Shibuya Walking Tour, Tokyo

Shibuya Walking Tour (Self Guided), Tokyo

The Shibuya district is a shopping and entertainment mecca for fashion-conscious and trendy teenagers. Synonymous with Japan's youth vogue and fun in general, the streets of Shibuya are lined with shops, boutiques, restaurants, and nightclubs. On weekends, crowds of youngsters converge here, dressed up in a myriad of colors and styles, set out to socialize and have a good time.

One of the area's most famous spots is the Shibuya Scramble Square, a modern skyscraper that offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck. Nearby, you'll find the Hachiko Statue, a beloved symbol of loyalty and devotion, dedicated to a faithful dog who waited for his owner every day at Shibuya Station.

Shibuya Crossing is another must-see attraction. It's an enormous pedestrian crossing where hundreds of people converge simultaneously, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of organized chaos. Shibuya 109 is a trendy shopping mall where fashion enthusiasts can explore the latest trends, while Center-Gai Shopping Street offers a more eclectic shopping experience with a variety of boutiques and street food stalls.

For those interested in pop culture and collectibles, Mandarake is a haven for manga and anime enthusiasts, offering a wide range of rare items. Koen-dori Shopping Street is perfect for souvenir shopping and immersing yourself in local culture.

Still, if you prefer a bit of quiet to the fun and frolic, head north from Shibuya to find peace and tranquility in Yoyogi Park. This peaceful oasis in the midst of the city is a great place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. The park is also home to the Meiji Jingu Shrine which provides a serene escape from hustle and bustle, as well as a glimpse into Japan's spiritual traditions and history.

Adjacent to the park is Omotesandō Avenue, a tree-lined boulevard known for its high-end shops and fashionable boutiques. Venturing further afield, Takeshita Street in Harajuku is a hub of youth fashion, filled with quirky stores and vibrant street art.

Anyone who is a fashion enthusiast, a culture buff, or simply seeking a taste of Tokyo's energetic vibe, will feel at home in Shibuya. If you fit into any of these categories, don't miss the opportunity to experience firsthand the multifaceted nature of this exciting part of the city during your visit to the Japanese capital!
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Shibuya Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Shibuya Walking Tour
Guide Location: Japan » Tokyo (See other walking tours in Tokyo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Shibuya Scramble Square
  • Hachiko Statue
  • Shibuya Crossing
  • Shibuya 109
  • Center-gai Shopping Street
  • Mandarake
  • Koen-dori Shopping Street
  • Yoyogi Park
  • Omotesandō Avenue
  • Takeshita Street
  • Meiji Jingu Shrine
1
Shibuya Scramble Square

1) Shibuya Scramble Square

Shibuya Scramble Square is a mixed-use skyscraper that is part of a complex of three buildings. The east tower is more than 750 feet in height (229 meters), making it the tallest building in Shibuya and the 10th tallest in Tokyo.

Construction of the 46-story complex began in 2014. The east tower was completed in 2019. The remainder is projected to be completed in 2027. It was designed by Tokyu Architects & Engineers, Inc. and developed by East Japan Railways Corporation.

One of the most popular features of Shibuya Scramble Square is the observation deck on the roof. Called Shibuya Sky, the observation deck is divided into three zones: the Sky Gallery, the Sky Gate and the Sky Stage. It offers a 360-degree view of the city that can be reached for a ticket price of about $17 USD (between 1,800 and 2,000 yen depending on where the purchase is made).

Shibuya Scramble Square has more than 200 shops and restaurants. Patrons can shop for cosmetics, apparel, accessories, shoes and electronics. Food establishments serve everything from western-influenced sweets to traditional Japanese cuisine.
2
Hachiko Statue

2) Hachiko Statue

Hachiko (1923 – 1935) was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Odate in Akita Prefecture. He is renowned for his extraordinary loyalty to his owner and is referred to as "faithful dog Hachiko" in Japanese.

In 1924, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, adopted Hachiko, a golden brown Akita, as his pet. Throughout the professor's lifetime, Hachiko would eagerly welcome him at Shibuya Station, which was conveniently located nearby, every evening. However, after Professor Ueno's passing, Hachiko continued to faithfully await his return for the next 9 years, 9 months, and 15 days, consistently appearing at the station just in time for the train's arrival. This unwavering devotion captured the hearts of the Japanese people and came to symbolize a profound sense of family loyalty that everyone should aspire to emulate. Over time, Hachiko's legendary faithfulness evolved into a national symbol of loyalty, especially towards the Emperor and his institution.

