside Shibuya Mark City.
Tower Records – I was so impressed with the old-school record shop feel of this place. With it’s massive 9 floors it’s one of Tokyo’s last remaining record shops in this digital era. The top floor has one of the best collections of English books I came across in Tokyo.
Shibuya is filled with entertainment options for everyone from cinema to karaoke to intimate ‘live houses’ to clubbing, manga cafes, izakayas, pachinko…you get the idea.
Little Love Hill – This is the place to go if you’re looking for clubs, bars and live house venues. The name ‘Little Love Hill’ comes from the high concentration of ‘Love Hotels’ renting rooms by the hour. Popular live house venues include Q-Nest and Quattro.
Clubs – Womb is one of the most popular clubs in Tokyo with four different dance floors. Club Asia is another popular Shibuya party spot, located on the Little Love Hill strip.
Dongenzaka is a good place to start your night with many dining and clubbing options.
Food and drink
The options in Shibuya are endless from fine dining to budget eats. Nonbei Yokocho is a tiny alleyway filled with small bars and restaurants next to the train tracks and close to the Hachiko Statue. Cerulean Tower has a bar on the 40th floor and offers a great bird eye’s view of Shibuya crossing. The department stores in Japan has a basement floor filled with food and the Tokyu Food Show in the Tokyu building next to Shibuya station was one of the best I’ve seen. A lot of great eats can be found here and it’s a good place to try some local produce. If you’re on a tight budget you can always pop into the Japanese hamburger chain store ‘MOS Burger’ or like me, grab a bowl of steaming tonkotsu ramen from Ichiran Ramen’s Shibuya branch next to Tower Records.
Shibuya has so many shops to explore. The nearby Cat Street has more secondhand/vintage shopping options. A visit to Shibuya can easily be joined with a trip to the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku and Omotesando or Shinjuku.
Where to stay:
I stayed in the coolest hostel and bar in the Dongenzaka area, Turn Table Hostel. They serve a great Japanese breakfast and it’s a short walk to the coolest hidden eateries and bars and the bustling Shibuya crossing. They’ve got dorm rooms and single/double rooms. Book here!
You might also like: Tips for booking accommodation in Toyko
How to get there:
Shibuya station is a busy station with many train connections. It conveniently has connections with the Narita Express, to and from the airport. Shibuya is connected with the following lines: JR Yamanote Line, JR Saikyo Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Hanzomon Subway Line, Ginza Subway Line, Fukutoshin Subway Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line, Tokyu Den-Entoshi Line, Keio Inokashira Line and the Narita Express.
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