Shibuya Walking Tour (Self Guided), Tokyo

The Shibuya district is a shopping and entertainment center 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 to socialize and have a good time. Still, if you prefer a bit of quiet to the fun and frolic, head north from Shibuya to find peace and tranquility in the Meiji shrine and the Yoyogi Park. To experience the multifaceted nature of the area in more detail, follow this self-guided walking tour.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play 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, Akita Prefecture, and is remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner. Hachiko is known in Japanese as "faithful dog Hachiko".

In 1924, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took Hachiko, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner's life, Hachiko greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. After professor's death, each day for the next 9 years, 9 months and 15 days, Hachiko awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station. Hachiko became a national sensation. His faithfulness to his master's memory impressed the people of Japan as a spirit of family loyalty all should strive to achieve. Eventually, Hachiko's legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty, particularly to the person and institution of the Emperor.

In April 1934, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected at Shibuya Station, and Hachiko himself was present at its unveiling. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II. In 1948 The Society for Recreating the Hachiko Statue commissioned Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, to make a second statue. When the new statue appeared, a dedication ceremony occurred. The new statue, which was erected in August 1948, still stands and is a popular meeting spot. The station exit near this statue is named "Hachiko Exit".

Hachiko Exit (Exit #8), which leads to Shibuya Crossing, is enormous and always bustling, and is one of the most popular meeting points in the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Shibuya Crossing

3) Shibuya Crossing (must see)

Shibuya Crossing, or Shibuya Scramble Crossing, is a popular scramble crossing in Tokyo. It is located in front of the Shibuya Station Hachiko Exit and stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection. The nearby statue of Hachikō, between the station and the intersection, is a common meeting place and almost always crowded.

Three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings overlook the crossing, as well as many advertising signs. The Starbucks store overlooking the crossing is also one of the busiest in the world. Its heavy traffic and inundation of advertising have led to it being compared to the Times Square intersection in New York City and Piccadilly Circus intersection in London. Shibuya Crossing greets as many as 2,500 people crossing at a time.

Shibuya Crossing is often featured in movies and television shows which take place in Tokyo, such as Lost in Translation, The Fast and the Furious, Tokyo Drift, and Resident Evil, Afterlife and Retribution, as well as on domestic and international news broadcasts. Scramble Crossing is a major location in the video game The World Ends With You, which is set entirely in the neighborhood of Shibuya.

In many ways, Shibuya Crossing is seen as the symbol of metropolitan Tokyo.
Sight description based on wikipedia
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.

Opening Hours: daily: 10am - 9pm
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.

Business hours: 12:00 to 20:00.
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 is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. Every Sunday people gather here to play music, ride bikes or practice martial arts. Within the park is the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, often used to host concerts and other performances.

Yoyogi Park stands on the site from where the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan took place by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa on 19 December 1910. The area later became an army parade ground. From September 1945, the sited housed the military barracks known as the "Washington Heights" for U.S. officers during the Allied occupation of Japan.

In 1964, the area was used for the Tokyo Olympics housing the main athletes village and the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The distinctive building, which was designed by Kenzo Tange, hosted the swimming and diving, with an annex for the basketball. In 1967 most of the area north of the gymnasium complex and south of Meiji Shrine was turned into Yoyogi Park.

The park remains a popular Tokyo destination. In spring, thousands of people visit the park to enjoy the cherry blossom during hanami. The landscaped park has picnic areas, bike paths, cycle rentals and public sport courts.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Omotesandō Avenue

9) Omotesandō Avenue

Omotesandō is a zelkova tree-lined avenue located in Tokyo. Omotesandō is known as one of the foremost 'architectural showcase' streets in the world, featuring a multitude of fashion flagship stores within a short distance of each other. These include the Louis Vuitton store (Jun Aoki, 2002), Tod's (Toyo Ito, 2004), Dior (SANAA, 2004), Omotesandō Hills (Tadao Ando, 2005) and Gyre (MVRDV, 2007), amongst others.

Omotesandō is the main vehicle and pedestrian thoroughfare for Harajuku and Aoyama. The area features many international brand boutiques, such as Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Gucci, as well as fast fashion retailers such as Gap, H&M and Zara. In his book Luxury Brand Management, luxury brand manager Michel Chevalier cites Omotesandō as one of the best locations in Tokyo for a luxury goods store. Omotesandō is also home to the Kiddyland toy store, Laforet, and the Oriental Bazaar. Omotesandō's side streets, known as Ura-Harajuku, feature a range of smaller cafes, bars, restaurants, and boutique stores.

Omotesandō is the venue for Tokyo's annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Takeshita Street

10) Takeshita Street

Takeshita Street (竹下通り? Takeshita-dōri) is a pedestrian shopping street lined with fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants in Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan. Stores on Takeshita Street include major chains such as The Body Shop, McDonald's, and 7-Eleven, but most of the businesses are small independent shops that carry an array of styles. The shops on this street are often a bellwether for broader fads, and some are known as "antenna shops," which manufacturers seed with prototypes for test-marketing.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Meiji Jingu Shrine

11) Meiji Jingu Shrine (must see)

Nestled in a very picturesque evergreen area, Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. After the emperor's death in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. An iris garden in an area of Tokyo where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken had been known to visit was chosen as the building's location. Construction began in 1915 under Itō Chūta, and the shrine was built in the traditional Nagare-zukuri style and is made up primarily of Japanese cypress and copper.

It was formally dedicated in 1920, completed in 1921, and its grounds officially finished by 1926. Until 1946, the Meiji Shrine was officially designated one of the Kanpei-taisha, meaning that it stood in the first rank of government supported shrines. The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II. The present iteration of the shrine was funded through a public fundraising effort and completed in October 1958.

Meiji Shrine is located in a forest that covers an area of 700,000 square meters (about 175 acres). This area is covered by an evergreen forest that consists of 120,000 trees of 365 different species, which were donated by people from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established. The forest is visited by many as a recreation and relaxation area in the center of Tokyo. Millions of visitors from all over the country come in the first week of the New Year for the first prayers of the year called Hatsumode. Worshippers also perform typical Shinto rituals like making offerings, purchasing charms and making wishes on wooden plates called Emas.

The shrine itself is composed of two major areas: Naien and Gaien. The Naien is the inner precinct, which is centered on the shrine buildings and includes a treasure museum that houses articles of the Emperor and Empress. The treasure museum is built in the Azekurazukuri style. The Gaien is the outer precinct, which includes the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery that houses a collection of 80 large murals illustrative of the events in the lives of the Emperor and his consort.
It also includes a variety of sports facilities, including the National Stadium, the Meiji Memorial Hall, which was originally used for governmental meetings, including discussions surrounding the drafting of the Meiji Constitution in the late 19th century. Today it is used for 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.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 5:45am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

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