In April 1934, a bronze statue resembling Hachiko was erected at Shibuya Station, and Hachiko himself attended its unveiling. During World War II, the statue was repurposed for the war effort, but in 1948, The Society for Recreating the Hachiko Statue commissioned Takeshi Ando, the son of the original artist, to create a new statue. A dedication ceremony took place upon the installation of the new statue in August 1948, which still stands today and serves as a popular meeting spot. The station exit adjacent to this statue is known as the "Hachiko Exit."

The Hachiko Exit (Exit #8) provides access to Shibuya Crossing, a bustling and enormous location that is one of the city's most favored meeting points.
3
Shibuya Crossing

3) Shibuya Crossing (must see)

Shibuya Crossing, also known as Shibuya Scramble Crossing, is a famous pedestrian crossing in Tokyo. Situated in front of the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station, this crossing halts all vehicular traffic in every direction, allowing pedestrians to swarm the entire intersection. The nearby statue of Hachikō, positioned between the station and the crossing, serves as a popular meeting point and is almost always bustling with people.

At this bustling crossing, three large TV screens are affixed to nearby buildings, along with numerous advertising signs. The Starbucks store that overlooks the crossing is among the busiest in the world. The high volume of foot traffic and the abundance of advertisements have led to comparisons with the iconic Times Square intersection in New York City and Piccadilly Circus intersection in London. Shibuya Crossing can accommodate as many as 2,500 people crossing simultaneously.

Shibuya Crossing frequently appears in movies and television shows set in Tokyo, such as "Lost in Translation," "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," "Resident Evil: Afterlife" and "Retribution," as well as in both domestic and international news broadcasts. Additionally, Scramble Crossing plays a significant role in the video game "The World Ends With You," which is entirely set in the Shibuya neighborhood.

In many respects, Shibuya Crossing is considered the symbol of metropolitan Tokyo.
4
Shibuya 109

4) Shibuya 109

Shibuya 109 is a shopping center located in the Shibuya District. It has over a hundred boutiques selling trendy clothes for women.

Shibuya 109 is located in a street that was once called Koibumi Yokocho or Love Letter lane. It was designed by architect, Minoru Takeyama and built in 1979. The name 109 is from the Japanese characters stands for the Tokyu Group which operates the shopping center. It has a cylindrical shape and shoppers move in a loop on each floor through the elevators with a full view of all the shops. There are ten floors, eight above the ground and two below.

Small designers and manufacturers who sell the latest trends in clothing for young women have outlets at the Shibuya 109 building. It is very popular with young women between the ages of 15 and 20. The building is famous for creating a new culture among young Japanese women called the Kogal subculture. Kogals wear platform boots, plenty of makeup, color their hair blond, wear miniskirts, artificial suntans and plenty of fashion accessories. The stores attract customers from all over the country and their popularity among young Japanese women has not faded since the Shibuya 109 building opened its doors.

Why You Should Visit:
Very cute and trendy Japanese fashion for the younger generation. Most of the clothes are somewhat pricey and small in size but certainly worth having a look. The accessories are gorgeous and you can stock up on some of the cutest necklaces and hairpins.

Tip:
Make sure you check out all the levels if you go.
5
Center-gai Shopping Street

5) Center-gai Shopping Street

The Center Gai is a shopping street in Tokyo that begins at the front of the Shibuya Station to the Tokyu Departmental Store main building. The name has recently been changed to Basketball Street.

The Center Gai is 350 meters long and is located between the Bunkamura Street and Koen street. It has many shops selling fashion clothing, game arcades, bars, cheap cafes, music stores, innovative boutiques and restaurants. It has the reputation of setting many fashion trends among Japanese youth. It is a place where young Japanese and tourists hang out at night. The Center Gai also divides the two large departmental stores in Tokyo, Seibu and Tokyu.

The Center Gai now known as the Basketball Street is run by the merchants’ body called the Shibuya Center Gai Association. The headquarters of the National Basketball Organization, the BJ League is located in the street within the large Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The reason for the change of name was to clean up the image of the street that has often been associated with drug peddlers and other delinquents and has earned nicknames such as Scary Street and Dirty Street.

