Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Shibuya Travel Guide: Live In The Now In Tokyo's Trendsetting Heart
Written by Jumpei Kawashima
Shibuya, the center of Japanese youth culture, is a place that continues to inspire and create new trends. This complete guide to Shibuya covers everything you need to know, from how to reach Shibuya to the best sightseeing, dining and shopping spots!
All About Shibuya
Shibuya is a bustling district located near Shinjuku and Harajuku. It's an area that grew rapidly from redevelopment in the Showa period. Known as the heart of Japanese youth culture, it boasts countless shopping facilities and is always crowded with people.
The area attracts young people from all around, and is constantly creating new cultural trends. This article is a complete sightseeing guide of this trendy part of the city.
Guide to Shibuya
1. Shibuya Area Guide
2. Shibuya's Icon: Hachiko
3. Shibuya Station Explained
4. How to Reach Shibuya
5. Shopping in Shibuya
6. Culture Spots in Shibuya
7. Hotels in Shibuya
8. Dining in Shibuya
9. Clubs in Shibuya
10. To Enjoy Sightseeing in Shibuya
Shibuya Area Guide
Shopping Areas Around The Station
There are many shopping facilities around Shibuya Station. Many of these are home to various fashion stores. SHIBUYA 109 is the center of youth fashion, while Shibuya Hikarie offers items for older generations.
Some buildings boast popular Japanese variety stores like Tokyu Hands and LoFt. Explore near the station and you'll be sure to find something you like.
Shibuya is known mainly for its youth culture and bustling streets, but if you walk along the Center Gai street far enough, you will come across an area called Okushibuya. Here, visitors can find elegant cafes and unique fashion stores.
The Okushibuya area is also a high class residential area, and is popular as a spot for a quiet stroll around town. You might want to visit to get away from the hustle and bustle to see another side of Shibuya.
Cat Street Area
Cat Street is the road connecting Shibuya and Harajuku. The street is crowded with people shopping at the brand shops and cafes lining both sides of the street.
This area is also called Uraharajuku, and boasts many select shops from Japan. If you're looking to find some of the latest Japanese fashion trends, this is your go-to.
Aoyama and Mitake-dori Area
The Aoyama and Mitake-dori area is located a little way from Shibuya Station, around Aoyama-dori Avenue. It's in Minato ward, and boasts a refined atmosphere with elegant restaurants and luxury brand shops.
The area is also known for its artistic feel, and you can find buildings of modern architecture as well as museums like Nezu Museum and the Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square. The area is within walking distance, so we recommend you stop by.
Nanpeidai and Sakuragaoka Area
To the west of Shibuya Station is the Nanpeidai and Sakuragaoka area. The Cosmo Planetarium and other unique facilities can be found here. Stop by if you want to experience something new.
There are also many restaurants and cafes in the area to sit down and take a break from walking around. Stopping by for some tea at a nice cafe is always a good idea.
Hachiko, a Symbol of Shibuya
When talking about Shibuya, you can't leave out the iconic Hachiko statue. It's a statue of a dog in front of JR Shibuya Station. Hachiko is known as a loyal dog that waited for approximately nine years after the owner's death.
The Hachiko statue was built in 1934 from donations by people who were touched by the story. It's now often used as a meeting spot. It's located right in front of the station, so it can be very crowded. Be patient if you choose to meet someone here.
Shibuya Station Explained
Several train lines pass through Shibuya Station and there are many exits, making navigating the station complicated. The lines that pass through Shibuya station are the JR Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, and Shonan-Shinjuku Line, the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hanzomon Line, Fukutoshin Line, the Tokyu Toyoko Line, Den-en-toshi Line, and the Keio Inokashira Line. If you're traveling to Shibuya by train, you'll want to know which Shibuya station of which train line it is that you're using.
How To Reach Shibuya
From Narita to Shibuya
There are two routes to reach Shibuya from Narita Airport.
1. From Keisei Narita Airport Station, ride the Keisei Skyliner to Nippori Station. Transfer to the JR Yamanote Line and get off at Shibuya Station.
