Whether it’s your first trip or fifth time in Tokyo, Shibuya is one of the locations you never want to miss visiting. An ever-so-buzzing, heavily illuminated commercial area, Shibuya is a major shopping district and a hallmark of Japanese youth culture.
What is Shibuya known for?
There are lots of things to do in Shibuya—the usual touristy stuff include taking a photo at the picture-perfect pedestrian scramble crossing, paying respects to the loyal Hachiko, trying your luck at the numerous pachinko parlors scattered all around, and so many more. This guide lets you explore Shibuya in the best way possible with some added tips and tricks for an extra special experience.
How do you get to Shibuya?
To start things off, take any train bound for Shibuya Station. These lines are:
- Ginza Line
- Fukutoshin Line
- Hanzomon Line
- Keio-Inokashira Line
- Narita Express (JR)
- Saikyo Line
- Shonan-Shinjuku Line
- Tokyu-Den-entoshi Line
- Tokyu-Toyoko Line
- Yamanote Line
Once you’ve arrived at Shibuya Station, you’ll be greeted by a mix of different people coming from all these lines. It may sound intimidating at first, but all you need to think about is the exit! There are four main gates at Shibuya station: the Hachiko Gate, the Miyamasuzaka Exit, the Central Gate, and the East Exit.
For tourists, the most ideal exit would be the Hachiko Gate or Exit 8, since it leads you to the famous statue of the truehearted dog, and eventually leading you to the glistening scramble crossing.
What are the best things to do in Shibuya?
Say Hello to the Hachiko Statue
Once you’ve arrived at Shibuya crossing Exit 8, Hachiko Square greets you. It’s one of the busiest and best-known meeting places in Tokyo with its distinct landmarks, one of it being the bronze statue of Hachiko the dog.
The statue was erected in honor of an Akita Inu named Hachi or Hachiko. If you’ve seen the tearjerker movie Hachiko: A Dog’s Story, you’ll know that faithful Hachiko waited for his master, Professor Ueno Hidesaburo, every day at Shibuya station after work. When Professor Ueno died, Hachiko consistently waited for him every day for the succeeding nine years exactly when the train was bound to arrive.
Hachiko’s act of loyalty melted the hearts of locals, and after the dog’s own death, a small statue was erected in honor of Hachiko’s fidelity.
With its touching backstory, the area has emerged into a popular meeting place and a prime people-watching spot for tourists and locals alike. People often queue up to take photos with the statue as a reminder of the ever-so-beautiful relationship between humans and their pets.
After saying hello to Hachiko, it’s time to explore the other side of Shibuya by crossing the road. It’s not just another road you’re crossing, though. It’s the iconic Shibuya crossing, one of the experiences that define Tokyo itself.
Transverse the Shibuya Crossing
One of the busiest crossings in the world, Shibuya crossing seems to have a life of its own—with the bustling cars and pedestrians passing along it with every traffic sign change. During peak periods from 7 am to 9:30 am, or from 5 pm onwards, 3,000 people cross from different directions all at once, making it a tourist attraction essentially shaped by the tourists and locals themselves.
If you’re wondering how Shibuya Crossing came to be, here’s why: Shibuya Station used to serve a stop on the Shinagawa Line, which is now known as the well-known JR Yamanote Line. Shibuya Station eventually evolved to serve eight different train lines, and because of Shibuya Station being home to so many subway lines, commercial offices, countless bars, clubs, and restaurants, a lot of people just needed to pass by the crossing. The rest is history.
Traversing the crossing is a one-of-a-kind experience itself: you’re basically just doing a very simple act of crossing the street—but with a magical and cinematic touch to it: you jive with the pedestrians under the bright lights of the advertisements, store signs, and traffic lights. One thing to be amazed at, though—is the way how everyone dodges each other. The Japanese seem to be highly skilled in crossing busy roads.
Although it may seem like a chaotic experience having 3,000 people flock from different directions at its busiest time, Shibuya Crossing is actually a soothing sight to watch from a distance. One of the most popular views is from the giant Starbucks located across Shibuya station, which has a wrap-around view of the crossing in all its bustling glory. If it’s already too crowded, another option is Cafe Gusto which shows another side of the crossing.
Where to go Shopping in Shibuya?
Explore the Latest Trends at Shibuya 109
Another mainstay in Shibuya adventures, Shibuya 109 is a nine-story shopping complex across Shibuya Crossing. For the young or young-at-heart, it’s the best place to visit for unique Japanese fashion, shoes, clothes, beauty products—you name it! Originally the nest of ‘gyarus’ or ‘gals’ in 90s Tokyo, the department store nicknamed ‘marukyu’ retains its reputation of the place to be for the iconic ‘kawaii’ Japanese style. Unusual shoes, contact lenses, and costumes await for those who want a slice of cutting-edge Japanese trends.
Address: 2 Chome-29-1 Dogenzaka, 渋谷区 Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043, Japan
Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Daily
Hachiko Square, Shibuya Crossing, and Shibuya 109 are just one of the many things you can experience in Shibuya.
