Shibuya (渋谷) encapsulates the stereotypical image of Tokyo better than any other area. Walk out of the Hachiko Exit of JR Shibuya Station and you will be faced with swarms of young trendsetters, bright screens, noise from just about every direction, and the famous scramble crossing—reputedly the world’s busiest. Whatever your interests, Shibuya is unmissable for visitors to Tokyo.
Shibuya is also the name of the ward—one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo—but it is almost always used to refer to the area around the Shibuya Station. The center of it all is Center Gai, a shopping district on the other side opposite side of the crossing when you leave the station. Around this area you’ll find all the major Japanese department stores and Western brands like Levis and H&M, as well as numerous fast-food chains, coffee shops, and bars.
Here are a few things to do in Shibuya that aren’t visiting Hachiko.
Shibuya Parco has lots to offer, from art galleries and cool shops (including Japan’s first official Nintendo store) to a basement dining zone that looks like a hip and modern reinterpretation of a yokocho. With that, many shoppers forget that there’s a roofop garden here, and that’s a mistake. This little slice of green is quiet and serene, and it offers panoramic views of Shibuya cityscape. The sunset here is gorgeous, too.
Check out the on-site bar and restaurant Commune, which serves up casual food, cool drinks and cocktails, as well as the occasional events. The eatery has a lofty warehouse vibe, with scaffolding, timber bar tables and plenty of neon lights.
The individual stores are set up like street food carts. Ikiba offers everything from pasta, stew and salad, to finger food like fish and chips, plus exquisite cocktails. Takobar, on the other hand, serves tacos with handmade tortillas, as well as corn chips, guacamole and salsa, and a lineup of booze. Caffeine fiends can get their fix at Coffee Bar Gallage, which also offers coffee-based cocktails, or hit up Light Up Coffee for its single-origin brews.
One of the Tokyo’s most visited tourist towns Shibuya has become a much more attractive place to visit! Shibuya Stream, the new high-rise complex, just opened in Shibuya in September, 2018. The hot symbolic building has various facilities including restaurants, cafes, offices, a hotel, concert halls and so on.
For travellers, there are numerous restaurants and cafes serving various kinds of food and a gorgeous hotel named Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu. And the building is accessible from Shibuya Station since its is directly connected there.
Manchester-born club franchise Sankeys has been a Tokyo fixture since 2015, and this bar and lounge is the latest link in a chain that also includes clubs in several UK cities and an outpost in Ibiza. Occupying the top floor of the Q Plaza building in Harajuku, the Penthouse boasts eye-popping views, in addition to a top-of-the-line Alpha Recording System and a VIP bar occasionally manned by a mixologist formerly employed by Ginza’s Tender. The programming is heavy on house, techno and new disco, with events centred on the weekends. Thanks to its Harajuku location, home to Tokyo’s fashion industry, the venue gets plenty of painfully hip patrons.
A saving grace for fans of indoor recreation, EST Shibuya is a playground of ping pong tables, billiards and bowling alleys. There are four floors reserved for bowling alleys alone, where if you’re hungry you can order a snack from the touch panels available at every lane. Games cost ¥600 (5pm to closing) plus ¥350 for shoe rental.
If knocking down pins isn’t your thing, you can test your hand-eye coordination at the arcade on the first floor where there are a number of claw machines and photo booths that give you the chance to take home some memorabilia from your spontaneous all-nighter.
Even the most energetic of use need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city sometimes, and this is where Yoyogi park comes in. Yoyogi is just about smack dab in the centre of the city. Pretty close to Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Harajuku if you’re looking for a bit of a rest. Its one of Tokyo’s largest city parks, featuring wide lawns, ponds and forested areas. The park is a great place for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring and houses the famous Meiji Shrine.
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