This is a route using the Keisei Line from Keisei Narita Airport Station and transferring to the JR Yamanote Line at Nippori Station. Using this route will take you about 90 minutes.
2. From Keisei Narita Airport Station, take the Keisei Line to Oshiage Station. Transfer at Oshiage to the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line and get off at Shibuya Station.
For this route, you will use the Keisei Line from Keisei Narita Airport Station and transfer to the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line at Oshiage Station. It will take you about 95 minutes.
From Haneda Airport to Shibuya
1. From Haneda Airport International Terminal Station, take the Keihin Kyuko Line to Shinagawa Station. Transfer to JR Shinagawa Station and get on the Yamanote Line. Alight at Shibuya Station.
When traveling from Haneda Airport to Shibuya by train, you will use the Keihin Kyuko Line to Shinagawa and transfer to the Yamanote Line to Shibuya. You should be careful as the Keihin Kyuko Line also offers a train toward the Yokohama area, and if you use this train you will need to make a transfer at Keikyu Kamata Station. The trip should take you about 40 minutes.
From Haneda Airport International Terminal Station, get on the Keihin Kyuko Bus and get off at Shibuya Station.
There is also a Keihin Kyuko Bus available from Haneda Airport to Shibuya Station. This choice requires no transfers and is available late at night as well as early in the morning, so it might be more convenient depending on the time your flight arrives at Haneda. The trip is 40-70 minutes.
Haneda Airport and Shibuya aren't too far away, so you can also ride a taxi. A taxi ride will take you an hour and cost you about 2,000 yen.
From Tokyo Station
There are two routes you can use to travel from Tokyo Station to Shibuya by train.
1. From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote Line. Get off at Shibuya Station.
You can reach Shibuya Station from Tokyo Station without any transfers by using the JR Yamanote Line heading in the Shibuya direction. The train ride is about 25 minutes.
2. From Tokyo Station, get on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line. Transfer at Akasaka-mitsuke Station to the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)→【Shibuya Station】
The fastest way to get to Shibuya from Tokyo Station is by using the Marunouchi Line to Akasaka-mitsuke Station and transferring to the Ginza Line for Shibuya. You will reach Shibuya in 18 minutes. However, this transfer process is a little complicated, so if you're not familiar with Japanese trains, you might want to use the Yamanote Line since it is one train.
From Shinjuku Station to Shibuya
Shinjuku Station is the largest station in Tokyo. From here, you'll want to use the JR Yamanote Line or the JR Saikyo Line. You will reach Shibuya in five to seven minutes.
Shopping in Shibuya
SHIBUYA109 is a fashion building that handles apparel targeted at young women. Many trend-sensitive shops can be found inside the facility, and visitors can experience the latest fashion in Japan. We recommend you stop by and adopt some of the Japanese youth fashion culture.
2. Center Gai Street
Center Gai Street is a shopping street starting at the Scramble Crossing and continuing for about 300 meters. Many commercial buildings line the street, and it is always crowded with people no matter what time of the day you visit. It's a shopping district, but this is Shibuya. The street boasts karaoke shops, restaurants, fashion shops, and other stores targeted at the younger generation. We recommend visiting to experience the bustling Shibuya youth culture, right along with the locals. For more information about Center Gai, read: Center Street — Japan’s Hippest Commercial District.
3. Shibuya Hikarie
Shibuya Hikarie is a shopping building that also has a connecting passageway to the Tokyo Metro train lines. Various fashion brand shops and variety stores as well as a theater can be found here.
Many of the shops in Shibuya are targeted at the young generation, but this facility handles many items designed for more mature customers. If you're looking for a high-quality souvenir, this is your go-to. Read also: 5 Shops For High-Quality Souvenirs At Shibuya Hikarie.
4. Mark City
Mark City is a shopping complex located to the west of Shibuya Station. It's connected directly to the Inokashira Line station. It consists of two buildings, and has fashion and variety shops as well as a hotel and restaurants.
Mark City also has a connecting passageway to the Inokashira Line, making it very easy to access. An artwork called "The Myth of Tomorrow" by the world-renowned artist Okamoto Taro can be found on the third floor. The building is also popular as a place offering a great view over the Scramble Crossing.
