Shibuya Area Guide

Shibuya (渋谷) encapsulates the stereotypical image of Tokyo as the city of the future better than any other area. No self-respecting travel documentary on Tokyo would dare broadcast without at least one obligatory scene showing Shibuya’s crowds or the neon signs at night. Walk out of Hachiko Exit of the 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 tastes, Shibuya is unmissable for visitors to Japan.

Like Shinjuku, Shibuya suffered heavily in the air raids of 1945. The ruins were prime bartering grounds for street hawkers and black market stalls in the immediate post-war era. In the 1950s it was—rather fittingly for an area that today seems the epitome of commerce—the department stores that led the redevelopment of the area: Tokyu Department store (est. 1954), Tokyu Bunka Kaiken (est. 1957; now Hikarie), and Tokyu Building (est. 1965; now Tokyu Plaza). As the 1970s and 1980s brought in dramatic shifts in the attitudes and wants of youth culture, Shibuya found itself at the center of it all—a position it still holds today.

Shibuya in 1952. Hachiko's statue can be seen to the bottom left of the photograph.

Shibuya in 1952. Hachiko’s statue can be seen to the bottom left of the photograph.

Things to Do in Shibuya