Think of Tokyo, and for many, the first thing that comes to mind is Shibuya. Synonymous with youth fashion and boisterous nightlife, as well as the world-famous Shibuya Crossing, the area features some of Tokyo’s most well-known sights. The wider Shibuya area is practically a city within a city, jam-packed with vibrant streets, beautiful green spaces, and buzzing neighborhoods.
Situated right in the center of Tokyo, Shibuya is also the perfect base to explore the rest of the city and a great place to stay.
Main image: PIXTA
What kind of area is Shibuya?
Even though Shibuya is most commonly associated with the area immediately around Shibuya Station, the area covers a large and diverse chunk of central Tokyo.
In the heart of Shibuya is, of course, the Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest street crossing, and the statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog famed for his loyalty.
Close to Shibuya Station are popular areas that are forever teeming with activity, such as Shibuya Center Gai and Dogen-zaka. Packed with shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and much more, these areas are a mecca for Tokyo’s fashion-obsessed and party-loving youth and are especially busy on weekends.
Yet there’s a lot more to Shibuya besides Shibuya Station.
In the heart of Shibuya is Meiji Jingu Shrine, housed inside a huge forest in the center of Tokyo. In the north of Shibuya are two of Tokyo’s most fashionable districts, the boutique-lined streets of Omotesando and the capital of Japanese kawaii culture, Harajuku.
Just west of Meiji Jingu is Yoyogi, an area filled with charming residential neighborhoods that lead to Yoyogi Park. In the south of Shibuya is Ebisu, a relaxed and refined area known for its museums, galleries, and an excellent range of restaurants. Nearby is the upmarket and sophisticated neighborhood of Daikanyama, where high-end fashion stores and restaurants cater to Tokyo’s most stylish clientele.
How to decide on where to stay in Shibuya
There are some things to consider when trying to decide where to stay in Shibuya. Here’s what to keep in mind before booking your accommodation in Shibuya.
Proximity to the main sights and the type of experience
When looking for somewhere to stay in Shibuya it’s worth thinking about how close you really need to be to the area’s busiest and most vibrant areas. If the appeal of staying in Shibuya is to experience the frenetic buzz of one of the world’s most high-octane neighborhoods, keep in mind that hotels close to the action will likely suffer from the noise and other disturbances that come with it. This is not always ideal if you cherish a decent night’s sleep at the end of a good night out.
The wider Shibuya area is also extremely well connected by public transport, so you don’t necessarily need to stay right in the thick of things to be close to where the fun is happening. If instead you’d prefer to stay close to the center of the Shibuya but in an area with a more of a residential neighborhood vibe but still with plenty going on, then there are good alternatives elsewhere in Shibuya to pick from.
When thinking about the best place to stay in Shibuya, you’ll also need to take into account how easy it will be to get to and from the rest of Tokyo. Thankfully all of Shibuya has a fantastic public transport network, making it one of the easiest parts of Tokyo to travel to and from.
The circular Yamanote Line that stops at many of Tokyo’s most popular areas stops at Shibuya Station. Eight other rail and subway lines also pass through Shibuya Station, connecting the area with the rest of Tokyo and beyond.
There are also direct trains from Shibuya Station to all of Tokyo’s other major rail hubs, such as Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Station, Ueno Station, and Shinagawa Station. Plus, several other major train stations and subway lines pass through the wider Shibuya area, including Ebisu and Yoyogi
The types of accommodation available
Once you’ve decided where to stay in Shibuya, you’ll then need to consider the type of accommodation you’d like to stay in.
The vast majority of accommodations available in Shibuya are hotels, along with a small range of hostels and rental apartments.
Where you choose to stay will most likely be determined by the type of accommodation you’d like to stay in, as well as by how far your budget can stretch.
Five main places to stay in Shibuya
1. Near Shibuya Station - Stay close to the world’s busiest intersection!
Staying close to Shibuya Station means having everything that you could possibly desire right on your doorstep. In the shadow of Shibuya Station are some of Tokyo’s most famous tourist sites, such as the statue of Hachiko the dog and Shibuya Crossing. You can also take in the breathtaking city views from the open-air Shibuya SKY observation deck at the top of the Shibuya Scramble Square skyscraper.
The area surrounding Shibuya Station is also filled with myriad restaurants, bars, shops, malls and much more. Should you be planning a little retail therapy during your time in Tokyo, then there’s an endless choice of shops to explore in and all around Shibuya Station. Lovers of Japanese cuisine will also be spoiled for choice, with everything from sushi, ramen, and much, much more never more than a few minutes' walk away.
Being so centrally located, being close to Shibuya Station is perfect for exploring the rest of Tokyo. Shibuya Station is served by several rail and subway lines that connect the area with all of Tokyo. Shibuya Station also has direct access to Tokyo Station, meaning that it’s also easy to take day trips out of Tokyo from Shibuya, too.