Why You Should Visit:
Quite a good place to experience the nightlife of metropolitan Tokyo while doing some shopping.

Tip:
It can be very busy so be prepared for crowds but makes for some awesome photos (it's almost obligatory to cross it from different sides to take photos from different angles!).
You can spend all your money at Loft and the amazing Tokyu Hands (there's also a café there on the 9th floor).
6
Mandarake

6) Mandarake

Mandarake is the largest seller of Manga collectibles in Japan and there are three major stores stocking them in Tokyo. Manga are comics and cartoons created in Japan.

There are three major shopping places where one can find Mandarake products in Tokyo. Products offered by the stores include second hand Doujinshi or comics created by amateurs, manga comics, toys, anime cels, Shitajike or pencil boards, Cds, Lds, posters and art books.

There is a small shopping mall with 12 specialized Mandarake shops in Nakano. Each stocks specific items relating to manga anime or video games. Items available include model cars, idol goods, anime song cds, videogames and costumes for cosplay. There are three used manga stores where comics are sorted by size and publisher. There is also a typically Japanese Maid Café at the mall.

The Shibuya district of Tokyo has a single large Mandarake store located two floors below the ground. The store also features a karaoke stage for the performance of popular anime theme songs.

Another popular Madarake store is the Ikebukuro Store near Tokyo Hands. All three stores attract many customers looking for used and new games related collectibles, retro US toys from the 1960s and 1970s and action figures related to Japanese anime.
7
Koen-dori Shopping Street

7) Koen-dori Shopping Street

The Koen-dori is one of the many shopping streets in the Shibuya area of Tokyo. Besides shops, it is also the venue where street music and dance performers entertain local and foreign visitors.

The Koen-dori is 450 meters long and stretches from the Marui City Departmental Store to the Shibuya City office. The street has many major departmental stores and fashion boutiques. The NHK or Japan Broadcasting Corporation and the Yoyogi Park Stadium are located here. Since Japanese fashions and pop culture have become popular around the world, Koen-dori is frequented by fashionable Japanese and international visitors.

The Yoyogi stadium hosts events, Shibuya festivals and musical performances. Koen-dori is also famous for music from street performers to major live concerts. Two other halls are the CC Lemon concert hall and the Shibuya-AX. A major shopping complex in the street is the Parco. It has two buildings one with 10 floors and the other with 9 floors. It has become a symbol of the street and is a place where Japanese teenagers hang out. There are trendy shops, restaurants, entertainment centers, a theater, art gallery and a club within the complex. Visitors can download an online guide to shopping on Koen-dori and also get an English guidebook for a walking tour around the street.

Tip:
A small guidebook is available for better orientation in this very vibrant street: http://www.koen-dori.com/guidebook/guidebook_en.pdf
8
Yoyogi Park

8) Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park, located near Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, is one of Tokyo's largest parks. On Sundays, it serves as a gathering place for various activities such as music performances, cycling, and martial arts practice. Inside the park, you'll find the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, often used for hosting concerts and other events.

Interestingly, Yoyogi Park has historical significance, as it occupies the site where Japan's first successful powered aircraft flight took place on December 19, 1910, by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa. Later, it became an army parade ground and, from September 1945, served as the "Washington Heights" military barracks for U.S. officers during the Allied occupation of Japan.

In 1964, during the Tokyo Olympics, this area was transformed to accommodate the main athletes' village and the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. This distinctive building, designed by Kenzo Tange, hosted swimming and diving events, with an annex for basketball. Then, in 1967, most of the land between the gymnasium complex and Meiji Shrine was converted into Yoyogi Park.

Today, Yoyogi Park remains a popular destination for residents and tourists in Tokyo. During the spring, thousands of people visit the park to enjoy cherry blossoms during hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. The park offers a landscaped environment with picnic areas, bike paths, bicycle rentals, and public sports courts for visitors to enjoy.
9
Omotesandō Avenue

9) Omotesandō Avenue

Omotesandō is a tree-lined avenue located in Shibuya and Minato, Tokyo, that extends from the entrance of the Meiji Shrine to Aoyama Street, where you'll find Omotesandō Station. Originally established during the Taishō era, it served as the grand approach to the Meiji Shrine, a sacred place dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken.

