Shibuya (渋谷) is a shopping and eating district popular with a lot of young Tokyoites. Shibuya encompasses two other large shopping districts - Omotesando and Harajuku with Yoyogi Park and the Meiji Jingu shrine. The nightlife district of Ebisu is in the south of Shibuya.
Shibuya deserves a prize as the district with more two-story televisions than any other area in the world.
Most of the action in Shibuya is in the hectic blocks to the northwest of the JR station. The best place to get oriented is the Hachikō (ハチ公) exit, which opens onto the famous five-way "scramble crossing" under the giant video screen. From left to right at the edges of the square are...
- Keio Inokashira line station
- Dōgenzaka (道玄坂) slope
- 109 building
- Bunkamura-dōri (文化村通り) street
- Center-gai (センター街 Sentaa-gai) street
- Q-FRONT building featuring a large Starbucks and the monstrous video screen
- Kōen-dōri (公園通り) street
- Inokashira-dōri (井の頭通り), branching to the left after the Seibu Department Store
- 109-2 building
- JR line tracks to Harajuku.
The area to the south of the station is bounded by a highway, so there's not much more than bus terminals (on both sides) and the Tōkyū Plaza department store.
One-seat train service is available from Narita Airport to Shibuya on the Narita Express. Trains run every 30-60 minutes and make the run to Shibuya in 70 minutes at a cost of ¥3190. Alternatively you can take the Keisei Skyliner to Nippori station and change to the JR Yamanote Line (approx. 75 minutes, ¥2670).
Budget travelers can take a regular Keisei limited express from Narita Airport to Nippori and change to the Yamanote Line (approx. 110 minutes, ¥1230). In the evenings, faster Access Tokkyu trains from Narita Airport to Nippori shave 20 minutes off the overall travel time against an extra charge of ¥210.
Airport limousine buses run from Narita to the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu and the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel (90-120 min, ¥3100). Discount bus tickets for foreigners are available to the Tokyo City Air Terminal, or T-CAT (1 hour, ¥1900); from there, the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Subway can bring you to Shibuya Station (20 min, ¥200).
From Haneda Airport, Shibuya can be reached by taking the Keikyu Airport Line to Shinagawa and changing to the JR Yamanote Line (approx. 35 minutes, ¥580). Limousine buses also run from Haneda to the hotels listed above (1 hour, ¥1030).
Shibuya's station is a notoriously convoluted web of passageways. Follow the signage and you should find your way out (or in).
- JR Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line
- Tokyu Tōyoko Line, Den-en-toshi Line
- Keio Inokashira Line
- Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (G01), Hanzomon Line (Z01), Fukutoshin Line (F16)
The Tōkyū Tōyoko line is the cheapest and most convenient way to visit Yokohama. It is several stories underground where services continue on to the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line for points north.
A symbol of loyalty
Hachikō, an Akita dog, was born in 1923 and taken as a pet by Hidesaburō Ueno, a Tokyo University professor in his 50s, who loved Hachiko very much and doted on him constantly, taking him for long walks, always brushing him, and even taking baths with him inside the home. He treated Hachiko as truly one of the family.
For a year, Hachiko always walked to the train station with Ueno in the mornings, going home by himself. He would then return every day exactly when the train was due to wait outside the station for to Ueno come home. Locals and train station staff recognized the pair and knew that they had a special bond.
On May 21, 1925, Ueno died suddenly while he was teaching at the university. Hachiko went to pick up Ueno from the station as usual, but he never came. However, Hachiko never stopped waiting. Although taken in by Ueno's former gardener, for almost 10 more years Hachiko returned to the station exactly when the train was due to wait for Ueno. The story was picked up and popularized by Japanese newspapers, and "Faithful Dog Hachiko" (忠犬ハチ公 chūken Hachikō) became a minor celebrity while he still lived, attending the inauguration of his own statue in 1934. He passed away the next year, but his story lives on — and you can still pay him a visit in the collections of the National Science Museum in Ueno ward, or see a statue of him reunited with Ueno at the University of Tokyo campus in Bunkyo. You can also visit Hachiko's hometown of Odate, or see a statue of the pair in Ueno's hometown of Hisai in Tsu, Mie prefecture. You can pay your respects at the graves of Ueno and his unmarried partner of 10 years Yaeko Sakano, whom Hachiko also loved, in Aoyama Cemetery in Minato.