5. Tokyu Hands
Tokyu Hands is a department store that handles home appliances, interior goods, and other variety products. The shelves of the store are lined with practical and high-quality products as well as unique items that make perfect souvenirs.
Tokyu Hands also offers many made-in-Japan products, such as Japanese stationery and cosmetics. If what you want are items made in Japan, look no further.
6. LOFT Shibuya
LOFT Shibuya is a chain that handles unique variety and everyday goods. They also have cosmetic items. What's so great about LOFT is the wide variety of their products. If you're looking for some Japanese souvenirs, you'll probably find something here.
7. Tower Records Shibuya
Tower Records is a must-see place for music lovers. Here not only will you find a vast selection of CDS and DVDS, but also a cafe and a good selection of books in both English and Japanese as well, plus a live event area and limited edition shops and concert goods too. In the summer, they also have a very popular beer garden that is an ideal place to visit after a long day of sightseeing.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jinnan 1-22-14
Culture Spots in Shibuya
1. Scramble Crossing
The Scramble Crossing is a highly popular sightseeing spot, located right in front of JR Shibuya Station. It's known as one of the world's largest pedestrian scrambles, and the number of people crossing the intersection at once is said to reach 3,000 people.
Bunkamura is Japan's first large-scale cultural complex. It consists of a concert hall, a theater, an art museum, a movie theater, cafes, art shops, and various other facilities, all in one place.
Shibuya is known as an art city, and Bunkamura is a great spot to experience the various cultures and arts of Japan.
3. Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya
Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya is an art center that generates and promotes new art and culture. It supports and encourages young artists as well. Exhibitions are often held within the facility.
There is also a fancy space colored in white within the facility, and visitors can sit down and rest at the adjacent cafe. You can enter free of charge, so we recommend casually stopping by and enjoying contemporary art.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jinnan 1-19-8
4. Cosmo Planetarium Shibuya
Cosmo Planetarium Shibuya is a facility located on the 12th floor of the Shibuya Cultural Center Owada. It's popular as a spot where you can enjoy the starry night sky in the middle of the metropolis Shibuya.
You'll forget you're in the city while you relax and admire the stars. We recommend visiting and enjoying a trip into space.
5. Gallery TOM
Gallery TOM is a private art museum located about 15 minutes from Shibuya Station on foot. The concept of the facility is to provide "art that can be seen with the hands for the visually impaired". The sculptures and other works can be touched.
The stylish concrete building offers various unique exhibitions. Visitors can enjoy different exhibitions depending on the season. We recommend you stop by and actually touch the works of art on display.
6. Kyu Asakura House
The Kyu Asakura House is a historic house located in Daikanyama, which is one station from Shibuya Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line. The house was built in the
The historic house has nature-rich surroundings, and attracts visitors in the fall with its beautiful autumn leaves. The entrance fee is just 100 yen, so we recommend visiting this traditional old Japanese house.
7. Nabeshima Shoto Park
Nabeshima Shoto Park is a park with a pond created from spring water, which is rare in Tokyo. The pond has a waterwheel and offers elegant Japanese-style views.
Visitors can see sakura cherry blossoms in the spring as well as different views of nature through the seasons. Around the pond there is a walking trail where you can enjoy a stroll through nature.
8. Yamatane Museum Of Art
The Yamatane Museum of Art is an art museum in Shibuya that specializes in nihonga (Japanese-style paintings). It has artwork by famous nihonga artists as well as National Important Cultural Properties. Special exhibitions are also held regularly.
You will be able to have a glimpse of the high skills of the artists by seeing the numerous delicate brush paintings. Visitors can experience the fascinating world of traditional Japanese art here while in the youth city Shibuya.
9. Konnoh Hachimangu Shrine
Konnoh Hachimangu Shrine is a shrine within walking distance from Shibuya Station. It's popular as a "power spot" in the Shibuya area and attracts many visitors.
A rare type of cherry blossom called Konnoh Sakura can be found on the grounds, and the shrine becomes a cherry blossom viewing spot in the spring. There are also many benches so we recommend sitting down and relaxing while you admire the beautiful sakura cherry blossoms.
