Chaotic But Wonderful Shibuya By Night…


If you’re not a frequent traveler or haven’t been to Tokyo before, you very well may heard of Shibuya (渋谷; or the Shibuya crossing, which Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation movie made famous. I’ve been dying to get lost in the chaos ever since I saw the movie and sure enough, as I discovered on a recent trip to Tokyo, the experience is as chaotic and puzzling as the movie depicts.

The intersection is famous because of its bustling traffic and the sheer volume of walkers who buzz past you on countless sides. Just outside the Shibuya subway station, you’ll exit and instantly be met with thousands of business commuters in white shirts, students, artists, shoppers and lovers. When the cars are in motion, your head is buzzing but even when they stop from the myriad of intersection’s red lights, people are flocking into this massive sprawling intersection from all sides, like bees going after the last honey.

It skews young although that doesn’t mean that the area doesn’t oodle with commuters of all ages given its strategic location. I was told to come here to shop…and to eat. Frankly, I found countless other restaurants that better served my palette in other districts of Tokyo, but for shopping and people watching, Shibuya is the place to be.

Conveniently located and central to other great shopping districts as well, Shibuya Square is in easy walking distance to both Omotesando and Harajuku which has far more stores than your wallet can handle. The billboards are as dizzying as the flocks of people and they have more two-story TVs than ten Best Buy’s combined.

Most of the action in Shibuya is in the hectic blocks to the northwest of the JR station however the best place to get oriented is the Hachikō (ハチ公) exit, which opens onto the five-way “scramble crossing” under that massive giant video screen you see in the photos of Shibuya everywhere.  There’s also the Tokyu Plaza department store in the south and two major roads heading east from the station which continue on to Aoyama and Roppongi, which btw, has its own massive shopping mall, which I learned later in my trip, attracts the millenials.

This is a must do on your next trip to Tokyo if you haven’t done it already or if you have, I challenge you to discover something new in its overly colorful and overly cluttered maze.

Below is a video I shot of a local jazz performer playing in the street one night.

Take the JR Yamanote line to Shibuya station and get off at the Hachiko exit.

For more posts on Japan, see our Japan section and on Tokyo, visit our Tokyo Japan / top things to do in Tokyo section.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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