- 1 Shibuya Crossing. The famous crossing sees people crossing in every direction en masse. The second floor of the Starbucks is known to be a great spot to take photos of the crazy pedestrian crossing. However, the store layout prevents you from access without buying anything. Not jumping the cue is enforced.
- 2 Hachikō (ハチ公). A diminutive statue of a dog tucked away in one corner of the big plaza outside the station, best known as a meeting place and for the story (see box). It is also the name of one of the many exits from Shibuya Station and the prime meeting place before a night out. Just hanging out near Hachiko for a while will give you some great people-watching opportunities.
- 3 Center Gai (センター街 Sentaa-gai). The narrow street leading away from the station to the left of the giant video screen, it's famous as the birthplace of many of Japan's youth fashion trends. Center Gai is jam-packed with clothing stores, music stores, and video game arcades. This is a great place to stroll and feel the Shibuya vibe.
- 4 Bunkamura. Bunkamura-dori. A complex featuring an excellent art museum, in addition to theaters for film and stage plays. On the basement floor there's an art and design bookstore as well as a branch of Paris' famous Les Deux Magots café.
- 5 Hikarie (Hikarie). Hikarie is a brand new massive building on the East side of Shibuya station with many restaurants, galleries, and theaters.
- 6 Myth of Tomorrow (明日の神話, Ashita no shinwa). A huge mural by famous artist Tarō Okamoto, it commemorates the Hiroshima atomic bombing. In it, a human figure burns and others appear to run from flames. The mural is at the entrance of the Inokashira line, 100 m from Hachikō. It was built in Mexico, found there in 2004 and brought to Japan in 2005.
- 7 Yamatane Museum of Art (山種美術館, Yamatane bijutsukan) (a short walk from Ebisu station), ☏ . Daily 10:00-17:00. Specializes in modern Japanese-style paintings and has a notable collection though only a handful are on display at one time due to preservation issues. ¥600 for adults.
- 8 NTT DoCoMo Building (sometimes called DoCoMo Tower). This gigantic tower resembling a granite Empire State Building, south of the station, is owned by NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest cell-phone carrier. The upper part of the building is a mobile communications tower.
- 9 Southern Terrace, a cross from the South Exit of Shinjuku Station (the Southern Terrace exit from JR Shinjuku station is closest). The promenade next to the Southern Terrace exit offers a magnificent view of the Takashimaya department store and a bridge that offers the best views for watching the trains enter and exit.
There are movie theaters and electronics stores nearby.
Shibuya has lots and lots of interesting shopping opportunities. It's the home of the huge Tokyu conglomerate (railways, department stores, hotels, housing developments), and thus practically every major store in the area has Tokyu in its name.
Anime & manga
- 1 Mandarake, BEAM B2F, Udagawa 31-2. Massive shop devoted to manga, anime, hentai, dojinshi, figurines and collectible offshoots.
- 2 NHK Studio Park, Jinnan 2-2-1 (end of Koen-dori). Studio sightseeing operation run by the national broadcaster NHK, home to a gift shop selling the widest collection of Domo-kun figures on the planet.
Shibuya is the center of Japanese youth culture and it shows.
- 3 0101 (Marui). Department store with all of the usual high-end brands.
- 4 109 Building (Ichi-maru-kyu). Teenage fashion. Worth an escalator trip.
Shibuya has copious music shopping opportunities, but expect some sticker shock as Japanese CDs often clock in at ¥3000+; imports are usually cheaper! In addition to the superstores below, also check out the miniature alternative ghetto (Jinnan 11 and nearby, just past Tokyu Hands), full of tiny specialist record shops.
- Disk Union, Antenna 21, Udagawa 30-7 (Center-gai). Used and new record dealer with floors each specializing in punk, rock, jazz and dance music.
- RECOfan, BEAM 4F, Udagawa 31-2 (and other outlets incl. one on Center-gai). Good shopping for second-hand music in this cavernous hall: all records are categorized and alphabetized for quick browsing, and prices start at ¥100.
- Tower Records, Jinnan 1-22-14 (Koen-dori). For a while the largest record store in the world, now merely mind-bogglingly huge. Good selection of English books and magazines on the top floor, in addition to 6 other floors of J-pop, Western rock, jazz, classical and DVDs.
- For musical equipment, there's a good cluster of shops just southwest of the JR station. (Take the pedestrian overpass to cross the highway.)
- Tokyu Hands, 12-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (end of Center-gai), ☏ . Promoted as "Creative Life Store", Tokyu Hands has everything from do-it-yourself, interior, hobby, crafts, outdoors to stationery and more. The Shibuya store spans eight floors.
