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30 Cool & Quirky Things to Do in Shibuya, Tokyo’s Iconic Area!

30 Cool & Quirky Things to Do in Shibuya, Tokyo’s Iconic Area!

Date published: 8 April 2020
Last updated: 7 August 2020

Shibuya achieved iconic fame with its appearance in Lost in Translation, with Scarlett Johansson crossing Shibuya Crossing, amongst other scenes based in and around this vibrant area. Since then, everyone has been angling for the lists of the best things to do in Shibuya.

Shibuya has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of tourists who were intrigued by this movie, and by Japanese culture. Many spots in Shibuya offer the perfect selfie or Instagram moment, or for hard-core shoppers, you can shop until you drop. There are culinary experiences everywhere you look. And of course, there are places just to sit and take in the hustle-bustle of daily life.

Join us as we share 30 fun and exciting things to do in Shibuya, Tokyo's iconic area!

In this article:
1. Eat your way through Tokyo! Shibuya Dining recommendations for foodaholics
2. Amazing sights and sounds you will never forget – A Japanese world which is unforgettable
3. I have never tried that before! World-leading experiences
4. Night-time Shibuya – one of the best areas for night larks!
5. Get gifts for mom, dad, brothers, sisters, children, relatives, friends, me, my pet, and more!

Eat your way through Tokyo! Shibuya Dining recommendations for foodaholics

1. Eating wagyu is a must when in Japan!

1. Eating wagyu is a must when in Japan!

Japanese wagyu beef is meat whose reputation just keeps growing and growing, and generally 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 indeed 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 Shibuya night views

2. Feed your belly – and your eyes, with stunning Shibuya night views

One stop away from Shibuya brings you to Omotesando. This luxury shopping district is also famous for its modern architecture, and with that architecture, you can find amazing restaurants that 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!

3. Walk up a hunger - then chow down at one of Shibuya's buffet restaurants!

One of the best aspects of 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, but one of the things to do in Shibuya is checking out an all-you-can-eat restaurant!

One thing to remember about Japan is that regardless of the price, people want tasty food, so while 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!

4. Traveling Japan on a budget? Grab dinner at one of Shibuya’s incredible cheap restaurants!

Drinking and dining in Shibuya can be a little pricey; however, a visit to here doesn’t mean you have to eat at a convenience store to save money. Some restaurants cater to all budgets, including ones that 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 two fried items for 650 yen, three items for 800 yen and four items for 1,000 yen (including tax).

5. Savor some of Shibuya's Tonkatsu – magical fried meat which you can never get enough of

5. Savor some of Shibuya's Tonkatsu – magical fried meat which you can never get enough of

This fried pork cutlet is an everyday 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, some restaurants serve up tonkatsu for less than 1,500 yen so that you can combine a visit to this area with some great food.

6. Sample perfectly balanced bubble tea in Shibuya!

6. Sample perfectly balanced bubble tea in Shibuya!

Although the popular style of 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 - Exciting thing to do in Shibuya!

7. Order up some 'high-speed' food at Japan's new-style conveyor sushi - Exciting thing to do in Shibuya!

Dining in Shibuya - but with a twist! At Uobei Sushi, you can try the truly Japanese phenomenon of conveyor sushi, 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

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 this is one big thing to do in Shibuya, as you can come face to face with ramen made by true masters.

Seitokudo has a great variety of ramen, plus some delicious desserts. At the same time, Tonari is famous for its oyster ramen, and the ramen of Kichitora is so renowned that it has opened stores overseas. There are, of course, many ramen restaurants in Japan, but Shibuya, with these three restaurants and many more, is an excellent 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.' People watching just might top your list of things to do in Shibuya!

9. Discover the true story of Hachiko, the statue outside Shibuya Station

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 Inu 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

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 extraordinary 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

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 not to 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

12. Enjoy a stroll around Yoyogi Park - a natural park near the surroundings of electric Shibuya

When people think of what to do in Tokyo, taking in a quiet park visit might not come to mind.

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. It's a definite must on things to do in 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

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 it is enjoyable 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!

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 choice 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

15. Enjoy a whirlwind 48 hour tour which includes Shibuya

Thinking of what to do in Tokyo? Even if you are only in town 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 amazing city while saving the best for last.

You will indeed 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

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 10:30 pm, and a stage is erected, and soon enough, the streets are filled with the pounding of thousands of streets. It will undoubtedly be a night never to forget!

17. Join an authentic Japanese tea ceremony – tradition against the backdrop of Tokyo’s bright lights

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 a 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 a real reminder of how deep Japanese culture is. Experience the rules, customs, and of course, the tea from a true tea master at this beautiful tea house.

18. Get pushed! You can’t visit Japan without enjoying the challenge of riding a crowded train!

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, 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 undoubtedly an experience to try – though in general, it is best to avoid. The truth is that you don’t need to try and set out 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

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 featured 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

20. Have a cup of coffee with a gorgeous little animal at one of Tokyo’s famous animal cafes

Animal cafes have taken off in Japan, and that comes as no surprise as what could 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

21. Take a lesson and become a true taiko drummer

Taiko drumming 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!

22. Discover a different (virtual) reality in Shibuya!

While walking Shibuya’s streets can feel like a different reality in itself, you can 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 experienced a different reality while enjoying the extraordinary 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

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 minimal 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

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 located in a building that 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 1 am at the weekend, and the food is so delicious that you probably will be here until 1 am!

25. Try a taste of old Tokyo at Shibuya Dagashi Bar!

25. Try a taste of old Tokyo at Shibuya Dagashi Bar!

Shibuya Dagashi Bar is wholly 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 an Instagramable bar and quite unique!

26. Relax over some great drinks in some of the most happening places in Tokyo

26. Relax over some great drinks in some of the most happening places in Tokyo

Shibuya has several 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

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 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!

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

29. Discover the latest best Japanese cosmetics at Loft

Loft is a chain of stores that 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!

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

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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