Tokyo - Shibuya
Shibuya (渋谷; ) is a shopping and eating district popular with a lot of young Tokyoites. It's within walking distance from two other large shopping districts - Omotesando and Harajuku - as well as being quite close to Yoyogi Park and the Meiji Jingu shrine.
Shibuya deserves a prize as the district with more two-storey televisions than any other area in the world.
Most of the action in Shibuya is in the hectic blocks to the northwest of the JR station. The best place to get oriented is the Hachikō (ハチ公) exit, which opens onto the five-way "scramble crossing" under the giant video screen. From left to right at the edges of the square are...
- Keio Inokashira line station
- Dōgenzaka (道玄坂) slope
- 109 building
- Bunkamura-dōri (文化村通り) street
- Center-gai (センター街 Sentaa-gai) street
- Q-FRONT building featuring a large Starbucks and the monstrous video screen
- Koen-dōri (公園通り) street
- Inokashira-dōri (井の頭通り), branching to the left after the Seibu Department Store
- 109-2 building
- JR line tracks to Harajuku.
The area to the south of the station is bounded by a highway, so there's not much more than bus terminals (on both sides) and the Tokyu Plaza department store.
Shibuya's station is a notoriously convoluted web of passageways. Follow the signage and you should find your way out (or in).
- JR Yamanote, Saikyo Line
- Tokyu Toyoko, Den-en-toshi Line
- Keio Inokashira Line
- Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (G01), Hanzomon Line (Z01), Fukutoshin Line (F16)
You can also walk to Ebisu and Harajuku (where you could catch JR Yamanote Lines trains), and Omotesando (where you could catch Tokyo Metro Lines).
The Tokyu Toyoko line is the cheapest and most convenient way to visit Yokohama. Eventually in 2012, through service will start to the Fukutoshin subway line; when this happens, a new underground station at nearby Daikanyama will open, and the current Tokyu Toyoko platforms at Shibuya and Daikanyama will be abandoned.
There are many exits.
- Toyoko: exit to Omotesando, and Hachikou.
- JR: exit to Hachikou, and Moyai(fastest transfer to Toyoko)
- Den-en-toshi & Hanzomon: exit to Hachikou, and Omotesando.
- Hachikō (ハチ公). A diminutive statue of a dog tucked away in one corner of the big plaza outside the station, best known as a meeting place and for the story (see box). It is also the name of one of the many exits from Shibuya Station and the prime meeting place before a night out. Just hanging out near Hachiko for a while will give you some great people-watching opportunities.
- Center Gai (センター街 Sentaa-gai). The narrow street leading away from the station to the left of the giant video screen, it's famous as the birthplace of many of Japan's youth fashion trends. Center Gai is jam-packed with clothing stores, music stores, and video game arcades. This is a great place to stroll and feel the Shibuya vibe.
- Bunkamura, Bunkamura-dori. A complex featuring an excellent art museum, in addition to theaters for film and stage plays. On the basement floor there's an art and design bookstore as well as a branch of Paris' famous Les Deux Magots café.
Shibuya has a small collection of famously offbeat museums.
- Tobacco and Salt Museum (たばこと塩の博物館 Tabako to Shio no Hakubutsukan), Jinnan 1-1 6-8 (on Koen-dori), . This peculiar institution owes its existence to Japan's peculiar government monopoly on these two substances. The website advises that "dangerous substances are not permitted within the museum".
- TEPCO Electric Energy Museum (電力館 Denryokukan), Jinnan 1-12-10 (on Koen-dori), . A giant multi-story propaganda exercise courtesy of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), primarily devoted to extolling the virtues of nuclear energy. Well done if often more than slightly cheesy exhibits, many of them hands-on, and a great place for kids. Free admission, open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily except Wednesday.
There are movie theaters and electronics stores nearby.
Shibuya has lots and lots of interesting shopping opportunities. It's the home of the huge Tokyu conglomerate (railways, department stores, hotels, housing developments), and thus practically every major store in the area has Tokyu in its name.
- Mandarake. BEAM B2F, Udagawa 31-2, . Massive shop devoted to manga, anime, hentai, dojinshi, figurines and collectible offshoots.
- NHK Studio Park. Jinnan 2-2-1 (end of Koen-dori), . Studio sightseeing operation run by the national broadcaster NHK, home to a gift shop selling the widest collection of Domo-kun figures on the planet.
Shibuya is the center of Japanese youth culture and it shows.
- PARCO.  Two 11 story building home to youth culture and fashion.
- 0101 (Marui). 
- 109 Building (Ichi-maru-kyu). 
Shibuya has copious music shopping opportunities, but expect some sticker shock as Japanese CDs often clock in at ¥3000+; imports are usually cheaper! In addition to the superstores below, also check out the miniature alternative ghetto (Jinnan 11 and nearby, just past Tokyu Hands), full of tiny specialist record shops.
- Disk Union. Antenna 21, Udagawa 30-7 (Center-gai), . Used and new record dealer with floors each specializing in punk, rock, jazz and dance music.