- 5 Tokyu Hands, Sendagaya 5-24-2 (within Takashimaya near the JR Shinjuku New South Exit), ☏ . This is a large variety goods shop, and if "large" doesn't impress you, you have probably never faced the dilemma which kind of sand to use for your model railway. Because here, you can choose from a dozen kinds of sand alone - from yellow Sahara sand to reddish Nullarbor sand, everything in handy plastic packets. This shop is the best proof that in a rich mega city, there is a clientele for anything. You can buy almost anything you want. Also a good travel luggage section, and if you need a pen or pencil you will be overwhelmed with the choice.
- Loft (near Tokyu building). Loft is Seibu's answer to Tokyu Hands, also offering a large array of products related to interior, hobby, crafts and gifts, but with a slightly less strong emphasis on do-it-yourself. The Loft Shibuya branch consists of seven floors.
- 6 Takashimaya, Sendagaya 5-24-2 (New South Exit and the Southern Terrace Exit from the JR Shinjuku Station; the southern-most department store in Shinjuku, between the JR Shinjuku and JR Yoyogi stations), ☏ . This department store caters towards the mid-20s and up, along with families. The depachika is comparable to Isetan, but not as famous. Look for Tokyu Hands and Books Kinokuniya at the Southern end of the department store.
You can't turn around without spotting a handful of restaurants here-- from ¥100 noodles to top notch gourmet food.
- 1 Kujiraya (くじら屋), Dogenzaka 2-29-22 (Bunkamura-dori, just past 109, opposite Baskin-Robbins.), ☏ . The specialty and only food here is whale meat dishes, which are very rare elsewhere. Human consumption of whale meat is controversial and has been denounced by detractors on wildlife conservation, toxicity, and animal rights grounds. The restaurant hands out pro-whaling propaganda pamphlets. Lunch sets from ¥1300, dinner ¥2000 up.
- 2 Murghi (ムルギー), Dogenzaka 2-19-2, ☏ . closed Fridays and Thursday evenings. Founded in 1951, when the owner decided to serve the kind of curry he had enjoyed in Burma before World War II. 1050¥.
- 3 Tokyu Department Store (right on top of the train station). A superb food section in the basement with enough free samples to make a full lunch, if you don't mind not having a place to sit.
- 4 Gonpachi, 3-6 Maruyama-cho Shibuya-ku 14F (halfway between Shibuya station and Inokashira Line's Shinsen station), ☏ . Main restaurant 11:30-03:30, sushi bar 11:30-14:00, 17:00-02:00. Trendy eatery specializing in soba, with a separate sushi bar in the back.
- 5 Tokyo Bellini Caffe, 20-15 Udagawa-cho (8F Humax pavilion Shibuya park-dori), ☏ . Lunch 11:00-16:00, tea 16:00-17:00, dinner 17:00-23:00. This is a casual Italian restaurant. There are many kind of delicious pastas and lunch which is changed weekly.
- 6 [dead link] Sweets Paradise (スイーツパラダイス), Shibuya Parco Part3 3F, 14-5 Udagawacho (Third floor in Parco Part3), ☏ . Daily 10:00-21:00. This is a buffet style restaurant. You can eat as much as you can. There are a lot of sweets such as cakes, pies, yogurt, jelly, and some Japanese sweets like dumpling, anko, and warabimochi. And there are not only sweets but also some pastas, sandwiches, curry and rice, and salad, so it's good for lunch and dinner. ¥1,480 adults, ¥840 children.
- 7 Kyosuzu (広尾京寿々), Shibuya, Hiroo 3-17-1-1F,13 minutes for JR and Hibiya line Ebisu station (East), ☏ . 12:00-15:00, 18:00-00:00. This restaurant serves Japanese dishes. Around ¥15,000, rice balls for ¥630.
- 8 Restaurant Kinoshita, 3-37-1 Yoyogi Shibuya-ku (Next to the Design Festa Art Gallery and), ☏ . 12:00-14:00, 18:00-21:00, closed Mondays and the third Tuesday of each month. Kinoshita makes eating French food in Japan justifiable. Some say that with its underpriced menu, dinner courses for ¥3800-¥7000, and weekday lunches for ¥1800, this restaurant is considered one of the best kept secrets in Tokyo. But in fact it is popular, and reservations are mandatory. Menu in French and Japanese.