Shibuya is one of the best places for shopping since most department stores reach up to 7 to 9 floors—there’s even a record store that extends up to 10 stories! If you want to shop ‘til you drop, here are massive specialty department stores that can leave you with jam-packed luggage!
Shop til’ you Drop at Magnet by Shibuya 109
Magnet by Shibuya 109 (formerly known as Shibya 109 Men’s) is the male counterpart of Shibuya 109. It recently reopened and rebranded in April 2018 with the goal of reviving the culture of Shibuya. Similar to Shibuya 109, the department store also houses nine-stories of dining options and shopping, although the clothing stores are exclusively for men.
Did you know? Magnet by Shibuya 109 contains a not-so-secret gem: their rooftop dining space which used to be a broadcasting studio, The Mag’s Part, provides a stunning view of the Shibuya crossing!
Address: 2 1 Chome-23-10 Jinnan, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0041, Japan
Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Daily
Fill your Suitcases with Bargains from Mega Don Quijote Shibuya
If you’ve been to other parts of Tokyo or Japan in general, you’ve probably already seen Don Quijote and its signature mascot—Donpen, the blue penguin. The Shibuya store, if it isn’t evident by its being prefixed by ‘Mega’, is one of the bigger Don Quijotes in the city. Mega Don Quijote, aka Mega DONKI is a budget tourist’s best spot for souvenirs!
The mega-store has seven floors containing different items such as groceries, food, household items, weird things, perfumes, and souvenirs, just to name a few. You’re bound to have a cart full of random things once you’re done shopping—take advantage of the tax-free counter on the 3rd floor for a cheaper total bill! Mega Donki is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, so if you’re bored and in Shibuya (which is highly unlikely thanks to the plethora of different activities), visiting Donki is always a good idea.
Address: 28-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 154-0042, Japan
Hours: Open 24 Hours Daily
Tokyu Hands Shibuya
Address: 12-１８ Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan
Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Daily
For the artsy travelers, Tokyu Hands and Loft is your paradise. Both stores serve as your one-stop-shop for all things arts and crafts—Tokyu Hands and Loft carry high-quality, chic items at an affordable price. These stores not only carry stationery items, but they also have beautifully-designed household items and commodities, perfect for those who wish to bring a bit of Japanese minimalism into their homes or workspaces.
Address: 21-１ Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan
Hours: 10 AM to 9 PM Daily
Catch the Freshest Japanese Hits at Tower Records Shibuya
No music, no life! This tall yellow-building is one of the biggest music retail outlets in the world. Its iconic red and yellow branding can be seen from across the street and once you come in closer, you see an array of different promotional advertising materials of popular artists. Each floor is broken down into different musical genres and the second floor contains Tower Records Cafe where you can enjoy a cup of coffee. Tower Records also has an extensive foreign book selection on the seventh floor which boasts a selection of books and magazines. Have a look at the basement too—you might catch a gig to immerse yourself fully in Japanese music
Address: 1 Chome-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0041, Japan
Hours: 10 AM to 11 PM Daily
Where do I stay in Shibuya?
Being one of Tokyo’s busiest districts, Shibuya serves as a wonderful melting pot for travelers who want a glimpse of what the bustling city has to offer. The best way to experience the Shibuya hustle is by staying in the eye of the storm—here are hotels of different price points that can suit anyone’s fancy.
You can never really go wrong with these hotels—Shibuya is a safe, walkable neighborhood and every nook, every cranny is a convenient spot for travelers.
Tokyu Stay Shibuya
Only five minutes away from Shibuya station by foot, Tokyu Stay’s Shibuya branch is a straightforward, bang-for-the-buck hotel that allows you to relax comfortably after a long day of exploring Tokyo’s vibrant neighborhoods.
Address: 8-14 Shinsencho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0045, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3496-3661
Rating: 3-star Hotel
Turn Table Hostel and Restaurant
Turn Table Hostel and Restaurant has with three different elements all wrapped into one cozy building—a bar on the first floor, guest rooms on the second floor, and lavish private suits with balconies on the third floor. Turn Table Hostel is just a stone’s throw away from the popular attractions and shopping spots mentioned above and is only a quaint 15-minute stroll away from Shibuya Station. The rooms exude a peaceful yet youthful vibe, perfect for tourists of all ages.
Address: 150-0045 Tokyo Prefecture Shibuya-ku Shinsencho 10-3 Japan
Phone: +81 3-3461-7733
Rating: 2-star Hotel
Shibuya Granbell Hotel
15-１７ Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0031
This well-known hotel features vibrant rooms that jive in well with the neighborhood’s energy. This boutique hotel has pop-art inspired rooms and is popular among yuppies and professionals alike. The hotel has two restaurants that serve Japanese and Italian cuisine—the Japanese really do love their pizza, don’t they?
