The Top 7 Things to Do in and Around Shibuya Station
Noted for its buzzing nightlife and trendy youth fashion shops, Shibuya is one of the most-visited areas in Tokyo. The neighborhoods around Shibuya Station are always abuzz with activity, as locals and visitors alike mingle in the many eateries, boutiques and attractions that occupy the area. These top seven stops around Shibuya Station are the perfect places to start planning your tour of this lively and unforgettable neighborhood.
table of contents
This iconic statue in Hachiko Square commemorates the life of Hachiko, a loyal Japanese Akita dog who became a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness in Japanese pop culture. Hachiko's owner, a Professor at the University of Tokyo, died of an aneurysm while giving a lecture, and never came home that day to greet his faithful pet outside of Shibuya Station. Hachiko returned to the same spot every day for nearly ten years, until his death in 1935. The statue was erected one year earlier in 1934.
Shibuya Scramble Crossing
As one of Tokyo's instantly recognizable landmarks, Shibuya Scramble has appeared in multiple movies made at home and abroad, and is one of the area's must-see attractions. Surrounded by enormous screens flashing the latest ads and weaving between brightly lit skyscrapers and towering shopping centers, Shibuya Crossing or Shibuya Scramble is rumored to be the world's largest pedestrian scramble. The crossing is located right outside the Hachiko Exit and the entrance to Center Gai, making it pretty much impossible to explore Shibuya without encountering its famed pedestrian scramble.
Experience Showa-Era Tokyo at Nonbei Yokocho or 'Drunkard's Alley'. Like many of the city's famous 'yokocho', meaning alleyway, Nonbei Yokocho is packed with charm and its narrow streets are lined with retro shopfronts. The izakaya (traditional Japanese bars) and eateries here are famous for yakitori, but you'll find a wide variety of local favorites on offer. Most establishments are tiny and while not suitable for large groups, Drunkard's Alley is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Japanese pub fare and soak up the historic atmosphere of post-war Shibuya.
Head straight over Shibuya Scramble and you'll find yourself in Center Gai, the liveliest and busiest shopping district in all of Shibuya Ward. The main streets of Center Gai are lined with chain shops and eateries as well as acclaimed nightclubs and DJ bars, while further out you'll find quirky cafes, niche fashion and lifestyle shops as well as trendy boutique hotels.
Konno Hachiman-gu was founded by the revered Shibuya clan, the ancient family that assisted the Imperial Family and which lends its name to the area. Today, Konno Hachimangu and its strikingly beautiful Aka-mon (Red Gate) are recognized Tangible Cultural Properties of Shibuya Ward. The shrine is dedicated to Hachiman, the Shinto deity of warfare and battle, and hosts its biggest annual festival each year in September.
The Myth of Tomorrow by Taro Okamoto
The Myth of Tomorrow is a mysterious painting by renown Japanese artist Taro Okamoto. The painting was believed to be lost for decades, until it was finally discovered, abandoned and in poor condition, in Mexico. After being restored and exhibited around Tokyo, the masterpiece was installed in Shibuya Station's underground passage connecting to Shibuya Mark City. The enormous Surrealist mural depicts the destruction at the moment of an atomic bomb's explosion, and the hope for humanity that can emerge from the aftermath.
With so much to do and see around Shibuya, it's no wonder this bustling neighborhood is one of the busiest in Tokyo. From some of the city's most photographed landmarks to the neon lights and shopping streets of Center Gai commercial district, these must-see places in and around Shibuya Station should be at the top of your Tokyo itinerary.