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.
The two major roads heading east from the station continue to Aoyama and Roppongi.
By planeOne-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 (One hour, ¥1030).
- 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)
You can also walk to Ebisu and Harajuku (where you could catch JR Yamanote Line trains), and Omotesando (where you could catch Tokyo Metro Lines).
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.
Shibuya CrossingThe 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.
HachikōA 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.
Center GaiThe 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.
BunkamuraBunkamura-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.
HikarieHikarie is a brand new massive building on the East side of Shibuya station with many restaurants, galleries, and theaters.
Myth of TomorrowA 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 meters from Hachikō. It was first built in Mexico, found there in 2004 and brought to Japan in 2005.
phone: +81 3-3239-5911Specializes in modern Japanese-style paintings and has a notable collection though only a handful are on display at one time due to preservation issues.
NTT DoCoMo BuildingThis 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.
Southern Terraceaddress: a cross from the South Exit of Shinjuku StationThe 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.
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
address: BEAM B2F, Udagawa 31-2Massive shop devoted to manga, anime, hentai, dojinshi, figurines and collectible offshoots.
address: Jinnan 2-2-1Studio sightseeing operation run by the national broadcaster NHK, home to a gift shop selling the widest collection of Domo-kun figures on the planet.
FashionShibuya is the center of Japanese youth culture and it shows.
0101Department store with all of the usual high-end brands.
109 BuildingTeenage fashion. Worth an escalator trip.
MusicShibuya 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.
address: Antenna 21, Udagawa 30-7Used and new record dealer with floors each specializing in punk, rock, jazz and dance music.
address: Udagawa 24-1Closed in August, 2010. Featured six floors of music from all around the world.
address: BEAM 4F, Udagawa 31-2Good shopping for second-hand music in this cavernous hall: all records are categorized and alphabetized for quick browsing, and prices start at ¥100.
address: Jinnan 1-22-14For 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.)
phone: +81 3-5489-5111address: 12-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, TokyoPromoted 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.
phone: +81 3-5361-3111address: Sendagaya 5-24-2This 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.
LoftLoft 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.
phone: +81 3-5361-1111address: Sendagaya 5-24-2This 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.
phone: +81 3-3461-9145address: Dogenzaka 2-29-22The 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.
Murghiphone: +81 3-3461-8809address: Dogenzaka 2-19-2Founded in 1951, when the owner decided to serve the kind of curry he had enjoyed in Burma before World War II.
Tokyu Department StoreA 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.
phone: +81 3-5784-2011address: 3-6 Maruyama-cho Shibuya-ku 14FTrendy eatery specializing in soba, with a separate sushi bar in the back.
Tokyo Bellini Caffephone: +81 3-5489-1371address: 20-15 Udagawa-choThis is a casual Italian restaurant. There are many kind of delicious pastas and lunch which is changed weekly.
phone: +81 3-3463-8525address: Shibuya Parco Part3 3F, 14-5 UdagawachoThis 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.
phone: +81 3-6418-1278address: Shibuya, Hiroo 3-17-1-1F,13 minutes for JR and Hibiya line Ebisu stationThis restaurant serves Japanese dishes.
phone: +81 3-3376-5336address: 3-37-1 Yoyogi Shibuya-kuKinoshita 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.
phone: +81 3-5428-5121address: 1-9-11 Jinnan 2FJazzy cafe with 60s decor in moody lighting. Excellent food, try the quiche, although portions are small
M/13 Cafephone: +81 3-5766-9111address: 1-16-14 Metoro Plaza, 2FWell-lit cafe with large second-floor windows, serving light meals, coffee and drinks.
phone: +81 9093344342address: 33-13-3B, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-kuSmall 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.
Excelsior Cafephone: +81 3-5728-7667address: 1-20-12 Jinnan, Toyama Building 1st/2nd FloorsGreat coffee and delicious sandwiches, with a warm smile.
phone: +81 3-3462-2983address: Shiniwasaki Bldg 3F, Udagawacho 30-4Down 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 Dublinersphone: +81 3-5459-1736address: 2F, 2-29-8 DogenzakaAn Irish pub popular among foreigners.
Hobgoblin Shibuyaphone: +81 3-6415-4244address: Ichiban Bldg 3F, 1-3-11, DogenzakaOutlet of the famous British micro-brewer Wychwood Brewery.
phone: +81 3-6416-9474address: 1-13-10 Jinnan, B1Remarkable 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.
IzakayaThere 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.
phone: +81 3-5485-8405address: Daini Yaki Bldg., B1, 3-6-2Acclaimed high-end bar serving up drinks that are more works of art then cocktails.
Happy Dining Ghettoaddress: Center Building 3F, 25-5 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-kuServes 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 Maruphone: +81 3-3463-1717address: 28-1 Udagawa-choKaji Maru is an atmospheric and smallish Asian-fusion izakaya one floor above the hubbub of Shibuya. An English menu is available.
Tenguaddress: 25-3 Udagawa-choTengu is a part of a popular izakaya chain, which stands out from the rest mainly because they have an English menu.
The Lock Upphone: +81 3-5728-7731address: 33-1 Udagawa-choEven 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!
phone: +81 3-5728-5613address: 神南1-18-2 神南坂フレームB2/B3Multi-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 (incl. two drinks).
phone: +81 3-6145-6231address: B2 Hikawa Bldg, 2-11 SarugakuMade a brief appearance in the movie Lost in Translation.
phone: +81 3-5428-5195address: 4F/5F Dr.Jeekahn's MaruyamachoOwned by Vanilla, this club houses three dance floors with music ranging from psychedelic trance to hip-hop.
address: Shibuya, Maruyama-chou, 1-8Popular for trance music all night long.
phone: +81 3-3461-8806address: 2-4 Maruyamacho, Dr. Jeekahn's 2FLarge two-floor all hip-hop club. Foreigners may not be admitted unless they bring along a Japanese friend.
Shibuya NutsConsiderably smaller than the above mentioned nightclubs, has a good reputation among the hip-hop crowd in Tokyo and features occasional live performances.
VuenosOwned by the same folks as Club Asia, and dedicated rap and r&b club with occasional live dance and rap performances.
phone: +81 3-5459-0039address: Maruyama 2-16One of Tokyo's largest clubs, designed by the people behind New York's Twilo and the setting of a scene in Babel.
Rock WestA 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.
Rock no CocoroPlaying 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.
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.
phone: +81 3-3476-3000address: 26-1 Sakuragaoka-choA popular high-end hotel near the JR station. Also contains a large office complex, as well as some very expensive restaurants.
Shibuya Excel Hotel TokyuA popular high-end hotel in the Mark City building.
phone: +81 3-3477-1091address: 8-14 Shinsen-choPart 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.
Tokyu Stay Shibuya Shin-Minamiguchiphone: +81 3-5466-0109address: 3-26-21 ShibuyaThis is another outlet of the same chain.
phone: +81 3-5354-0111address: 2-2-1 YoyogiWell 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.