- HMV. Udagawa 24-1 (off Inogashira-dori), . Six floors of music from all around the world.
- RECOfan. BEAM 4F, Udagawa 31-2,  (and other outlets incl. one on Center-gai). Good shopping for second-hand music in this cavernous hall: all records are categorized and alphabetized for quick browsing, and prices start at ¥100.
- Tower Records. Jinnan 1-22-14 (Koen-dori), . For a while the largest record store in the world, now merely mind-bogglingly huge. Good selection of English books and magazines on the top floor, in addition to 6 other floors of J-pop, Western rock, jazz, classical and DVDs.
- For musical equipment, there's a good cluster of shops just southwest of the JR station. (Take the pedestrian overpass to cross the highway.)
- Harley Davidson Tokyo. Right up the hill from Tokyu Hands. They offer t-shirts for people who collect Harley Davidson shirts. Right up the hill from Tokyu Hands is a small street that branches off Center-gai. The Harley store is right there.
- Tokyu Hands. (end of Center-gai), . A department store specializing in all sorts of home decorations and D.I.Y. gear (with a heavy emphasis on the all sorts, this place is much more interesting than it sounds!).
You can't turn around without spotting a handful of restaurants here-- from ¥100 noodles to top notch gourmet food.
- Midori Sushi, 03-5459-0002, in the Shibuya Mark City building is a good balance between quality and price. You may have to wait in line unless you go just before meal times. The take-out is excellent if you are too hungry or impatient.
- Kujiraya , Dogenzaka 2-29-22 (Bunkamura-dori, just past 109), 03-3461-9145. The specialty here is whale meat dishes which are very rare elsewhere. Don't forget to pick up a pro-whaling propaganda pamphlet on your way out. Lunch sets from ¥1300, dinner ¥2000 up.
- Kyotako (right next to Tokyu Hands) is a famous store for takoyaki octopus balls.
- Murghi, Dogenzaka 2-19-2, 03-3461-8809, closed Fridays and Thurs. eve. Founded in 1951, when the owner decided to serve the kind of curry he had enjoyed in Burma before World War II.
- Tokyu Department Store (right on top of the train station) has a superb food section in the basement with enough free samples to make a full lunch, if you don't mind not having a place to sit.
- Gonpachi 3-6 Maruyama-cho Shibuya-ku 14th Floor(halfway between Shibuya station and Inokashira Line's Shinsen station), 03-5784-2011. Main restaurant 11:30 AM to 3:30 AM, sushi bar 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 2:00 AM. . Trendy eatery specializing in soba, with a separate sushi bar in the back.
- Kua'aina 1-10-4 Shibuya (off of Omotesando), 03-3409-3200, 10 AM-11PM. . Hawaiian hamburgers, order-at-the counter from a picture menu with English. Meal sets are available for ¥1030-920, higher after 5PM.
- Criston Cafe, Dogenzaka 2-10-7, New Mainstay Building 2 Bldg No. B1, 03-5728-2225. English name is "Christian Cafe", this gothic-themed bar/restaurant is filled with altars, shrines, candles and crosses.
- Tokyo Bellini Caffe, 20-15 Udagawa-cho(8F Humax pavilion Shibuya park-dori), ☎ 03-5489-1371, . Lunch 11AM-4PM,Tea 4PM-5PM,Dinner 5PM-11PM. This is Casual Italian restaurant. There are many kind of delicious Pastas and lunch which is change weekly.
Shibuya is a major center for nightclubs, music, and dancing.
- M/13 Cafe, 1-16-14 Metoro Plaza, 2F(east side of JR station, north along tracks), ☎ +81-3-5766-9111. Well-lit cafe with large second-floor windows, serving light meals, coffee and drinks.
- The Pink Cow, 1-3-18 Shibuya(midway between Shibuya and Omote-Sando, across from Aoyama Park Tower), ☎ +81-3-3406-5597, . Artsy cafe-bar-restaurant catering to the young foreigner crowd, with regular English-language events such as improv comedy.
- The Aldgate Shiniwasaki Bldg 3F, Udagawacho 30-4, 03-3462-2983,  British-style pub, with a large number of beers on tap and a large collection of British Rock music on vinyl. 6 PM to 2 AM.
- The Dubliners, 2F, 2-29-8 Dogenzaka, 03-5459-1736, An Irish pub popular among foreigners.
- Hobgoblin Shibuya, Ichiban Bldg. 3F, 1-3-11, Dogenzaka, 03-6415-4244. 4 PM to late (weekdays), noon to late (weekends and holidays), food last order 2245. Japanese outlet of the famous British micro-brewer Wychwood Brewery.
There are plenty of cheap and cheerful chain izakayas (Japanese pubs) scattered about Shibuya. Look for for the Watami and Uotami chains.
- Magically shielded from decades of commercial development, Nonbei-yokochō (のんべい横丁) is a narrow alley running alongside the east side of the Yamanote tracks just north of the station. It's packed with traditional yakitori taverns as well as some modern, extremely tiny bars. The district was formed in 1955, and a few of the shops have been operating since then.