Shibuya is a major center for nightclubs, music, and dancing. Also, Nonbei-yokochō (のんべい横丁), magically shielded from decades of commercial development, is a narrow alley running alongside the east side of the Yamanote tracks just north of the station. It's packed with traditional yakitori taverns as well as some modern, extremely tiny bars. The district was formed in 1955, and a few of the shops have been operating since then.
- 1 Cafe Apres-Midi (カフェ・アプレミディ), 1-9-11 Jinnan 2F (10 min. north of Shibuya station), ☏ . Jazzy cafe with 1660s decor in moody lighting. Excellent food, try the quiche, although portions are small
- 2 M/13 Cafe, 1-16-14 Metoro Plaza, 2F (east side of JR station, north along tracks), ☏ . Well-lit cafe with large second-floor windows, serving light meals, coffee and drinks. ¥1000.
- 3 Beat Cafe, 33-13-3B, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku (take the Hachiko exit of Shibuya station, cross the famous crossing, walk down Center Gai (a narrow shopping street) and its near the end (near an Outback Steakhouse restaurant), on the left, on the third floor; look for the sign that looks like an early 1980s two-tone album cover; a 10-minute walk), ☏ . Small cafe-bar-restaurant catering to the young alternative rock crowd. While showing constant videos from VH1 Classic on their TV, the easy drinking, simple eating crowd is about as friendly as they come. If you can't talk in your own native language, you can always discuss music. Cash only and drinks range from ¥500-1000.
- 4 Excelsior Cafe, 1-20-12 Jinnan, Toyama Building 1st/2nd Floors (just in front of Gap, on Shibuya Koen Dori [Street]), ☏ . Great coffee and delicious sandwiches, with a warm smile.
- The Aldgate, Shiniwasaki Bldg 3F, Udagawacho 30-4, ☏ . 18:00-02:00. Down to earth smoke-free British-style pub, with a large number of Japanese and international beers on tap and a large collection of British Rock music on vinyl.
- The Dubliners, 2F, 2-29-8 Dogenzaka, ☏ . An Irish pub popular among foreigners.
- Hobgoblin Shibuya, Ichiban Bldg 3F, 1-3-11, Dogenzaka, ☏ . 16:00 to late (weekdays), noon to late (weekends and holidays), last order 22:45. Outlet of the famous British micro-brewer Wychwood Brewery.
- Craftheads, 1-13-10 Jinnan, B1, ☏ . 17:00-00:00. Remarkable section of imported craft beers, and some domestic ones as well. Free WiFi. High ceilings, modern wood-and-concrete ambiance. Even pricier than the typical imported brew pub.
There are plenty of cheap and cheerful izakaya (Japanese pubs) scattered about Shibuya. The Watami and Outami chains offers good, but not too inspiring, watering holes.
- Bar Ishinohana (Bar石の華), Daini Yaki Bldg., B1, 3-6-2 (Back exit from Shibuya station, left hand side of Roppingi Dori), ☏ . Daily 18:00-02:00. Acclaimed high-end bar serving up drinks that are more works of art then cocktails.
- Happy Dining Ghetto, Center Building 3F, 25-5 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku. Serves izakaya-style fare: lots of fried food, including chiizuage (fried cheese), spicy French fries, edamame, pizza, and lots of foods with mayo! Asian fusion dinners served, but a bit on the pricy side (¥3000). Bar with extensive drink selection. American hip-hop plays overhead while the music videos play on monitors scattered about. Lots of fun, but know that it caters to the young, club-hopping Shibuya crowd.
- Kaji Maru, 28-1 Udagawa-cho (on a cross street between Bunkamura-dori and Center-gai, 2F), ☏ . M-Th 18:00-03:00, F Sa 18:00-05:00, Su 18:00-00:00. Kaji Maru is an atmospheric and smallish Asian-fusion izakaya one floor above the hubbub of Shibuya. An English menu is available. Individual plates ¥580-700. Draft beer ¥500, table charge ¥300.
- Tengu, 25-3 Udagawa-cho (B1; in an alley between Center-gai and Inokashira-dori). 18:00-00:00. Tengu is a part of a popular izakaya chain, which stands out from the rest mainly because they have an English menu.
- The Lock Up, 33-1 Udagawa-cho (just off Center-gai, Shibuya Grand Tokyo Bldg B2F), ☏ . M-Th 17:00-01:00, F Sa 17:00-05:00, Su 17:00-00:00. Even if you have no plans to eat, check out the approach to this theme izakaya, a long hallway more like a haunted house than the entrance to a restaurant. Inside you'll find a dungeon theme eatery featuring test tube cocktails, food with brutal names, uniformed mini-skirt-staff, handcuffs and prison breaks. Tell the staff it's your birthday for an extra special surprise! Plates range ¥400-820, draft beer ¥500.
