Shibuya Guide Tokyo

Tokyo Area Guide: Shibuya 渋谷

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo.
Shibuya Crossing by Night, Tokyo

Shibuya usually refers to the intensely commercial area around Shibuya Station. Broadly speaking, Shibuya is a ward of Tokyo flanked to the north by Nakano and Shinjuku wards, and, to the east, by Minato ward. It contains areas of interest such as Daikanyama and Harajuku.

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo.
Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo
Shibuya by night, Tokyo.
Shibuya by night, Tokyo

Shibuya is one of Tokyo's three biggest sub-metropolitan centers, or fukutoshin, the other two being Shinjuku and Ikebukuro.

Shibuya is a major center of Japanese youth culture. The archetypal Shibuya denizen is the Shibuya gyaru ("gal") with her dyed-blond hair, bright pink make-up, mini-skirt, elaborate blingy manicure, and don't-care attitude. However, the streets of Shibuya are alive with everything that calls itself "fashion."

Although the department stores in Shibuya also draw the more matronly set, it is teenagers who dominate the scene here. If you need to know which cell phone has the latest gadgets, and who of the younger generation are causing consternation among their elders, and how, then Shibuya is the place to be.

Shibuya Shopping

The most popular part of Shibuya for youth culture is Center-Gai, a street directly across from the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station and the famous Shibuya Crossing, its entrance marked by a Starbucks. Center Gai Street and the surrounding area is very explorable, full of street-style clothing shops and youth entertainment spots.

The other major street, Dogenzaka, sloping up to your left on coming out of the Hachiko Exit, is lined with bars and entertainment for the more mature, but no less hip, crowd.

About 300 meters north of Shibuya Station, up Meiji-dori Avenue, is where Cat Street (real name, Kyu-Shibuya-gawa 旧渋谷川) starts, joining with Omotesando about 700 meters further north-east, running behind, and parallel to, Meiji-dori Avenue. Cat Street is full-on street hip, with slightly grittier fashion than the strictly high-street Omotesando, for the young and the switched on.

Read more about Shibuya shopping.

Watch a short YouTube movie of Shibuya

Hachiko Statue, Shibuya Station, Shibuya, Tokyo.
Hachiko Statue, Shibuya Station, Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya most well-known landmark is a statue of Hachiko the faithful dog of the 1920's and 1930's, who waited for his master, a Tokyo university professor, long after the professor had passed away.

Hachiko's remains are preserved in the National Museum of Nature and Science and his statue remains a popular rendezvous point at Shibuya Station to this day. In fact, the station exit in front of it is named the Hachiko Exit!

"Love Hotel Hill" is a strip of short-stay hotels - or love hotels - located near the Tokyu department store.

Shibuya street scene, Tokyo.
Shibuya, Tokyo
Shibuya street scene, Tokyo.
Shibuya, Tokyo

The Tobacco and Salt Museum which displays the various uses of tobacco and salt throughout history, both of which were government monopolies in Japan until recently has moved from Shibuya to a new site near Tokyo Skytree. Cigarette packets, pipes and tobacco-smoking paraphernalia from around the globe.
Read more about the Tobacco and Salt Museum

The Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) Electric Power Museum (Denryokukan) is 8 high-tech floors of cultural, technical and scientific information connected to electricity generation. Includes an art gallery, a library, interactive displays, scale model of a nuclear power plant, and a cinema. Limited English information available. Hours: 10am-6pm, closed Wed. (unless Wed. is a public holiday, then closed Thu.) Free entry.
1-12-10 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel. 03 3477 1191
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Shibuya Access - Getting to Shibuya

Shibuya Station connects with the following train lines:

  • JR Yamanote Line
  • JR Saikyo Line
  • Tokyu Den-en Toshi Line
  • Keio Inokashira Line
  • Hanzomon Subway Line
  • Ginza Subway Line
  • Fukutoshin Subway Line
  • Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo.
    Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya, Tokyo
    Shibuya Center-Gai Street, Tokyo.
    Shibuya Center-Gai Street, Tokyo

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