Famous in its own right for decades, Shibuya achieved iconic fame with its appearance in Bill Murray’s movie, Lost in Translation, with Scarlett Johansson crossing Shibuya Crossing, amongst other scenes based in and around this vibrant area.
Since then it has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of tourists who were intrigued by this movie, and by Japanese culture. Just like the movie, you can experience so many different things in this one part of Tokyo, and over a decade and a half since the film was released it is still just as exciting, bright, and busy.
In this city within a city you can easily spend a few days exploring everything that is has to offer, and boy does it have a lot to offer! There are many spots which offer the perfect selfie, or Instagram moment, or for hard-core shoppers you can literally shop until you drop. There are culinary experiences everywhere you look, and of course there are places to just sit and take in the hustle-bustle of daily life. Join as we share 30 fun and interesting things you can do in this iconic area!
Eat your way through Shibuya! Recommendations for foodaholics
1. Eating wagyu is a must when in Japan!
Japanese wagyu beef is a meat whose reputation just keeps growing and growing, and normally served at very high prices abroad!
However, in Japan the prices are a bit more reasonable and at restaurants like Ushigoro Bambina, Motsukichi and Henry’s Burger you can truly have a taste bud-exploding meal.
Wagyu beef is really like no other beef, and once you try it you will understand why, and with the above restaurant recommendations you don’t need to break the bank to get a bite!
2. Feed your belly – and your eyes, with stunning night views
One stop away from Shibuya brings you to Omotesando, a luxury shopping district which is also famous for its modern architecture, and with that architecture you can find amazing restaurants which offer the perfect view of the city.
Of course the food is delicious too, but you might find your eyes wandering to the windows again and again, enthralled by the tantalizing view. Some restaurants, like Vino Buono, only have limited window-side tables, so a reservation is an absolute must, but others like Franzuya, Two Rooms Grill and Mercer Café Terrace House have terrace seating.
You will have to keep reminding yourself to take your eyes off the view and eat!
3. Walk up a hunger - then chow down at one of Shibuya's buffet restaurants!
One of the best aspects about Shibuya is its sheer variety and volume of restaurants and after a big day of sightseeing you got to have a big meal! Being a tourist in Tokyo will certainly clock up your calorie counter, so leave Shibuya to the end of the day and check out an all-you-can-eat restaurant!
One thing to remember about Japan is that regardless of the price people want tasty food, so whereas all-you-can-eat in a different country can be a bit disappointing in the taste bud department, in Japan your taste buds will be ignited! Check out some of our recommendations in the link below.
4. Traveling Japan on a budget? Grab dinner at one of Shibuya’s incredible cheap restaurants!
Eating and drinking around Shibuya can be expensive; however a visit to here doesn’t mean you have to eat at a convenience store to save money. There are restaurants which cater to all budgets, including ones which cost less than $10!
Meshiya Tajibei has a variety of low fat meals, which are both filling and cheap, while Yanbaru Shibuya brings Okinawan food straight to your belly; all for under 1,000 yen (including tax).
Head over to Torikatsu Chicken for a more indulgent dinner where the teishoku (set meal) comes with rice, miso soup and you can choose 2 fried items for 650 yen, 3 items for 800 yen and 4 items for 1,000 yen (including tax).
5. Savor some of Shibuya's Tonkatsu – magical fried meat which you can never get enough of
This fried pork cutlet is a common staple for eating at home and out at restaurants, and in combination with rice, cabbage and a dark sauce similar to Worcester sauce, yet distinctively not, it is very delicious!
The best thing about this dish is that you don’t need to break the bank to get a bite, and in Shibuya there are restaurants which serve up tonkatsu for less than 1,500 yen, so you can combine a visit to this area with some great food.
6. Sample perfectly balanced bubble tea in Shibuya!
Although bubble tea originated in Taiwan, it has really taken off around the world, and it will come as no surprise that you can find some of the best bubble tea around in Tokyo. In Shibuya, you will find the relatively new store of the Alley Lujiaoxiang.
