Shibuya

Where many of Japan's fashion trends come from

 By Francesco Agresti   Nov 30, 2011

If you could only choose one place to shop in Tokyo, then Shibuya is the place to be. Famous for its busy and colorful district, packed to the gills with shops, restaurants, clubs and avid shoppers. Shibuya is also famous for its enormous intersection which hundreds of people crossing at any one time. You can even experience this marvelous view from the second story window of the probably most profitable Starbucks in the world.

Just around the corner you will find Center Gai, a busy pedestrian area filled with shops selling the latest wear and accessories. Strolling through this neon lit zone is an experience in itself. For the ladies it would be a sin to miss out on the iconic cylindrical building that is known as Shibuya 109, where you can find hundreds of boutiques spanning ten floors of fashionable goodness. However, do not fear gents, because there is a Shibuya 109 Men opposite from Starbucks, although not as grand as its counterpart.

Over a dozen department stores are dotted around the area, where corporate giants Seibu and Tokyu own the majority of them. As for dining, you are spoilt for choice since you can find pretty much any type of cuisine to suit even the fussiest of eaters. You can entertain yourself endlessly by going the one of the many game centers, indoor sports facilities, cinemas, clubs, bars, the list goes on.

However, do not fear if you are a bit scared of the crowds; there is much more to discover in the surprisingly quiet back streets. I am thinking of the goat cafe just a 5-minute walk from the station. In that same are is a wonderful macrobiotic cafe, run by a young couple, and they serve excellent vegan but very creative food. For a very different bar experience, check out Nonbei Yokocho, or Drunkard’s Alley, also just a stone's throw away from the station—just to give you a few ideas.

Shibuya’s icon is the infamous Hachiko dog statue, situated next to the train station's exit with the same name (Hachiko exit). You can see people taking snaps of the floppy-eared canine with their cell phone cameras at any given moment. This is quite possibly the most famous waiting area in all of Japan, as is evident by the dense crowd that engulfs the area. If you actually want to find someone who is waiting for you in this area, then I advise you to meet in front of the green train carriage adjacent to Hachiko.

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Nicole Bauer 2 years ago
Shibuya is busy indeed :-) However, there are also a lot of quiet side alleys to explore, as soon as you move away from the major streets - always worth it!
Yik Kho 2 years ago
The Hachiko dog is just too cute. That aside, Looks very busy, Shibuya!
Sarah Conde 3 years ago
I'm not going to lie, Shibuya 109 is overwhelming! It's definitely something to experience, but I found it hard to shop with so much going on.