Today, Omotesandō serves as a vital route for both vehicles and pedestrians, connecting the vibrant neighborhoods of Harajuku and Aoyama. This area boasts an array of renowned international brand boutiques, including names like Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, and Gucci, alongside popular fast fashion retailers like Gap, H&M, and Zara. In the book "Luxury Brand Management," luxury brand manager Michel Chevalier even considers Omotesandō one of Tokyo's prime locations for luxury goods stores.

Omotesandō is also home to notable establishments such as the Kiddyland toy store, Laforet shopping complex, and the Oriental Bazaar, offering diverse shopping experiences. The adjacent side streets, known as Ura-Harajuku, add to the neighborhood's appeal with their cozy cafes, bars, restaurants, and boutique shops.

Furthermore, Omotesandō plays host to Tokyo's annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade, adding a touch of international cultural celebration to this vibrant locale.
10
Takeshita Street

10) Takeshita Street

Takeshita Street, situated in the vibrant Harajuku district of Shibuya, is a bustling 350-meter thoroughfare renowned for its eclectic mix of stores. The street slopes gently from Harajuku Station to Meiji Dori and is a pedestrian-only zone from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Takeshita Street is celebrated for its unique fashion culture and is frequently visited by students on school trips and international tourists, seeing a particular surge in visitors during weekends, holidays, and school vacations.

The street is characterized by small, trendy boutiques targeting a youthful demographic. Some stores have maintained their presence for decades, blending tradition with the latest fashion trends. Alongside major chains like The Body Shop, McDonald's, and 7-Eleven, the majority of local businesses are small independent shops that carry an array of styles. These shops are often a bellwether for broader fads, and some are known as "antenna shops," which manufacturers seed with prototypes for test-marketing.

The street's transformation into a shopping hub began in 1976, while the late 1990s saw the rise of subcultures like hip-hop, Gothic, and Lolita, which gained popularity among the youth. But above all that, it gained global recognition as the epicenter of "kawaii" culture in the 1990s.

In the mid-2000s, Takeshita Street attracted Chinese tourists in their numbers, drawn to Japanese souvenirs available at 100-yen shops like Daiso Takeshita Street and local drug stores.

Despite its dynamic history and diverse offerings, efforts have been made to maintain the area's cultural integrity, including regulations against adult entertainment establishments.
11
Meiji Jingu Shrine

11) Meiji Jingu Shrine (must see)

Located in a scenic area filled with evergreens, the Meiji Shrine honors Emperor Meiji and his wife with their spirits enshrined. It was established by government resolution after Emperor Meiji's death to celebrate his influence on Japan's modernization. The site chosen was an iris garden that the emperor and empress used to visit, in Tokyo. Itō Chūta started its construction in 1915, using the Nagare-zukuri architectural style, featuring Japanese cypress and copper predominantly.

By 1926, the shrine and its surrounding grounds were complete, with initial dedication in 1920 and final construction in 1921. It held a prominent position as a Kanpei-taisha (top-ranked government shrine) until 1946. World War II bombings destroyed the original structure, but a public fundraising drive rebuilt it by 1958.

The shrine is in the middle of a forest, spanning 700,000 square meters with 120,000 trees from 365 varieties, donated from across Japan at the shrine's inception. It's a popular spot for leisure and is especially crowded during New Year's first prayers. Visitors engage in Shinto practices here, like offerings and wish-making on wooden plaques.

Meiji Shrine comprises two main precincts: the Naien, or inner area, with shrine buildings and a museum containing royal memorabilia, constructed in the Azekurazukuri style, and the Gaien, or outer area, featuring a gallery with murals of the emperor's life and sports venues, including the National Stadium. The Meiji Memorial Hall, once a political meeting place, now hosts Shinto weddings.

Why You Should Visit:
Amazing for taking a walk and enjoying the views offered. The setting for this shrine is perfect: woodlands that are well over 100 years old and comprise close to 365 different tree species.

Tip:
If you can organize your schedule, try going on a Sunday, when weddings are held in the compound, which are traditional, colorful and fascinating, and the entrance is free from sunrise to sunset.
There is also a lovely cafe in the grounds, a gift/souvenir shop with reasonably-priced articles, and a large collection of sake barrels stacked and lined up in a large display.

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