Shibuya Walking Tour, Tokyo (Self Guided)

This place is a melting ground for the fashion conscious and trendy teenagers and is lined with trendy shops, boutiques and some historic sites. On Sundays, crowds of young people converge here dressed up in myriad colors and styles to socialize and have fun. Other significant sites here are the Meiji shrine and the Yoyogi Park. Take time off to experience the fun and frolic that marks the place.
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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: 9
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Author: ann
1
Hachiko Statue

1) Hachiko Statue

Hachikō (1923 – 1935) was an Akita dog born on a farm near the city of Ōdate, Akita Prefecture, who is remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner. Hachikō is known in Japanese as "Chūken Hachikō" ("faithful dog Hachiko") — "hachi" meaning eight, and a suffix "kō" meaning affection.
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner's life, Hachikō 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, Hachikō awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station. Hachikō 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, Hachikō'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 Hachikō 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 Hachikō 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 entrance near this statue is named "Hachikō-guchi", meaning "The Hachikō Entrance/Exit", and is one of Shibuya Station's five exits.

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
2
Center-gai Shopping Street

2) Center-gai Shopping Street (must see)

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).
3
Shibuya 109

3) Shibuya 109 (must see)

Shibuya 109 is a shopping center located in the Shibuya District of Tokyo operated by the Tokyu Group. 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 To meaning 10 and Yu meaning 9 and stands for the Tokyu Group. 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 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 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
4
Koen-dori Shopping Street

4) Koen-dori Shopping Street (must see)

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
5
Mandarake

5) 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.
6
Bunkamura

6) Bunkamura

The Bankamura meaning Culture Village is a large theater and music hall complex in Tokyo. It is a multipurpose entertainment zone operated by the Tokyu Department Store chain.

The Bunkamura was designed by French architect, Jean Michel Willmotte and opened its doors in 2009. The facade resembles a sailing ship and the complex has several floors with cinema and concert halls, boutique stores and restaurants. The sixth floor has a large theater called Le Cinema that offers the latest in movie screening techniques. The two screens are equipped with state of the art picture and acoustic capabilities. On the third floor is the Orchard Hall which is regarded as Tokyo’s finest venues for staging concerts and ballets. The theater Cocoon on the first floor is a hall that has a seating space for an audience of 700. Dramas, music and dance performances are held at the Cocoon.

The Bunkamura has two art galleries featuring temporary exhibitions of masterpieces from around the world including a gallery featuring works by new artists. There is an Italian restaurant, a bookstore, a wine salon called Le Deux Magots and a Swarovski shop. In September, the Literary Prize of Bunkamura is awarded annually to a Japanese writer at the Le Deux Magots restaurant.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Yoyogi Park

7) 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
8
Meiji Jingu Shrine

8) 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
9
Takeshita Street

9) 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

Walking Tours in Tokyo, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Tokyo

Create Your Own Walk in Tokyo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Tokyo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Ueno Park Walking Tour

Ueno Park Walking Tour

The Ueno Park, next to the Ueno station is a public park that offers visitors a large number of attractions. The area is home to many of the famous attractions in Tokyo. They are the Ueno Zoo, major museums like the Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum and The National Museum of Western Art. This walking tour would provide you an insight into old Tokyo. The museums here preserve the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour

Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour

The Chiyoda district is steeped in history and is a reflection of the city’s culture, both past and present. Besides several prominent historical landmarks like the Imperial Palace, the place boasts of some of the best museums in the region. The Kitanomaru Park, part of the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, houses the National Museum of Modern Art, Science Museum and the Nippon Bodokan. The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Religious Sites Walking Tour in Takanawa

Religious Sites Walking Tour in Takanawa

Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines dot Japan’s landscape. These temples and shrines are an architectural splendor and many of these can be found in every part of Tokyo. This guide will take you to the smaller Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in the Takanawa neighborhood of Tokyo. Most often overlooked by tourists, these temples and shrines are a beauty and should not be missed.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Best of Asakusa Walking Tour

