By Ignatius Koh
Shibuya Station has been in operation since 1885 and it is one of the busiest stations in Tokyo and the fourth-busiest station in Japan. Being a tourist in this station can be a little bit daunting; however, if you learn how to navigate the crowds, you will be absolutely fine.
There are always streams of people walking in opposite directions all at once and yet somehow it all works. People at these busy stations are always courteous and aware of others around them despite being in a hurry to get somewhere. As a tourist it is beneficial to navigate this unspoken system to the best of your ability. For instance when you need to take a look at a map or get something out of your backpack make sure that you are standing out of the way. When taking the train, line up in the queue properly. You will notice how people wanting to board the train will step aside for the other passengers to exit the trains more efficiently.
Due to the high amount of foot traffic some new technology was tested at the station in 2009. This technology entailed mats placed on the floor that when walked over could generate electricity. The testing of this technology was also intended to bring about public support and awareness in finding clean energy-generating solutions.
Shibuya Station is relatively big and it helps to know some information about it. It is used by a few different companies, namely: JR (Japan Rail), Tokyo Metro and other private companies, Tokyu and Keio. There are several lines operating at Shibuya Station such as the Yamanote Line, Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line and the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. As a tourist I found the Yamanote Line to be the most useful as it stops at major stations and other popular urban areas such as Harajuku and Akihabara.
At the Shibuya Station there are six exits to choose from. If you are not sure where you want to go, my suggestion is always to take the Hachikō Exit. This will lead you right into the centre of the Shibuya shopping district. Assuming that you want to experience the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, the Hachikō Exit is the best place to go from. There are two department stores that are linked to the station: the Tokyu Department Store and Shibuya Mark City. Trying to navigate my way out of the station has led me through both of these department stores which can be a fun experience in itself. If you end up in the same situation just find the nearest exit, chances are you will see the scramble crossing right in front of you.
Shibuya Station and the surrounding area is a lively and vibrant place. There is something to do in every direction, I suggest experiencing the scramble crossing first and walking up one of main streets. Starbucks provides one of the best views of the crossing. Buy a coffee and find a place to sit on the second floor. This is one of the best people-watching experiences you can have.
Find out more about Shibuya Station
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I'm a young South African who has traveled many hours to visit the land of the rising sun. I'm a film studies postgraduate, with an interest in cinematography and photography. My mission is to document as much of Japan as possible for the duration of my stay.