Written by Hilary Keyes
Shibuya - 18 Popular And Less Common Things To Do
Tokyo's Shibuya area is an iconic center of Japanese youth culture. However, there is more Shibuya than meets the eye. From the Hachiko to delicious sushi restaurants, here are 18 popular and little-known things to do in this lively neighborhood.
Shibuya - Sightseeing in Tokyo's Youth Culture Hub
The center of Tokyo's mainstream youth fashion, culture, cuisine and so much more, Shibuya draws people from all walks of life. It's not just town for young people, either. During the day, you'll find everyone from teenagers looking for the latest fashions, to pensioners meeting up for traditional teas and sweets. This is an ever-growing and changing part of the city.
Here are 18 of the most popular and lesser-known things you should check out when visiting Shibuya.
1. Meet Hachiko Outside Shibuya Station
Hachiko, the faithful Akita dog that waited for his owner outside Shibuya Station for years after his death, is memorialized in stories, movies, and of course, in statues. Just outside the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station, you will find this statue of Hachiko.
This is a popular meeting spot for anyone waiting for friends in Shibuya, and throughout the year, you may even find Hachiko dressed up to match the season. This past Halloween, Hachiko was spotted with a witch's hat on, in fact.
There's one more Hachiko waiting for you in Shibuya, though! Take a look at the article below for details.
2. Shibuya Scramble Crossing - Get the Perfect Photo!
Picture from Shibuya's Scramble Crossing - 4 Best Viewing Spots
Shibuya Scramble Crossing is the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world; it's said that at its busiest there are over 3000 people crossing here at once. As such, there are many people that come here to photograph the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you'd like to get a better view of the scramble crossing, then you'll need to look up. For more about the best places to view the intersection from, read the article below.
3. Shibuya Scramble Square - Shop and See the Metropolis from the Sky
Picture from SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE - A New Tokyo Landmark In Shibuya
After exploring the scramble crossing from the ground-level, head to SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE, a complex filled with shopping, restaurants, and an observation area known as SHIBUYA SKY. The 230-meter-tall skyscraper was finished in November 2019. Enjoy shopping and a snack first, then head up to the 14th floor, the entrance to the observation and exhibition area, for purchasing observatory tickets.
The observatory is open from 9:00 to 23:00, so you can enjoy the stunning Tokyo views and the scramble crossing day and night.
4. Center-gai Street - Take in the Eclectic Atmosphere
Center-gai Street is the road directly across from the scrable crossing, and is the main route through Shibuya's trendiest shops, clubs, restaurants, and izakayas. There's almost too much to cover here in a single article. The shops and restaurants here are constantly changing, so travelers here will not be disappointed no matter how many times they visit!
5. See Lost Art - The Myth of Tomorrow in Shibuya Station
Along the pedestrian walk linking the JR Yamanote and Keio Inokashira lines, you will find this massive mural hanging over the walkway. This is the "Myth of Tomorrow" by the incredible and prolific Japanese artist Taro Okamoto.
This 30-meter long mural was meant for display in Mexico, but mysteriously disappeared in the late 1960s, and wasn't seen again until 2003, when it was brought back to Japan. To learn more about this mural, the article below.
6. Find the Latest Fashion Trends - Shibuya 109 and MAGNET by Shibuya 109
Picture from Shibuya 109: Sacred Ground For Japanese Fashion
Shibuya 109 and MAGNET by Shibuya 109 are two of the largest and best-known shopping spots in Shibuya. These two centers have everything that Japanese fashion fans need to be dressed to the nines in the latest looks.
Shibuya 109 carries fashion brands popular with women, with everything from make-up and color contact lenses, to shoes and the latest trends. MAGNET by Shibuya 109 has the latest in accessories, business and casual fashion geared towards men.
7. Find Unique Japanese Souvenirs - Loft Shibuya
Loft is a store selling stationery, household goods, cosmetics, and interior supplies. It is a large store that extends from the first floor basement to the sixth floor.
The store is lined with well-designed items such as cute stationery and stylish household goods, based on the concept of offering goods to improve their customers' quality of living. It's a great place to find good quality, beautiful souvenirs from your trip to Japan.
8. Grab Sushi off a Conveyor Belt in Shibuya
Numerous kaiten sushi, or conveyor belt sushi-style restaurants make their home in Shibuya. This is one of the most simple ways to eat out in Japan, as customers eat by simply taking plates off the rotating belt. There is no need to place an order or use Japanese (if you do have requests for certain sushi, though, you will have to order). It is also budget-friendly, as plates cost usually between 100 and 300 yen, depending on the type of sushi. This means that most people can have a high-quality sushi meal for less than 2,000 yen.
Well-known conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Shibuya include Genki Sushi, Uobei, Sushi Zanmai, and Midori Sushi. All have foreign-language menus and are welcoming to international travelers.
9. Eat Your Way Around Japan - d47 Shokudo
While Shibuya is well known for its numerous eateries of all kinds, d47 Shokudo really stands out from the crowd because, not only do they offer traditional Japanese dishes, but they serve regional delights from all corners of Japan, and sell some specially selected regional dishes as well.