- 5 Camelot, 神南1-18-2 神南坂フレームB2/B3, ☏ . Multi-room nightclub that plays a mix of hip-hop, r&b, and techno/house in their different areas. Most of the clientele is of a younger crowd (ages 20-25). Friday's entrance fee is only ¥1000 (including two drinks).
- 6 [formerly dead link] Club Air / FRAMES, B2 Hikawa Bldg, 2-11 Sarugaku, ☏ . Made a brief appearance in the movie Lost in Translation.
- 7 Club Atom / STUDIO-A, 4F/5F Dr.Jeekahn's Maruyamacho, ☏ . Owned by Vanilla, this club houses three dance floors with music ranging from psychedelic trance to hip-hop. Entrance fee is only ¥1000 before midnight.
- 8 Club Asia, Shibuya, Maruyama-chou, 1-8. Popular for trance music all night long.
- 9 Harlem, 2-4 Maruyamacho, Dr. Jeekahn's 2F, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Large two-floor all hip-hop club. Foreigners may not be admitted unless they bring along a Japanese friend. ¥3000, occasional discount if you enter before midnight.
- [dead link] Shibuya Nuts. Considerably smaller than the above mentioned nightclubs, has a good reputation among the hip-hop crowd in Tokyo and features occasional live performances.
- Vuenos (across the street from Club Asia). Owned by the same folks as Club Asia, and dedicated rap and r&b club with occasional live dance and rap performances.
- 10 Womb, Maruyama 2-16, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. One of Tokyo's largest clubs, designed by the people behind New York's Twilo and the setting of a scene in Babel. ¥3500 without drinks included.
- Rock West. A smaller, friendly club that specialised in underground techno, fairly well hidden on 7F of an office building. It's certainly one of the cheaper spots in the area. Cover charge of ¥1000 and most drinks around ¥500.
- Rock no Cocoro. Playing Indie, 'UK-Rock' and various themed nights including girl music and metal, this is characterized by the various touring rock bands that have passed through and signed the beer coasters that line the wall. No cover charge, and most drinks around ¥600.
If Shibuya's clubs aren't enough, hop on a free shuttle bus to Ageha, Tokyo's largest nightclub. Buses depart from the crossing of Roppongi-dori and Meiji-dori, opposite Shibuya police station, on the east ("wrong") side of Shibuya station.
Accommodation options in Shibuya are surprisingly limited. The hillside to the left of Dogenzaka is also known as Love Hotel Hill and indeed contains dozens of love hotels, although they're on the expensive side: figure on at least ¥10,000 for an overnight "stay".
- Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, 26-1 Sakuragaoka-cho, ☏ . A popular high-end hotel near the JR station. Also contains a large office complex, as well as some very expensive restaurants. ¥33,000.
- Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. A popular high-end hotel in the Mark City building.
- Tokyu Stay Shibuya, 8-14 Shinsen-cho, ☏ , fax: . Part of the Tokyu Stay chain, this hotel is popular with business travelers. Small kitchenettes, washer/dryers, and free LAN access in all rooms makes these a good value. Singles start at ¥9450, doubles at ¥17,850 per night. Slight discounts are offered for extended stays.
- Tokyu Stay Shibuya Shin-Minamiguchi, 3-26-21 Shibuya, ☏ , fax: . This is another outlet of the same chain.
- 1 Hotel Century Southern Tower (小田急ホテルセンチュリーサザンタワ), 2-2-1 Yoyogi, ☏ . Well furnished rooms with enough space to get around it. Very good breakfast buffer. Excellent views of the surrounding area from rooms and lobby, which is on the 20th floor.
- Tokyo/Harajuku, reachable within 15 minutes by walking North along Meiji Road.
- Ebisu, the next stop south on the JR Yamanote Line, is a quieter and more sophisticated version of the Shibuya scene.
- Shimokitazawa, just two stops down the Keio Inokashira line, offers trendy shops, restaurants and watering holes in a slightly less frenetic atmosphere.
- Kichijoji, at the other end of the Inokashira Line, has more of the same plus a park famed for its cherry blossoms.
|Routes through Shibuya|
|Tokyo/Nakano ← Tokyo/Shinjuku ←||W E||→ Tokyo/Chiyoda → Tokyo/Taito|