Best of Asakusa Walking Tour

The Asakusa district in Tokyo is famous for the Senso-ji temple and is one of the few places in Tokyo that retains the old world charm. The temple markets, narrow streets, traditional shops and restaurants provide a glimpse of old Tokyo. It is also known as Tokyo's oldest geisha district. Take a walking tour and live the carnival atmosphere that pervades this place.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Tokyo without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Tokyo, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Art Museums in Tokyo

Art Museums in Tokyo

Like any city that is steeped in history and culture, Tokyo too boasts of a rich collection of art. Art museums and galleries across the city have a rich repertoire of art pieces that are worth a view. These museums are great places to learn about Japanese art, culture and a lot more.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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Authentic Japanese Dining in Tokyo

Tokyo is home to literally a million eating places, so finding a truly authentic Japanese style restaurant with an English language menu can be rather tricky. We have compiled a list of easy to find Japanese style restaurants covering a range of culinary specialties to make your taste-buds tingle...
12 Must-Try Traditional Japanese Foods in Tokyo

12 Must-Try Traditional Japanese Foods in Tokyo

Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Tokyo is complete without tasting the authentic, Tokyo-made Japanese food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Tokyo to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make...
Tokyo Souvenirs: 18 Authentic Japanese Products to Buy in Tokyo

Tokyo Souvenirs: 18 Authentic Japanese Products to Buy in Tokyo

The list of the delights of Tokyo is long and being exposed to just some of them, at some point, can make one addicted (just as the Charles Winchester III character from the M.A.S.H. series). Still, you can always "prolong" the experience and enjoy the effects of it more, if bring home...
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Eclectic Bars of Tokyo

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Tokyo for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Tokyo has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money getting around Tokyo and visiting the city's multiple highlights, you may want to resort to the Greater Tokyo Pass.

Among other conveniences, this pass allows bearer to explore Tokyo's metropolitan area with unlimited rides on railways of 12 private railway companies in Kanto area, as well as buses of 51 companies in metropolitan Tokyo and surrounding 3 prefectures for 3 days!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Tokyo hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Toshi Center Hotel, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Tokyo, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Tokyo typically costs somewhere between US$40+ and US$120 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Tokyo from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs).

- Attend a traditional tea ceremony, an integral part of Japanese culture, in Tokyo to perceive its sophisticated philosophy and to soak up the atmosphere and cultural highlights of this fascinating city with the help of a local guide on a jam-packed day of sightseeing in Japanese capital.

- Another good chance to absorb Tokyo's atmosphere within a shortest possible time is a 4-hour morning sightseeing tour embracing all of the city’s top highlights including major historic sights, shopping districts and otherwise colorful areas. Ideal for those on a first-time or short visit to Tokyo.

- Forget skyscrapers and transgress into the old-time, slow-paced Tokyo on a 3.5-hour guided walk through Yanaka, the historic part of the city dating back to the the Edo period, replete with charming temples and cherry blossom trees.

- Pedal your way around Tokyo on a 3-hour E-assist bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights and some hidden spots that you otherwise wouldn't have found or reached by public transport, stopping from time to time at some of the sights for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions en route from a knowledgeable group leader.

- No visit to Tokyo is complete without savoring authentic Japanese cuisine. Embark on a night food tour of Tokyo to appreciate the city’s nighttime culinary scene by getting a generous dollop of delectable local treats from selected pubs and restaurants under the watchful guidance of a local expert.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Tokyo, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Mt Fuji and Lake Ashi, Nikko National Park, Kamakura and Tokyo Bay, or Hakone. For as little as circa US$100 to US$300 per person you will get a chance to discover highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and Japan’s other most famous locations, explore the breathtaking countryside outside Tokyo including one of the best sightseeing spots in the country with lots of hot springs, visit the centuries-old center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship, see the Great Buddha statue, tour the ancient temples and scenic shrines, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Tokyo, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, bullet train (Shinkansen), boat, or a private vehicle (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.