Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo
Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s hottest sightseeing spots. It is an area which is the source of various modern culture such as fashion, movies, and music. The Shibuya Crossing located near Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit is a spot garnering attention from tourists from around the world. Let us show you why this place is receiving so much attention, and what to look for.
What is Shibuya Crossing?
Pedestrian Crossing is an intersection created to allow only pedestrians to cross streets while all vehicles are completely blocked from entering the intersection. All lights turn green for the pedestrians, so they can cross streets diagonally.
One of the most famous pedestrian crossings is the “Shibuya Crossing,” located near Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit. (official name: Shibuya Eki-mae Kosaten).
JR Yamanote Line, JR Saikyo Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Tokyo Metro (subway) Ginza Line, Hanzomon Line, Fukutoshin Line, and Tokyu Toyoko Line, Tokyu Denentoshi Line, Keio Inokashira Line all connect to the Shibuya Station. JR lines alone have an average boarding/unboarding passengers of 371,336 people per day at the station.
Shibuya Crossing near the Shibuya Station is crossed by as many as 500,000 people per day, and at a peak time, as many as 3,000 people cross at one green light! For Japanese who are used to seeing this view is nothing to be surprised about, but foreign tourists seem to be marveled that everyone manages to cross without bumping into each other. There are always people going to the spot just to see this crossing. Along with New York’s Times Square, Shibuya Crossing is one of the “most famous crossings in the world.”
The Shibuya Crossing is seen in movies
The Shibuya Crossing has been the setting in many movies. They are seen in foreign movies as well as in domestic ones. It is said that many foreign tourists go just to see the crossing that they had seen in a movie. Here are some representative movies.
“Resident Evil: Afterlife”
It is a very successful 2010 action horror film, the fourth installment in the series. It is directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, who had also directed the first film in the series.
The T-Virus that transforms humans into zombies had spread widely. The main character, Alice (Milla Jovovich) tours the world looking for surviving humans. She goes to Los Angeles to battle enemies and rescue the survivors.
The movie starts with a shocking incident that occurs at the Shibuya Crossing in the rain.
“Resident Evil: Afterlife”
Now on sale
Blu-ray: 2,381 yen plus tax
Sold and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment
*Above information last updated July 2018
“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”
It is a highly successful 2006 car action film, the third installment in the series. Many Japanese cars are seen in the series, and it is famous for its showy drifting scenes. Because of this movie, Japanese cars became very popular abroad, and the movie is well-known among car enthusiasts.
The film is set in Japan. American high school student Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) causes a big accident while street racing, and is sent to Japan to live with his father who works at a U.S. military base. He races against Takashi (Brian Tee), the Drift King, but is completely defeated. However, Takashi’s colleague Han (Sung Kang) teaches Sean how to drift. Sean drastically improves his drifting techniques.
In the middle of the movie they have fierce car chasing scenes in the crowded streets of Shinjuku’s Dai-guard and the Shibuya area, and the cars plow into the Shibuya Crossing where many pedestrians are walking. Very unreal, but the scenes keep the viewer in breathless suspense, and the climax leaves one at a loss for words.
“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”
Now on sale
Blu-ray：1,886 yen plus tax / DVD: 1,429 yen plus tax
Sold by：NBC Universal Entertainment
*Above information was last updated July 2018
Another famous one would be the 2003 film, “Lost in Translation.”
The movie is a love story that takes place in Japan, between veteran Hollywood actor Bob Harris who is in Japan to shoot a commercial, and Charlotte whose husband is a photographer. There are many scenes of the Shibuya area in the movie, such as Charlotte crossing a gloomy Shibuya Crossing in the rain, holding a plastic umbrella.
Great places to rendezvous near the Shibuya Crossing
Here are some great meeting spots near the crowded Shibuya Crossing without getting lost
●Near the Hachiko statue
“Hachiko, the faithful dog,” is a bronze statue of a dog in the plaza in front of the Shibuya Crossing, and the spot surrounding the statue is a standard meeting spot. There are always many people there, but it is spacious, and is a good place to meet up with someone. The plaza is called “Hachiko Square.”
Hachiko was a real dog, and is known to have waited for his deceased owner to arrive at Shibuya Station every day. He was an Akita dog, a type of dog that is currently very popular all over the world. In 2009, a movie was made based on the story of Hachiko.
●Near the green train
There is a green train wagon, set up as a monument in front of the Hachiko statue. The official name is “Aogaeru Kanko Annaijo (green frog sightseeing information center).” It was a Tokyu Toyoko Line rail car which was in operation from 1954 to 1970. You can go inside from 10 am to 6 pm, and there is always an English-speaking staff inside.
●Behind the staircase of the subway station
There is a large staircase which is the entrance to “Shibuchika Shopping Road,” a shopping mall below the Hachiko Square, and when changing the JR and subway trains. Behind the staircase is a large space which is a good meeting spot even if there are many people there. You can watch the people crossing the Shibuya Crossing while waiting for a friend.
There is a small Koban (police box) next to the Hachiko Exit ticket gate, along the JR Yamanote Line railroad. The place in front of the Koban is also a standard meeting spot. However, depending on the time you go there, it may be jammed with people trying to get on/off the JR Line trains. Evenings and at nighttime may not be a good time to meet up with friends there.
When you finish crossing the Shibuya Crossing, you will see “QFRONT,” a commercial building that TSUTAYA, which is famous as a rental shop of DVDs and CDs is located. You may want to wait for your friend, inside TSUTAYA, while relaxing and reading their books or looking at their CDs if you have time.
This is how to enjoy the Shibuya Crossing!
If you go just to see the Shibuya Crossing, you may as well fully enjoy the highest number of people in Japan, or better yet, in the world, cross the streets.
●Can you finish crossing without bumping into anyone?
