Famous for being the busiest crossing in the world, the Shibuya Scramble is top of most people’s must-see list in Tokyo, but what else is near by?
Pro tip: Make new friends and experience the local nightlife on a bar-hopping tour of Shibuya.
Once you’ve viewed the crossing from above, from the side, posed in the middle and walked across a few times, you might be wondering what to do next. It’s iconic and great to see, but also doesn’t actually take very long. So rather than hopping straight back on the train to your next destination, why not spend some time exploring these top 6 things to do around Shibuya Crossing, without having to wander too far.
Sample the shops at Shibuya 109
Straight across is the mecca of all things fashion. 109 is a tower of shops with everything from a Sanrio Hello Kitty store to Lolita fashion to punk rock accessories. The building has 10 floors, and since all the stores have to compete to keep their spot based on revenue, it means there is a great selection and frequent changes to keep things fresh.
Focusing on women’s fashion, it became a focus point for ‘gyaru’ fashion—girls with blonde hair, alternative makeup and plenty of fake tan. Even if you don’t fancy a makeover, the mall itself is a pretty intense experience: blaring music, store assistants yelling constantly in that way only Japanese women can, neon lights and plenty of people. There is a great selection of unusual clothes as well as more normal fashion, but if you’re ever going to experiment, you might as well do it here!
Say hello to Hachiko
The most famous meeting point in Tokyo, and just to the side of the crossing is the saddest dog-story statue of all time. Although the volume of people doing the same thing can actually make it all the harder to find the person you’re looking for, it’s a famous meeting spot (but that’s all part of the fun).
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Built to commemorate the loyal dog Hachiko, the statue is a sign of loyalty and fidelity. The faithful Akita dog would wait at the station every day for his owner Professor Ueno to return for work. One day, the professor died suddenly while giving a lecture and Hachiko was left waiting. For the next nine years, he returned at the same time to await his master (#relationshipgoals), eventually gaining fame across the country. When he died in 1935 he was buried in Aoyama Cemetery beside his master. The statue was first erected, however, in 1934 with Hachiko present. Although it was later recycled during the war effort, a second statue was commissioned and created by the son of the original sculptor. Now a great meeting spot, it’s ever popular with an annual ceremony to commemorate the creature on March 8th.
Get the perfect shot
If you’ve come all this way to see the crossing, that probably means you want other people to see it, or that you want them to see that you’ve seen it, at least. The thing about the crossing is, it can be tricky to capture the magnitude from ground level. While you have spotted the perfectly located Starbucks, they have guards patrolling for non-purchasers, and the window seats are hard to get, so consider some alternatives. Luckily, we have this great article from our photographer explaining some of the best spots and techniques for getting a great shot, without too much hassle. Plus tips on timing (sunset or late night both have benefits!) and even what day of the week for the most suits.
Fill up on conveyor-belt sushi
Only a few steps past the crossing, Genki Sushi is a great place to try out conveyor-belt sushi. Complete with electronic ordering and flashing lights as your food arrives, it has all the bells and whistles to make your meal more fun. The angry-faced logo is a good sign, we promise, and they have exceptionally good tamago-yaki (the grilled egg one) which is considered to be the best way to tell if a chain sushi place is any good.
Although it’s small, people don’t spend too long in there so you can usually write your name on the list outside, risk it and have a stroll or leave someone behind to hold the queue-fort.
With plates starting from 108 yen, it’s the perfect place to try things out and get a feel for what you like—with pricier dishes if you’re keen. (They also have fries if you really just don’t want sushi and your companions do). For more sushi ideas in Shibuya check here!
Explore the delights of Tokyu Food Show
Underneath your feet is a haven of fresh food and delicious treats. One of the biggest and most varied food halls in Tokyo, the Tokyu Food Show has everything from specialist sake to fresh fish and plenty of stunning desserts in between. Whether you’re grabbing picnic stuff for lunch, supplies for dinner or beautiful gifts—this place has everything you could need and more.
Considering itself to be a ‘Theater of Food” there is certainly plenty to keep you entertained, with samples to be tried and tested along the way. Some of the highlights include: Origines Cacao—a specialist chocolate shop run by Yukihiko Kawaguchi; or, if you’re missing home, Seijio Ishi—a foreign import store with all the necessities (but somehow no Yorkshire tea).
There are countless options for fresh fish and vegetables, as well as the crazily expensive fruit if you’re after some unusual sights, so wander in and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and most of all—the food!
See the city from Hikarie
Just around the corner is the brand new shiny Hikarie building, with views stretching across the city. If you can’t be bothered to trek over to Shinjuku for the Government Met buildings, you can simply hop into an elevator at Hikarie instead. The modern skyscraper is the 40th tallest building in Tokyo and has views of Shibuya and beyond, especially impressive at night thanks to the eye-watering levels of neon.
If you’d rather have a browse through the shops and take the escalators, you’ll be sure to find some lovely luxury items and stylish pop-up shops along the way. There are even restaurants and workspaces higher up, with fancy offices and meetings rooms too. The view is best from the 16th floor sky lobby which is part of the theater complex. There are also cafes and a Lawson convenience store up there, so you can enjoy the view with a drink. The floors are open until 11pm thanks to the restaurants, so it makes a great stop-off after dinner!