10. Shirane Memorial Shibuya Ward Folk And Literary Museum
The Shirane Memorial Shibuya Ward Folk And Literary Museum is a museum that introduces the history of the Shibuya area. Visitors can enjoy having a look at pottery found around the Shibuya area, as well as a room reminiscent of life in the Showa period. The museum allows you to experience the changing of Shibuya through the years up to the present.
Within the museum there is a corner where you can actually touch Jomon pottery which was used over 10,000 years ago. The facility is a great place to get to know more about Shibuya.
11. Toguri Museum Of Art
The Toguri Museum of Art is an art museum specializing in pottery and porcelain. Items collected by the industrialist owner are on display. The number of items is said to be approximately 7,000.
Visitors will find pottery and porcelain such as Imari ware, as well as items from China and Korea. There is also a shop where you can purchase pottery, porcelain and related books.
12. Kokugakuin University Museum
The Kokugakuin University Museum is a museum that introduces Japan from an archaeological point of view. Various exhibitions are held here, and you will be able to learn about the history of Japan and the life of the people of the past.
There is also a corner that introduces the history of the spiritual culture of the Japanese, such as Shinto. It's a university museum, but it can be enjoyed as a sightseeing destination as well.
13. Shibuya Niku Yokocho
Shibuya Niku Yokocho is one of Japan's largest meat-themed dining alleys. This facility is located in a corner of Center Gai street, and boasts 17 meat-themed restaurants all in one place.
The type of restaurant varies from yakitori and shabu-shabu to Thai cuisine and bistros. You can visit all the different joints and enjoy the various types of meat.
14. Yoyogi Park
A green oasis in the city, Yoyogi Park was originally where the 1964 Tokyo Olympics Athletes' Village was located, but it was redeveloped into a city park in 1967. The 7th largest park in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park is a popular place to visit all year round, but is especially known for its cherry blossoms, rose garden, and great numbers of events that take place nearly every weekend throughout the grounds. Read Yoyogi Park: Harajuku's Secret Sanctuary to learn more.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Yoyogi-Kamizonocho, Jinnan 2-Chome
15. Meiji Jingu Shrine
Meiji Jingu Shrine is one of the most visited shrines in all of Japan, seeing 3,130,000 people in just the first three days of the New Year annually! Here you can not only see the shrine itself, but also an iris garden, trees from all across Japan, and, if you're lucky, a traditional Japanese wedding taking place too.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Yoyogi-Kamizonocho 1-1
Hotels in Shibuya
Shibuya Granbell Hotel
The Shibuya Granbell Hotel is a hotel that's very easily accessible from Shibuya Station. It's just a 3-minute walk from Shibuya Station. It's great for when you're loaded with shopping bags from your Shibuya shopping spree!
The hotel has a modern and fashionable Shibuya-style interior, which is one of the points that make it popular. The facility, of course, has Wi-Fi and other necessities.
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu is a hotel located within Mark City by Shibuya Station. Each floor of the 25-storey building has many guest rooms, and some floors are reserved for women only.
The top floor has a restaurant with window seats from which you can overlook the city. We recommend enjoying a meal to go with the view here.
Tokyu Stay Shibuya
Tokyu Stay Shibuya is a hotel located in a quiet residential area. Despite its location in the center of Tokyo, it boasts large rooms in which you can relax and enjoy your stay.
The hotel requires a card key for not only the guest rooms but also for the hotel entrance door, and only guests staying overnight can enter the building. Each room includes a kitchen, washing machine, drier, and air purifier, so the hotel is great for long stays as well.
For more information on hotels in Shibuya, please refer to: Access? Pricing? Safety? Shibuya's Top 5 Hotels!
NADESHIKO HOTEL SHIBUYA
NADESHIKO HOTEL SHIBUYA is a women-only capsule hotel. It has a stylish modern Japanese-style design. The capsule hotel offers yukata rentals for free, and also has a Japanese sake bar.
There is also a large public bath within the facility where you can sit back and relax. The NADESHIKO HOTEL SHIBUYA offers great but simple service for a low price. It can be said that it has brought the capsule hotel concept to a whole new level.
