Have you seen the pictures of really crowded street crossings? There is a great chance that the crossing in the picture was the one in front of Shibuya station.
Before going on into the rest of Shibuya, stay at the crossing for a while and amaze at the number of people that manage to gather before every walk signal. Talk about movement!
Also, this is the first place ever that I have heard stationary loudspeakers giving out commercial messages to the waiting pedestrians. Maybe this is a feature known to you (if you live in a megalopolis) but I haven't experienced this anywhere else...
In Shibuya there were also a lot of tiny restaurants offering Japanese fast-food very cheap. A great lunch tip for the budget conscious!
Just outside Shibuya station is an intersection that is supposedly the world's busiest. And from what I saw on a Friday night there, I wouldn't doubt it one bit. Every three minutes the traffic lights turn red in all directions, allowing a freeflow of thousands of pedestrians across all at once. It's total madness and must be seen to be believed!
Just outside an entrance to Shibuya Station is a bronze statue of an akita dog. The statue honors Japan's most famous and beloved dog, Hachinko.
Hachinko was born in Akita in 1923 and was first brought to Tokyo in 1924. He and his owner, Mr. Eisaburo Uyeno, were inseparable friends right from the start. Each day "Hachi" would accompany Eisaburo, a professor at the Imperial University, to the train station when he left for work. Upon returning, the professor would find the dog patiently waiting, tail wagging. This happy routine continued until one fateful day in 1925, when the professor fell ill on the job and tragically died before he could return home.
Despite the fact that Hachiko was less than two years old at the time, the bond between dog and owner was strong. Hachiko continued to wait each day at Shibuya station for a friend who was never coming back. At times, he wouldn't return home for days at a stretch.
The Akita became a familiar sight to commuters as he kept his vigil for over ten years. On March 8, 1935, Hachiko finally went to meet his master. He died on the very same spot he last saw his friend alive.
The people who passed the loyal dog each day were so touched by his story that they erected a statue in his honor in 1934. The famous artist Ando Teru was commissioned for the original bronzed sculpture, which was melted down during the war. After the war, Hachiko was hardly forgotten. In 1948 The Society For Recreating The Hachiko Statue commissioned Ando Tekeshi, son of the original artist who had since passed away, to make a second statue, which is the one still seen today.
Shibuya is one of the busiest and livliest shopping and entertainment areas in Tokyo. It is also one of the most crowded areas of the city and attracts young, hip locals by the thousands. There are a couple of big department stores, namely Seibu, Tokyu, and Parco, but there are also numerous trendy little boutiques. Shibuya is also known for "love hotel hill", where couples can spend a few private hours in tacky themed motels. If you venture onto some of the side streets and alleys, you will find lots of great bars and restaurants. Definitely a happening place!
Don't limit yourself to just shopping in Shibuya as a stroll into some of the backstreets can often turn up some unexpected surprises. This is a piece of artwork I found late one night on the side of a building near a theatre.
Shibuya is much like Shinjuku on first impressions, but after spending a bit of time here, it's not difficult to see that there are differences. The first being that the people all seem to be young, like there's an age limit on the place or something.
The place is full of department stores and the main pedestrian intersection is crossed over 3 million times per day according to locals.
One area of interest is at the top of the hill, where the 'love hotels' are clustered together. It seems quite safe to wander and it's interesting to see the different architecture styles.
One of the most popular places among young collage students, along the Streets are department stores, movie theaters, fast food stores, composing an amusement quarter, and offers a wide range of restaurants for all tastes and price categories.
Go see my travelogue for a full demo of a crossing at Shibuya, it is quite an experience.
It was shown numerous time in the movie "Lost in translation" in 2003.
Many crossing path goes in every direction and every minute, hundreds of people rush to cross the street.
One of the gathering place in Shibuya, the statue of Hachiko commemorates the dog who waited for his master return at this station every night for 10 years.
It was put there in 1936 at the exit of Shibuya station.
Because of the area where we were staying and because we were not traveling at rush hour, I was surprised at how relatively calm Tokyo seemed. (Compared to the popular image) It didn't seem anymore frantic than NY or other major cities. I did have a brief moment of the insantiy though when I popped out of the Metro station at Shibuya. Imagine Times Square neon and multi-street intersection with crowds, traffic, neon, subways, shops, video on a slightly smaller and closer scale and then image that the billboards all have sound. The resulting Cacaphony is impressive and wierd. Especially during a sunny day where it all seem disconcerting. I am 100% certain that without Shibuya, there could be no opening scene of Blade Runner. It's kind of cool and a good place to hang out watch people, shop, grab an inexpensive bit or coffee.
The statue outside the north exit of Shibuya station is a regular meeting point for Tokyoans (is that the correct term ?).
The tale is a bit on the weepie side (hankies at the ready), of a dog who for a couple of years went to the train station and waited for his master to return. His master, a professor, died at work - but the dog returned every day for 10 years.
This impressive example of loyalty really touched something deep in the Japansese soul - and the statue was the result.
The picture is not of the statue, but of the dog itself when it was alive in 1932
Photo: Akita-Inu Preservation Society Inc.,
That night I was lucky and also two tourist I invited, and I have this plan and this is my idea to go to the bars in Shibuya with live Japanese band.
Because I told them, before I am going back to Vancouver I want to experience and hear how the Japanese " Rock and Roll ".
So we arrived early in Shibuya Station so I said, we wait here and it is too early to go to the bar.
I noticed that in front of Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu they setting up a street band and I said, this is cool and we want to hear them.
The lead singer sing even we do not understand they are really sound very good. After they sing and we clap our hand. And we are the only one who clap our hand. So many Japanese listening around, and I said, maybe they have a different culture here.
After the mini break, one girl giving hand out pamplet about the band and they call themselves " KINARI ".
So we did not go to the bar after all, we hear street live band for free.
I just setting on this hard round cement ( sorry I know what you call it ) and waiting for another tourist, and this young girls she is holding a flower she is waiting for friend/classmate.
So I talk to her, and I said, I am tourist from Vancouver, and suddenly some of her classmate they arrived and they told me that they were in "speech contest " and so we talk for an hour any topics, they really like it because they said, that's the only way they could practice their English.
One guys he gave me a lighter with the name of Aoyama Gakuin University for souvenier. And the other girl, she took my pictures, on her cellular phone and I told her this is cool.
Nice to see from the bottom what you usually have seen only on some films: modern architecture with a lot of techno-gadgets, with waves of young japaneese meeting and walking around to have a drink, do some browsing (maybe some shopping)... hope you like the crowds, otherwise, just keep the picture :)
If you are coming from a small town, I think your head will spin here. You don't need to buy anything (though it is a shopping area, of course), just watch the crowds crossing the enormous intersections at Shibuya! It's unbelievable!!