This store is oozing in modern design, while serving up delicious bubble tea with ingredients imported straight from Taiwan.
7. Order up some 'high-speed' food at Japan's new-style conveyor sushi!
At Uobei Sushi you can try the truly Japanese phenomenon of conveyer sushi, but with a difference! Here you order what you want to eat on a tablet and then you wait for your train or car to arrive – literally.
The food arrives on a conveyer belt on a stylized tray which looks like trains from around Japan and race cars. Rather than having the food endlessly go round on a conveyer belt you can feel that your food is fresh, and enjoy the unique novelty of having it delivered by train!
8. Grab a bowl of Japan’s world famous ramen – A taste explosion for your mouth
Ramen has seen an explosion in popularity around the world in recent years, but you really need to try it in Japan to get a real authentic taste. Japan is after all the home of ramen, and in Shibuya you can come face to face with ramen made by true masters.
Seitokudo has a great variety of ramen, plus some delicious desserts, while Tonari is famous for its oyster ramen, and the ramen of Kichitora is so popular that they have opened stores overseas. There are of course many ramen restaurants in Japan, but Shibuya, with these three restaurants and many more, is a good place to start.
Amazing sights and sounds you will never forget – A Japanese world which is unforgettable
As with any mega-city, from its bustling neon streets to scenic outlying areas, Shibuya's a town filled with ‘people moments’.
9. Discover the true story of Hachiko, the statue outside Shibuya Station
Thanks to this famous statue outside Shibuya Station, and also to movies like Richard Gere’s movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, which was adapted from the true story of Hachiko, this loyal pooch has become one of the most famous in the world.
In 1924 Professor Hidesaburo Ueno took in an Akita dog which he named Hachiko, and they got into a routine of the dog waiting for the professor every day at Shibuya Station. However, one day the professor died while at work, but Hachiko continued to wait. Heartbreakingly, he waited every day for over nine years.
Today his statue stands by the station in tribute to Hachiko, waiting still for Hidesaburo.
10. Walk in a bamboo forest
Admittedly not in Shibuya central, but only a 20 minute train and bus journey from Shibuya Station, the Suzume-no Oyado Ryokuchi Park has a gorgeous bamboo forest which was planted over 200 years ago.
There is something quite special about bamboo forests, and here you can wander around to your heart’s content and enjoy the special sight that only bamboo can offer. In one corner of the park there is also a restored traditional Japanese house.
11. ‘Swim’ in the Shibuya Scramble Crossing and watch the hypnotic movement of people
At Shibuya Crossing you can see for yourself the famous sight of hundreds of people converging and dispersing over this crossing over and over again, it has become so infused with images of Tokyo that it’s rare for a movie set in Tokyo to not show this crossing.
You can also watch it from cafes and shops nearby, from whichever angle to try you will get a great photo – just try not to get in the way of the busy commuters and shoppers!
12. Enjoy a stroll around Yoyogi Park - a natural park near the surroundings of electric Shibuya
Yoyogi Park is three minutes away from Harajuku Station, which amidst the very urban setting of the Shibuya area offers up the third largest park in Tokyo. It is quite the contrast, and to a certain extent bit of a relief, compared to the hustle-bustle of Shibuya.
At this large park you can get away from it all and enjoy nature at its best, especially during cherry blossom season when its 730 cherry trees start blooming.
I have never tried that before! World-leading experiences
13. Go and see a real baseball game! A treat for fans and non-fans alike
Jingu Stadium is just a couple of stops away from Shibuya, and here, in this massive 30,000 seater venue, you can see a real baseball game. Baseball is a big sport in Japan, and is really fun to watch regardless of whether you are familiar with this sport or not.
On top of the sport itself, at this stadium you can enjoy great food and drinks, and during the summer months there are firework displays. Tickets can be bought online via an English language website.