SHIBUYA Hotel En
SHIBUYA Hotel En is a hotel located 7 minutes from Shibuya Station on foot. Each floor from 2F-8F has a different theme, and visitors can enjoy completely different atmospheres within the same hotel.
There is a manga-themed floor as well as a floor reminiscent of the Kyoto townscape. The Japanese culture-related designs will have you excited just looking around. If you're staying at SHIBUYA Hotel En, we recommend you check out the floors other than the one that your room is on.
Dining in Shibuya
Shibuya, always bustling with travelers and locals, offers food of various styles, genres, and from many different countries. The city boasts countless restaurants offering Japanese and international cuisine, as well as izakaya, where visitors can enjoy sake exclusive to Japan. When it comes to enjoying food in Shibuya, the choices are endless.
Genki Sushi is slightly different to your average conveyor-belt sushi restaurant - there's no rotating conveyor belt! You order your dishes via a touch panel menu instead, and when your sushi is ready, it is delivered straight to your table via a specialized high-speed conveyor belt. This makes Genki Sushi quite popular with tourists.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho 24-8, Leisure Plaza Building 1F
Website: Genki Sushi
Sushi Zanmai, Shibuya Tokyu-Mae Store
Sushi Zanmai is renowned for its tuna, but they have plenty of other delicious types of sushi to choose from as well. This restaurant is an excellent pick for travelers because it is open all-year round, 24-hours a day. You can eat sushi there whenever you like, without needing to worry about it being closed. Plus, there are two locations to choose from in Shibuya: the Tokyu Honten-Mae Store in front of the Tokyu Department Store, and the Shibuya Station East Exit Store.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho 34-5, Saito III Building 1F
Website: Sushi Zanmai
Han no Daidokoro
Wagyu fans or those wanting to try Japanese beef for the first time should definitely head to Han no Daidokoro, where you can enjoy premium Yamagata wagyu beef yakiniku style.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Dogenzaka 2-29-8 Dogenzaka Center Bldg 4F, Shibuya, Tokyo
Website: Han no Daidokoro
Visitors will also be able to find some halal restaurants serving various dishes here as well. Not only can you find authentic but halal versions of popular Japanese dishes like yakiniku and shabu shabu hot pot, but also Malay and Indian cuisine as well. For more on halal restaurants in Shibuya, take a look at 4 Muslim-Friendly Halal Restaurants In Shibuya.
Those with a sweet tooth shouldn't miss out on Sweets Paradise, an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet restaurant with an incredible selection of freshly made cakes, pies, tarts, mousses and traditional Japanese desserts, plus savory pastas, sandwiches, and salads too.
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 1-８-２, SoLaDo Harajuku
Website: Sweets Paradise
The Scramble Crossing is one of the most popular spots to visit, but if you'd like to get out of the crowd and see it from above, then there are a few cafes that you should definitely take a break in. Take a look at Shibuya's Scramble Crossing - 4 Best Viewing Spots to learn more.
Clubs in Shibuya
Shibuya is a part of the city where the young gather, so of course there are many night clubs in the area. The dress code isn't very strict, so you'll be able to casually step in.
Searching for a club of your liking is part of the fun in Shibuya. Just make sure you have your passport with you as you will be asked to show it at the entrance.
To Enjoy Sightseeing in Shibuya
Shibuya is known as the center of youth culture and boasts various fashion shops with the latest trends. It also has museums and nature-rich parks where visitors can experience a traditional Japanese atmosphere. By taking a walk around these areas, you will be able to enjoy another fascinating side of the city! Shibuya is also close to Harajuku and Omotesando––those looking for exercise can enjoy walking between.
When visiting for the first time, this can seem like a very overwhelming place, so here are some helpful hints for things to do here: take a selfie in the Scramble Crossing, find some amazing and unique Japanese souvenirs, and, if you happen to visit in October, make sure to see the Halloween events and decorations - you're sure to be impressed!
When visiting Shibuya, we hope you will be able to use the information in this article and see all the great places that interest you!