Shibuya Crossing may be a small area but it’s one of the most jampacked places in Japan every single day. As the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, it accommodates thousands of people every day crossing from five directions. Additionally, the traffic lights have a two-minute cycle and the crowds thin out only after midnight when the Shibuya stations finally close.
What To See
The presence of several landmarks make Shibuya Crossing a very popular tourist spot in Japan. One of them is Hachiko, the dog that came each day to meet his owner after work at Shibuya Station back in the 1920s. The dog’s owner eventually died but Hachiko continued to come to the station every evening to wait and this went on for some 10 more years.
As an entertainment district, Shibuya boasts of great restaurants, shops, night clubs, karaoke and izakaya. In fact, it is well known as one of the country’s fashion centers particularly for the youngsters.
Izakaya are Japanese pubs where coworkers and friends meet and lovers share a romantic moment. It is also a popular venue for birthdays, retirement parties and other celebrations. Common food served here are sushi, sashimi, yakitori, karaage, tofu dishes and Japanese fish dishes.
The neon lights in the area are another great attraction in the crossing. They keep the place vibrant at night until the early morning.
Coffee lovers can also enjoy not only their favorite drinks and the most superb view of the Shibuya crossing at Starbucks house in the QFront building. The place is said to be the best Starbucks in the world when it comes to view.
The area where the Shibuya community is situated used to be the site of a castle in which the Shibuya family resided. That was from the 11th century up to the Edo period. Around 1885, the place became a railway terminal for southwestern Tokyo. Later on, it was transformed into a major commercial and entertainment center.
By the early 1980s, Shibuya gained more popularity particularly among the youth. During the late 1990s, it became the center of Japan’s IT industry. It even earned the name Bit Valley, a pun on Bitter Valley referring to Shibuya and bit which is a computer term for binary digits.
Last year 2015, Shibuya became the first place in Japan and perhaps in East Asia to recognize same-sex partnerships. A local ordinance was passed giving same-sex couples the right to obtain partnership certificates.