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Shibuya, Tokyo

Although it’s one of Tokyo’s 23 city wards, the name “Shibuya” often refers just to the entertainment and shopping district surrounding Shibuya station. Full of nightclubs, restaurants, and retail stores, the area is one of Japan’s focal points for youth culture and fashion. Most of Japan’s major department stores have a Shibuya branch, and the streets are buzzing with visitors every day. The majority of larger stores in Shibuya belong either to the Seibu or Tokyu corporations. The famous, neon-lit intersection at the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya station is a well-known photo spot. It is seen in many movies and advertisements, including “Lost in Translation,” starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

A major shopping, office and culture complex, known as the Shibuya Hikarie, opened on the eastern side of Shibuya station in 2012. There are more redevelopment works planned for the station and the surrounding area to be constructed in the next few years. In 2013, several rail platforms will be relocated to enable smoother connections, and the whole plaza to the west side is also due for redevelopment.

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Shibuya Center-gai Street

Interesting Areas
Center Gai
This is the pedestrian area right in the middle of Shibuya. It is surrounded by boutiques and stores, as well as game centers, and is regarded as the birthplace of a number of fashion trends. The area itself is a popular meeting place, and can get quite crowded in the evening as people head out to various clubs and bars.

Koen Dori
Koen Dori means “Park Street”, and is so named because it leads directly towards Yoyogi Park. It’s a well-known shopping street and is home to the “Parco” department store.

Supeinzaka
Supeinzaka, or “Spain Slope” is a short street leading upwards to the Parco store. There are cafes, restaurants, and boutiques here. The slope got its name because it resembles a street scene from Spain.

Love Hotel Hill
Here you will find numerous love hotels. These offer themed rooms to couples, either for 2-3 hour blocks of time (from about 5,000 yen) or overnight (from about 10,000 yen).

Shopping
Tokyu Department Stores
Open between 10:00 and 20:00 (Shibuya station store open until 21:00, except Sundays)
Restaurants usually open between 11:00 and 22:30
Shibuya has two Tokyu department stores. One is located directly above the station, and the other is a short walk to the northwest.

Shibuya Hikarie
Shops open between 10:00 and 21:00
Restaurants open between 11:00 and 23:00
This is quite a new complex, having opened in Spring 2012. It is located to the east side of the station and has both eateries and retail outlets. There are offices on the upper levels, and the complex also has a cultural space, comprising exhibition floors and a theatre.

Shibuya 109
Open between 10:00 and 21:00
Restaurants open between 11:00 and 22:00
(Closed on January 1)

Shibuya 109 is popular with younger women, boasting over a hundred fashion stores over ten floors. Although Shibuya 109 is generally pronounced in Japanese as “Shibuya ichi maru kyu”, the Japanese characters for 109 may also be pronounced “Tō” (10) “kyu” (9), forming a “play on words” with the Tokyu Corporation, which owns the complex.

Shibuya Mark City
Open between 10:00 and 21:00
Restaurants open between 11:00 and 23:00

This is like a small town within itself, directly adjacent to Shibuya station. Here, you’ll find a variety of restaurants, offices, and stores, as well as the Excel Hotel Tokyu. Shibuya Mark City has its own bus station and is also the final stop on the Keio Inokashira Line.

Tokyu Hands
Open between 10:00 and 20:30

Tokyu Hands is like a department store for craft and DIY supplies. It’s eight floors high and stocks all kinds of materials for interior and DIY projects, along with craft supplies, hobby materials, outdoor and travel goods and stationery.

Seibu
Open between 10:00 and 21:00 (Restaurants keep the same hours as the store)

Seibu is a department store, mainly for fashion. The Shibuya branch has nine levels, with restaurants on the bottom and top floors.

Loft
Open between 10:00 and 21:00

Loft shares similarities with Tokyu Hands, but places more of an emphasis on hobbies, craft products and gifts. There is less focus on DIY projects. The store’s Shibuya branch has seven levels.

Parco
Stores open between 10:00 and 21:00
Restaurants open between 11:00 and 23:00 (24:00 on Fridays/Saturdays/Public Holidays)

Located just a few hundred meters to the south of Yoyogi Park, this is a large shopping complex, focusing mainly on fashion boutiques. Plenty of known brands have branches within Parco, including Quattro, Part 1, Part 3, Up’s-4 and Zero Gate.

Marui
Stores open between 11:00 and 21:00 (20:30 on Sundays and Public Holidays)

Marui has branches in nearly every Tokyo district. The branch in Shibuya is found to the north of Shibuya station, and specializes in women’s and men’s clothing.

Other places of interest in Shibuya
Tobacco and Salt Museum
Open between 10:00 and 18:00 (last entry at 17:30)
Closed Monday, unless a public holiday, and also between Dec 29 and Jan 3.
Admission: 100 yen.

Japan Tobacco oversees the running of this museum, which is dedicated to the story of the tobacco and salt trades. Unfortunately, information provided for English visitors is quite limited here.

Hachiko Statue
Hachiko is the name of a loyal dog who would wait outside Shibuya station for his owner, a college professor, to return home from work each day at 4PM. Even after his master’s death, Hachiko kept returning to wait at the station every afternoon. This continued for ten years, until the dog passed away from old age. He has been immortalized with this statue, which keeps watch over the “Hachiko Exit” of Shibuya station.

Bunkamura
Museum open between 10:00 and 19:00 (21:00 on Friday and Saturday)
Shops open between 10:00 and 21:00
Restaurants open between 11:00 and 22:00
Closed on January 1

Bunkamura, or “culture village,” sits adjacent to the main Tokyu store in Shibuya. It is a complex containing two cinemas, a theatre, a museum, and a concert hall. There is also a small assortment of restaurants and shops.

Getting to Shibuya
Shibuya is well known and extremely accessible.  As one of the busiest stations in Tokyo, it serves as a connecting station for ten different lines: the JR Yamanote Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, JR Saikyo Line, Ginza Subway Line, Hanzoman Subway Line, Fukutoshin Subway Line, Keio Inokashira Line, Tokyu Den-Entoshi Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line, and the Narita Express.

Accommodation
Because of its direct access to many different train lines, Shibuya is an ideal base from which to access the rest of Tokyo. Although there are not many budget options, Tokyu operates three well-recommended and conveniently located hotels in the area. It is also possible to book an overnight stay in one of the hotels on Love Hotel Hill!

Before booking your stay you should definitely check out the page on Shibuya hotels.