- Tengu 25-3 Udagawa-cho (B1; in an alley between Center-gai and Inokashira-dori) Open 5:00 PM to midnight. Tengu is a part of a popular izakaya chain, which stands out from the rest mainly because they have an English menu.
- Kaji Maru 28-1 Udagawa-cho (on a cross street between Bunkamura-dori and Center-gai, 2F), 03-3463-1717. Open M-Th 6PM-3AM, F-Sa 6PM-5AM, Su 6PM-12AM. Kaji Maru is an atmospheric and smallish Asian-fusion izakaya one floor above the hubbub of Shibuya. An English menu is available. Individual plates run ¥580 to 700. Draft beer ¥500, table charge ¥300.
- The Lock Up 33-1 Udagawa-cho (just off Center-gai, Shibuya Grand Tokyo Bldg. B2F), 03-5728-7731. Open M-Th 5PM-1AM, F-Sa 5PM-5AM, Su 5AM-12AM. Even if you have no plans to eat, check out the approach to this theme izakaya, a long hallway more like a haunted house than the entrance to a restaurant. Inside you'll find a dungeon theme eatery featuring test tube cocktails, food with brutal names, uniformed mini-skirt-staff, handcuffs and prison breaks. Plates range ¥400-¥820, draft beer ¥500.
- Hatago 2-28-5 Dogenzaka (B1; along Dogenzaka street, about 200m beyond the 109 Building). This is a stylish and somewhat upscale izakaya that accommodates foreign customers with a handwritten English menu. Try the baked miso eggplant, ¥650. Draft beer ¥630, table charge ¥250; expect to pay around ¥3000 per person for a reasonable meal including drinks.
- Happy Dining Ghetto Center Building 3F, 25-5 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - Serves izakaya-style fare: lots of fried food, including chiizuage (fried cheese), spicy French fries, edamame, pizza, and lots of foods with mayo! Asian fusion dinners served, but a bit on the pricy side (3000 yen). Bar with extensive drink selection. American hip-hop plays overhead while the music videos play on monitors scattered about. Lots of fun, but know that it caters to the young, club-hopping Shibuya crowd.
If Shibuya's clubs aren't enough, hop on a free shuttle bus (first come, first served) to Ageha, Tokyo's largest nightclub. Buses depart from the crossing of Roppongi-dori and Meiji-dori, opposite Shibuya police station, on the east ("wrong") side of Shibuya station.
- Club Air . B2 Hikawa Bldg, 2-11 Sarugaku Tel. 03-6145-6231 Made a brief appearance in the movie Lost in Translation.
- Club Atom. Tel. 03-5428-5195 Owned by Vanilla, this club houses three dance floors with music ranging from psychedelic trance to hip-hop. Entrance fee is only ¥1000 before 12 o'clock.
- Club Asia , Dogenzaka. Popular for trance music all night long.
- Harlem .2-4 Tuburayama-cho Tel. 03-3461-8806 Large two-floor all hip-hop club. Foreigners may not be admitted unless they bring along a Japanese friend.
- Shibuya Nuts. Considerably smaller than the above mentioned nightclubs, has a good reputation among the hip-hop crowd in Tokyo and features occasional live performances.
- Vuenos, across the street from Club Asia also sharing the same owner. Dedicated rap and r&b club with ocassional live dance and rap performances.
- Womb, Dogenzaka. One of Tokyo's largest clubs, designed by the people behind New York's Twilo and the setting of a scene in Babel. Entrance is fairly steep at ¥3500, usually without any drinks included.
- Rock West A smaller, friendly club that specialised in underground techno, fairly well hidden on the 7th floor of an office building. It`s certainly one of the cheaper spots in the area with a cover charge of ¥1000 and most drinks around ¥500.
- Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu is a popular high-end hotel in the Mark City building.
- Tokyu Stay Shibuya 8-14 Shinsen-cho. 03-3477-1091, fax 03-3477-1092.  Singles start at ¥9450, doubles at ¥17,850 per night. Slight discounts are offered for extended stays. Part of the Tokyu Stay chain, this hotel is popular with business travelers. Small kitchenettes, washer/dryers, and free LAN access in all rooms makes these a good value.
- Tokyu Stay Shibuya Shin-Minamiguchi 3-26-21 Shibuya. 03-5466-0109, fax 03-5466-1091.  This is another outlet of the same chain.
- The hillside to the left of Dogenzaka is also known as Love Hotel Hill and indeed contains dozens of love hotels.
- Japan Youth Hostels has a branch in Yoyogi .
- Ebisu, the next stop south on the JR Yamanote Line, is a quieter and more sophisticated version of the Shibuya scene.
- Shimokitazawa, just two stops down the Keio Inokashira line, offers trendy shops, restaurants and watering holes in a slightly less frenetic atmosphere.
- Kichijoji, at the other end of the Inokashira Line, has more of the same plus a park famed for its cherry blossoms.
This page was last edited at 02:59, on 22 December 2008 by D. Guillaime. Based on work by Bryan Lufkin, Jose Ramos, Jani Patokallio and Paul N. Richter, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.