Address: 15-１７ Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0031, Japan
Phone: +81 3-5457-2681
Rating: 3-star Hotel
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
With its prime location smack in the middle of Shibuya, this hotel packs itself with clean and modern rooms. If you’re in luck, you can witness the brightly-illuminated neighborhood right from your hotel suite.
Address: Japan, 〒150-0043 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Dogenzaka, 1 Chome−12−2 渋谷マークシティ内
Phone: +81 3-5457-0109
Rating: 4-star Hotel
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
This luxury hotel provides elegant lodging with sophisticated sleeping quarters—take in the delightful views of the city from your hotel room and experience the ‘suite’ life. Experience an opulent home away from home at this contemporary 40-story hotel. Its amenities range from an art gallery, a beauty salon, spa services, jazz bars, and so much more.
Address: 26-1 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-8512, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3476-3000
Rating: 5-star Hotel
Where do I eat in Shibuya?
Similar to the hotels in Shibuya, you can never really go wrong with the food options in Shibuya as well. Every street has an exciting restaurant or stall that can surely tickle your tastebuds.
Get Fresh Sushi Delivered to your Table at Lightning Speed at Uobei Shibuya Dōgenzaka
Uobei Sushi is not your ordinary traditional sushi conveyor belt restaurant: it delivers your food at lightning speed as soon as you confirm your order on the touch-screen menu. Owned by the Genki Sushi chain, Uobei is an economical yet great way to fill your tummy up with the freshest sushi. Most of the plates are only 100 JPY or approximately $0.84 before tax, which makes stacked empty plates completely guilt-free.
Address: Japan, 〒150-0043 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Dogenzaka, 2 Chome−29−11 第六セントラルビル１階
Hours: M-F: 11 AM to 12 AM. Sat-Sun: 10:30 AM to 12 AM
Phone: +81 3-3462-0241
Pizza Slice offers a taste of New York right in the heart of Shibuya
Aside from their own cuisine, the Japanese really enjoy their pizza. Pizza Slice is a funky New-York style pizza place that lets you order pizza by the slice. They’re crisp, loaded with your favorite toppings, and most of all: cheap! A slice of no-frills cheese pizza costs approximately 380JPY. Perfect for an afternoon snack after strolling around the city!
Address: 1-3 Sarugakucho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0033, Japan
Hours: 11:30 AM to 10:30 PM Daily
Phone: +81 3-5428-5166
Queue Up for a Sumptuous Lobster Roll at Luke’s Lobster Shibuya Park Street
Indulge yourself in the freshest lobster rolls imported from Maine. There’s usually a long queue, but the wait is absolutely worth it! You can choose between a lobster roll, a crab roll, or a shrimp roll. If you’re indecisive, you can also opt to choose a combination: lobster and shrimp, lobster and crab, crab and shrimp, you name it!
Address: 〒150-0041 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jinnan, 1 Chome−15−5 1Ｆ
Hours: 11 AM to 7:30 PM Daily
Phone: +81 3-5456-6957
SlurpTonkotsu-Style Ramen at TouSoba Shibuya
If it gets too cold, cool down with a refreshing bowl of noodles at TouSoba. They serve tonkotsu-style ramen, which is soup broth based on pork bones and other ingredients, usually boiled for long hours. Aside from the typical ramen bowls, they offer tsukemen, where you dip in the noodles into a flavorful broth.
Address: 2 Chome-22-6 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3486-0147
Hours:11 AM to 11 PM Daily
Try The World’s Second Best Freshly Baked Melon-Pan Ice Cream
The name is funny—I know, but let’s get to that later. If you haven’t heard of melon-pan yet, it’s a refreshing sweet bun made from fluffy dough and then covered by another layer of crispy dough. Another disclaimer: melon-pan doesn’t have melons! The term melon-pan was said to be derived from the surface of bread, which slightly resembles a melon. World’s Second Best Freshly Baked Melon-Pan Ice Cream’s specialty is melon pan ice cream, which is similar to an ice cream sandwich. You can choose from vanilla, matcha, or chocolate!
Now, why the name? The owner of the stall firmly believes that his master, the person who taught him how to make melon-pan, makes the world’s best. Don’t you just love how the Japanese stay true to their values?
Address: 1-15-9 Jinnamn | Iwase Bldg., Shibuya 150-0042, Tokyo Prefecture
Hours: 11 AM to 10 PM Daily
Rack up on all kinds of food at affordable prices at 7-eleven/Family Mart/Lawson
Anywhere near you!
These three major chains aren’t restaurants, but they deserve to be on this list. Japan’s convenience stores are unlike any other, and believe it or not, exploring a convenience store, or ‘konbini’, in Japan is a tourist attraction in itself! It’s always a fun experience to browse through its unique sweets, snacks, and even bento boxes.
The list of things to do and places to visit in Shibuya goes on and on, as it’s such a lively district where there’s absolutely something for everyone. With the abundance of culture, shopping, and dining options, it raises the bar for one of the best neighborhoods to explore as a tourist.