At first glance, Shibuya appears to be a playground for the young and stylish in Tokyo. But there’s really something for everyone here. While young urbanites shop for the latest styles on Takeshita Street and Shibuya 109, others enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Yoyogi Park, take in a show at the National Nō Theater or shop for homeware at The Monocle Shop. Here are our best picks of what to see and do in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Grab a bento lunch from the konbini (convenience store) and have a picnic in Yoyogi Park. The vast green space is a perfect place to relax after hours of pounding the pavement. To the north of the park is Meiji Jingumae, the shrine dedicated to the spirit of the Meiji Emperor and his wife.
The gyaru fashion movement peaked in the early 2000s. The glam trend has since evolved its earlier days, but the style is alive and well in modern adaptions. Shibuya 109, the birthplace of gyaru fashion and culture, is just outside of Shibuya Station. Its masculine counterpart, 109 Men’s, can also be found there.
Takeshita Street is a melting pot of youth fashion and culture. You’ll find everything from traditional yukata (casual kimonos) and kanzashi (hairpins) to funky Harajuku fashion for both people and pets. Takeshita Street is just steps from Harajuku Station.
This inconspicuous street is also known as ‘Drunkard’s Alley.’ Many of the small bars and restaurants that line the area date back to the 1950s. Get a taste of the Shibuya of the past at one of these tiny establishments.
One could easily spend an entire day inside Tokyu Hands, the multistory life and hobby store. The Shibuya branch is especially enormous. Also check out the Tokyo branch of The Monocle Shop. Here, Monocle sells the lifestyle and fashion products that appear in their magazines. The shop does double duty as the magazine’s editorial headquarters.
Outside the Hachikō Exit of Shibuya Station, you’ll find the bronze statue erected in honor of the dog by the same name. After his owner died, Hachikō came to the station every day for nine years to wait for him. His story of love and loyalty touched the hearts of millions and this statue was built to commemorate Hachikō. There’s even a Hollywood movie inspired by the tale. His statue today has become a popular meeting spot and the area around the exit is known as Hachikō Plaza.
The famous crossing outside Shibuya Station is the center of the district. It has appeared repeatedly in popular culture and in countless movies. As the busiest scramble in the world, this all-way pedestrian crossing is a must-see on the list of every Tokyo tourist.
Take in traditional Japanese art and culture at the National Nō Theater. Nō is drama for the stage that includes plenty of singing and dancing. In addition to regular performances, the theater hosts ‘Nō Workshops for Foreigners’ which are free to join. Visitors can learn traditional dance steps and music with an English guide. Check their website for the schedule.
Depart from appreciating the usual artistic media, to experience ukiyo-e, or Japanese woodblock prints. The Ukiyo-e Ōta Memorial Museum of Art has access to over 12,000 pieces for exhibition, but only a small portion is available for public viewing at any one time.