First, check out the people before they cross, and those who are crossing the roads. You can see that most of them can finish crossing without bumping into each other. The people coming towards you, from left and right, and from behind are walking fast.
After checking the people cross during several green lights, try it out yourself, first going slowly. When you get the hang of it, make your start as soon as the light turns green!
Be even more careful than usual if you want to take videos or pictures while crossing the Shibuya Crossing. If you happen to bump into someone, please say “excuse me.”
●Enjoy the five gigantic screens
There are five jumbo screens on buildings that surround the Shibuya Crossing, and various commercials are played on the screens. Sometimes, they play special promotion videos of movies and artists. One time in the past, not only did they play a promotional video of a movie, but they also had many “zombies” make an appearance in the Hachiko Square.
These special videos and events are carried out without notice, so if you happen to see them, you are very lucky.
●You may be interviewed!
In the crowded Hachiko Square, it is common for TV stations and magazines to interview passers-by. Some crews interview foreign tourists, so you may get the chance to be on TV! Many curbside interviews are done in the aforementioned meeting place, “behind the staircase of the subway station” area.
●The Shibuya Crossing is even more amazing at night!
The shining neon lights and the illuminating jumbo screens… Unlike during the day, the Shibuya Crossing at nighttime becomes drastically colorful. Many people planning to have fun in Shibuya crowd the Hachiko Square, so there is a unique atmosphere of excitement.
You can’t feel this mood during the day! If you want to enjoy Shibuya nightlife, feel the ambience of Shibuya Crossing at night as well.
Photo-op spots of Shibuya Crossing!
There are some places you can see the people walking on the Shibuya Crossing from above. With a bird’s eye view, you can experience a different kind of feeling from when you were at ground level. You should be able to take some fun pictures.
● A photo spot where you can get a sweeping view of the Shibuya Crossing - “CROSSING VIEW”
“MAGNET by SHIBUYA109” is a building devoted to fashion-related shops, and is located at the corner of the Shibuya Crossing. On the rooftop is “MAG's PARK” made under the concept of “release the stimulation.”
In MAG's PARK, there is a photo-op spot “CROSSING VIEW” (fee is charged). If you use the smartphone application named “Crossing Photo” (fee is charged) at this CROSSING VIEW, you can take high-impact photos! If you really enjoy the Shibuya Crossing, this place is a must-go.
・MAGNET by SHIBUYA109, 1-23-10, Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
・Open：11:00-23:00 *last admission 22:30
・Open：11:00-23:00 *last admission 22:30
● Getting window seats is a competition - “Starbucks Coffee SHIBUYA TSUTAYA”
Shibuya QFRONT, which has TSUTAYA, also has Starbucks Coffee on the second floor. The window seats here is a great place facing the Shibuya Crossing! However, the seats are popular, almost a sightseeing hot spot, so if you want a seat at the window, you will have to stand in line for a long time.
“Starbucks Coffee SHIBUYA TSUTAYA”
・QFRONT, 21-6, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
●You can view the Shibuya Crossing for free – “Keio passageway”
This is a passageway between the Tamagawa Exit of JR Yamanote Line and the Inokashira Line. The walls of the passageway are glassed-in, and people who are headed towards Shibuya Mark City also walk through it. Here, you can get a bird's-eye view of the crossing. Plus, it’s free because it’s just a passageway! However, just like the crossing, it’s a place where many people come and go, so be careful not to be in the way of others when viewing or taking pictures of the Shibuya Crossing.
Are there more foreign tourists taking videos?
When you capture a touching or interesting scenery, you tend to share it on social media with many people. On YouTube, there are many videos of Shibuya Crossing taken from different viewpoints. if you plan to go visit the Shibuya Crossing, you should see the videos to prepare yourself. You’d probably be surprised at the number of people there!
To find videos on YouTube, search “scramble crossing” or “shibuya crossing.”
Different views of Shibuya Crossing depending on the season
Just like many people gather at New York’s Times Square for New Year’s countdown, numerous people go to Shibuya Crossing when there is an event of some kind.
At times, the crossing is so crowded, that it is not uncommon for the police or a riot squad to be sent out. There is a certain policeman who directs the traffic of people from a police vehicle talking in a humorous way, and has come to be known as “DJ Police.”
When there is an event, the Hachiko Square is flooded with people, making it difficult for one to even move. Meeting up with a friend at the square is probably impossible, so you’d better find somewhere else when there is an event.
●New Year’s countdown
From December 31st to New Year’s Day, the Shibuya Crossing and nearby Koen Dori Street become a pedestrian’s precinct. Various events are held on the street. During countdown, the Hachiko Square is flooded with people celebrating the New Year.
On the day of Halloween, October 31st, and the weekend before Halloween a tradition of young people going out disguised in their own ways has become the norm in Japan. Of course, many go to the Shibuya Crossing. There are many who go just to look at the people in disguise, too.
There are many eating places in Shibuya that show international sporting events on television, such as sports bars. Sports fans gather in Shibuya to watch a game, then after watching, they have come to gather at the Shibuya Crossing to celebrate.
When there is a major event, you may be prohibited from crossing the Shibuya Crossing diagonally due to safety reasons.
Summary of Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya that is a huge amusement center, is called “the city that does not sleep,” and many people are walking in the area from morning to dawn of the next day. Especially since the Shibuya Crossing is the closest pedestrian crossing from the station, the area has the most number of people coming and going.
There will be many drunk people at night. If you are too engrossed in taking pictures, you may bump into someone and get into trouble, so please be careful.
The Shibuya Crossing is famous for the heavy traffic. If the lights are about to turn red, don’t force yourself, and wait for the next timing to cross the street. Stay safe, and enjoy the wonderland unique to Japan!
*The above information was last updated July 3, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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