14. Do an all-nighter - Shibuya is the best place to spend the night!
As the evening draws in and Tokyo’s subway comes to a finish people who are out on the town have to make a difficult decision: go home or spend the night out! For many people the decision is made for them when they realize they missed their last train, but never fear for Shibuya never sleeps.
It is brimming with late night izakayas, karaoke parlors, internet cafes and more. If you have to, or want to, spend the whole night out, then Shibuya is the place for you.
15. Enjoy a whirlwind 48 hour tour which includes Shibuya
Even if you are only in Tokyo for a short time you can go on an amazing whirlwind tour of Tokyo which includes Shibuya as its last stop. You can take in the best spots around this electric city, while saving the best for last.
You will certainly be tired by the end, but you will have memories to cherish forever. This tour gives you a fair bit of free time in Shibuya, and it is also one of the best places to have that last drink or meal.
16. See in the New Year in one of the most iconic locations in the world
Most Japanese people return to their hometowns for New Year’s Eve and get ready for a long evening of food, drink and TV, but increasing numbers of young people have been coming to Shibuya to celebrate the end of the year.
They are attracted to all the restaurants and bars in this area, but most of all there is nothing more iconic than bringing in the New Year at Shibuya Crossing! The road is closed from 10.30pm and a stage is erected, and soon enough the streets are filled with the pounding of thousands of streets. It will certainly be a night to never forget!
17. Join an authentic Japanese tea ceremony – tradition against the backdrop of Tokyo’s bright lights
There are places in Shibuya which, amidst all the excitement and electric atmosphere of this bustling area, also point back to Japan’s roots. And, there are perhaps few things which are as traditional as a real Japanese tea ceremony.
At Komaba Waraku-An you can experience this ceremony and be transported back in time, it serves as real reminder of how deep Japanese culture is. Experience the rules, customs, and of course the tea, from a true tea master at this wonderful tea house.
18. Get pushed! You can’t visit Japan without enjoying the challenge of riding a crowded train!
If there is one thing that Japan’s subway is famous for then it has to be how crowded they can be, whereas in other countries if a train is crowded, while still giving people a sense of some personal space, no one else will get on, in Tokyo things are slightly different. If there is room to breathe then there is space for more bodies!
By now YouTube videos of people being packed into trains are well-viewed, and it is certainly an experience to try – though in general it is best to avoid. The truth is that you don’t need to particularly try to experience this, at one point or another it will just happen to you. If you happen to want to ride the Denentoshi Line early in the morning towards Shibuya, then you had better be prepared!
19. Get a Japanese "Gyaru" Makeover at Shibuya's Ganguro Café
The 90s subculture of ganguro girls is still alive and well in Shibuya, and even more so at the Ganguro Café. This café serves up delicious food treats and drinks, all served by ganguro girls.
This subculture took off before the turn of the millennium and features tanned skin and colorful makeup, which seems to take a long time to prepare. However, this isn’t just a café to get up close with ganguro girls, who can also get a full makeover for 6,500 yen to look like a ganguro girl.
20. Have a cup of coffee with a gorgeous little animal at one of Tokyo’s famous animal cafes
Animal cafes have really taken off in Japan, and that really comes as no surprise as what could possibly be better than a cup of coffee with a cute little animal.
There are a variety of cafes around Tokyo, including owl and rabbit cafes, and in Shibuya you can try perhaps one of the most elegant cat cafes around - Cat Cafe MoCHA. Just remember you can’t take the cats home!
21. Take a lesson and become a true taiko drummer
Taiko drumming literally looks as fun as it appears! It is also quite the workout. Today taiko drum performers travel the world showing off their skills, and in Shibuya you can try it out for yourself and see for yourself what it takes to become a performer.
At TAIKO-LAB there are different kinds of classes just waiting for their future taiko drummer stars.
22. Discover a different (virtual) reality in Shibuya!
While walking Shibuya’s streets can feel like a different reality in itself, you can literally enter another reality at Tyffonium Shibuya! At this ground-breaking venue you can experience two kinds of virtual reality, the ‘corridor’ which is a 30 minute horror attraction that costs 2,400 yen (tax included) and ‘fluctus’, a 20 minute fantasy world where you travel by ship (2,000 yen).