If you are visiting Japan, but aren't able to get to all of the places that you'd wanted to visit, then a trip here just might make you feel a bit better! To see their menu and some of the products available in their shop, check out the following article:
Address: Tokyo, Shibuya, 2-21-1 Hikarie 8F
Hours: 11:30-22:30 (Lunch time/Tea time/Dinner time)
Nearest Station: Shibuya Station
10. Check Out a Movie and Cocktail Lover's Dream - Hachigatsu no Kujira Bar
Hachigatsu No Kujira is a little known bar in Shibuya dedicated to movies and delicious cocktails. Each and every drink on the menu here is based on a movie, with certain movies being featured each month. New movies are constantly inspiring drinks here as well, which makes it a bar that has many movie-loving regulars too.
If you're looking for a casual, fun place to get a drink and relax, then this is perfect.
11. Find Souvenirs and Feel Shibuya's History - Maruara Watanabe
Maruara Watanabe is a souvenir shop where you can find high-quality Japanese products that are also ideal for daily use. Originally a kimono store, Maruara Watanabe has been in business since 1926, and is one of the few places to have seen the city of Shibuya grow and change around it.
If you'd like to feel the original atmosphere of Shibuya and find some incredibly useful souvenirs, then a trip here can't go wrong.
12. Refined Shopping at Shibuya Hikarie
Shibuya Hikarie is a large department store, located close to Shibuya Station. The fashion items here are mostly career-oriented and casual brands. The stores attract customers of all ages. There are also many different types of stores located in the building, including shops with general goods, cosmetics, and sweets for sale.
This facility is also a convenient place for lunch, as there are many cafés and restaurants inside the building.
13. Try Japan's Take on an American Classic - Reg-on Diner
Although Japan has plenty of its own delicious cuisines to offer, those on vacation might find themselves feeling a little homesick for a taste of home. Reg-on Diner, just a 15-minute walk from downtown Shibuya, is where you will find Tokyo's best American style burgers.
The A.B.C Burger is one of their most popular burgers; made from organic-raised Australian beef and the tallow from Japanese cattle and comes with avocado, bacon, and cheese (ABC) on top. To see more of their menu and directions on how to reach Reg-on Diner, take a look at the follwoing article:
14. Appreciate the Arts - Watari-um
Picture from Watari-um: A Museum And Shop In Shibuya
The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, nicknamed Watari-um, is the place to go to see contemporary Japanese art in Shibuya. It is a private art gallery that displays modern art from its unique landmark building on Gaien-nishi Street.
Those with a passion for the arts and interested in appreciating little known artists are sure to enjoy the new and thought-provoking exhibitions held here. Read the article below to see more of this museum and its exhibition schedule.
15. Relax and Try a Specialty Drink in a Trendy Cafe
As I've mentioned, Shibuya is full of little restaurants, bars, and izakayas, and there are plenty of amazing cafes here to choose from too. No matter which part of Shibuya you are in, there is always a trendy little hotspot that has plenty of its own unique and freshly prepared drinks and light meals to offer. For five of the best cafes in the Shibuya area, check out the following article.
16. Hit the Town at Night - Clubbing in Shibuya
As a city for young people, Shibuya is one of the best places to head out and enjoy the night in Tokyo too. There are plenty of bars and izakayas, as well as some of the most popular clubs in Tokyo here too - plus, these clubs have gained a reputation as being great places for tourists to visit as well.
While not every club is suited to tourists, there are five highly recommended ones in Shibuya that you can enjoy all night long, without having to worry about missing your train. Check out Experience Tokyo's Club Scene - The 5 Hottest Clubs In Shibuya to learn more about each spot and its features. Don't forget your ID!
17. Bring a Taste of Japan Home with You - Aoyama Farmer's Market
Although only available on the weekends, the Aoyama Farmer's Market is one of the biggest and best farmer's markets in the Tokyo area, thanks to its amazing variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables and selection of ready-made dishes.
While you can't take fresh fruits and vegetables back home with you for souvenirs, many of the sellers at this market also have their very own jams, preserves, sauces, spice mixes, teas, handicrafts, and other non-perishable items on offer - any of which would make for a tasty and memorable souvenir of your time in Japan.
18. Shop for Unique Gifts at Village Vanguard
For those looking for something unique, a visit to Village Vanguard is a must. A chain store with locations around Tokyo and Japan, the main branch is located in Shibuya. There are multiple levels to this miscellaneous goods shop, selling Japan-made items related to pop culture, anime, manga, books, apparel, and accessories. Village Vanguard is particularly popular with young shoppers. A visit here will give you a firsthand view of what's trendy in Japan.
Be sure to browse through the store's selection of eclectic food, normally not sold at supermarkets in Japan. Spend at least an hour here looking through the colorful, interesting, and sometimes silly goods here. You will be able to many one-of-a-kind items, ideal for souvenirs and gifts.
Shibuya Has So Much to Offer!
Shibuya has practically everything any visitor to Tokyo could hope for - which is why it can be a challenging place to visit in just a day. If you'd like to get the most out of a day or afternoon in Shibuya, then consider this your guide to seeing the city at its best. Have fun in Shibuya!