There aren’t many people who can say that they have experience a different reality while enjoying the special reality of Shibuya!
Night-time Shibuya – one of the best areas for night larks!
23. Get your pre-game on at the Shibuya Oiran Warm Up Bar
Shibuya is a hot spot for clubbing, and there is nowhere better to start your night then at the Shibuya Oiran.
It opened in 2010 and has quickly become the venue of choice for DJs and clubbers in the know, the first floor offers a quite unusual stand-up bar – which is in contrast to most Japanese bars and izakayas which are usually sit down only, or have very limited space for standing customers.
While on the second floor you can sit down and have something to eat.
24. Drink and eat with the surroundings of traditional Tokyo in a unique izakaya
Iwao is an izakaya that imparts the feeling of an old onsen, and indeed it is actually located in a building which is over 70 years old.
The exterior has a modest appearance, as if it is hiding nothing, but step inside and you will find a treasure house of old wooden beams amidst the bustle of a popular restaurant.
There is a cover charge of 432 yen, but you can eat and drink until 1am at the weekend, and the food is so delicious that you probably will be here until 1am!
25. Try a taste of old Tokyo at Shibuya Dagashi Bar!
Shibuya Dagashi Bar is quite original, and perfect for anyone who likes a drink and has a sweet tooth. Here you can enjoy over a hundred types of candy alongside a drink, and the table charge, for two hours.
They have reproduced the atmosphere of an old style sweets shop, and the food menu as well includes dishes which are favorites with children. It is a really instagramable bar, and quite unique!
26. Relax over some great drinks in some of the most happening places in Tokyo
Shibuya has a number of great places for relaxed eating and drinking, and at locations like Ningen Kankei and Café Bohemia you will feel all of your stress melt away.
Ningen Kankei is brilliant for snacks with a slow drink; you can sit back and take it easy. Meanwhile Café Bohemia has Shibuya’s largest open terrace and is perfect for a meal, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays a belly dance show!
27. Go clubbing like you have never gone clubbing before
If you want to go clubbing in Japan then you need to go clubbing in Shibuya, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, or what time of year it is, there will be something going on somewhere.
It also doesn’t matter what kind of music you are into, you will find a club that suits your tastes. Shibuya’s Womb offers some of the best EDM, Drum n Bass, and Techno crowds, while Club Asia has a mix of techno and house music.
There is a lot of scope for exploration in Shibuya, and it will definitely be a night you will never forget.
Gifts for mom, dad, brothers, sisters, children, relatives, friends, me, my pet, and more!
28. Get food souvenirs for friends back home!
Tokyo has a lot of department stores, and each one is full of food gifts, but how many can say that they have a hundred sweets and food sets from across the country?
Shinjuku Takashimaya can lay claim to this boast, and here you can feast your eyes upon amazing treats in all shapes and forms.
This place is especially perfect if you have visited other places in Japan and forgot to buy souvenirs as you will probably find something here, and we won’t tell anyone if you don’t!
29. Discover the latest best Japanese cosmetics at Loft
Loft is a chain of stores which sell a wide range of items, including some quite random things, but also they have a great selection of cosmetics, with many at a great low price.
Shibuya Loft is just a couple of minutes from Shibuya Station and is massive. It has seven floors which are full of things-which-I-want-to-buy, and of course on the second floor, if you can make it that far, you will find their brilliant cosmetics range.
30. Explore Tokyo’s amazing fashion scene – add a few Shibuya outfits to your wardrobe!
Trendsetters are probably already aware of where they need to go in Japan to see the latest fashion, and it all starts with SHIBUYA109.
This department store opened in 1979 and has over 120 shops that cover every aspect of fashion, and every trend.
Even if you don’t want to buy anything it is still a treat to explore these shops, and without doubt you will end up buying something anyway!
Written by: Mike Sullivan
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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