If you’re looking for somewhere that has literally everything within a minutes’ walk away whilst being perfect for exploring the rest of Tokyo and beyond, the Shibuya Station is the area for you.
Recommended hotels near Shibuya Station:
2. Dogenzaka - Experience a different side to Tokyo on Love Hotel Hill
If you’re looking to experience Tokyo at full throttle, then Dogenzaka is the area for you. Dogenzaka is a fairly small area of narrow, sloping streets crammed with izakayas, restaurants, karaoke bars and nightclubs. This is where Tokyo really lets its hair down, with bars and clubs open well into the early hours. In Dogenzaka late nights usually become early mornings - many party goers miss the last train home, partying through until the trains start to run again the following morning.
Dogenzaka is famous for its love hotels, and the area is nicknamed Love Hotel Hill for a reason. Love hotels are commonplace in cities and towns across Japan, but are synonymous with Dogenzaka, where there’s a huge concentration of short-term accommodation available.
Often themed to appeal to younger people, many love hotels cater to young couples who may struggle to find privacy at home. Rooms in love hotels are available from as little as a few hours and range from fairly standard to pretty outrageous. Even if you don’t plan to stay at one of Dogenzaka’s love hotels, their elaborate and often over-the-top architecture do make for quite a sight, especially when they’re lit up at night.
Dogenzaka is also a very popular area with Tokyo’s younger generation and this is a great area for those looking to stock up on youthful fashion trends. If you want to see where the trend-setting youth of Tokyo shop for the latest cutting edge designs then Dogenzaka is the place to come. Around Dogenzaka there are numerous shops and malls that cater for Tokyo’s savvy teens. The stores in the Shibuya109 shopping mall are the place to go to find the latest trends coveted by Tokyo’s most fashion conscious.
Recommended apartments near Dogenzaka:
Recommended hotels near Dogenzaka:
Recommended love hotels near Dogenzaka:
3. Miyashita Park - An upscale side of Shibuya with a modern retail complex
Miyashita Park is a new retail complex that is in a refined part of Shibuya just to the north of Shibuya Station. Miyashita Park comprises a range of mid to high end fashion stores as well as a diverse mix of restaurants. On the top floor is a mixed use outdoor area, featuring a skate park and seating areas, as well as a hotel. The Miyashita Park area would suit those looking for a quieter side of Shibuya that still enjoys great access to the area and the rest of the city.
The area around Miyashita Park features a great range of boutique fashion stores, laid-back cafes and a number of excellent restaurants. If you’d prefer to see a more sophisticated side to Shibuya that operates at a more relaxed pace then consider staying in or around the Miyashita Park area.
Recommended hotels near Miyashita Park:
4. Yoyogi Park Area - Enjoy easy access to Harajuku and green space
Yoyogi Park is one of Tokyo’s largest parks. Complete with ponds, large open green lawns, and plenty of cherry blossom trees, Yoyogi Park is a popular place to relax, especially on weekends. The park borders the forest surrounding the nearby Meiji Jingu Shrine, forming a huge green space in the center of Tokyo. Those looking to be close to a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city whilst in Shibuya should consider staying in the Yoyogi Park area.
The Yoyogi Park area of Tokyo offers excellent access to Harajuku, still the most youth-oriented and fashionable of all the city’s neighborhoods. Yoyogi-Uehara Station and Yoyogi Koen Station have direct trains to Harajuku Station, where you can explore the countless fashion stores and cute cafes filling Harajuku’s crowded streets.
Yoyogi Park is also the best place to stay in Shibuya if you need to be close to the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. As well as hosting many major sporting events, many major artists play at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium during world tours. Several hugely successful J-Pop and K-Pop bands have performed at the venue, as well as international stars such as Britney Spears.
Recommended hostels near Yoyogi Park:
Recommended apartments near Yoyogi Park:
Recommended hotels near Yoyogi Park:
5. Daikanyama/Ebisu - Stay in a super stylish neighborhood only one stop from Shibuya Station
Daikanyama or Ebisu are perfect for those looking to stay in a super-stylish neighborhood in Tokyo. Located side by side to the south of Shibuya Station, both areas have a laid back and refined atmosphere.
Ebisu is most famous for Yebisu Garden Place, a large complex that resembles a European palace which features numerous restaurants and bars, and a beer museum. The neighboring area of Daikanyama is one of the most upmarket areas of the city with a stylish and metropolitan vibe.
Just one stop south of Shibuya Station on the Yamanote Line, Ebisu is another bustling area with plenty going on. Ebisu is famous as the birth of Yebisu, a brand of Japanese beer which the area is named after. Besides Yebisu Garden Place, most of Ebisu is made up of a network of narrow streets that feature a fine selection of excellent bars and local and international restaurants.
Ebisu is also a good place to stay for seeing the rest of Tokyo. As well as being served by the Yamanote and the Saikyo train lines, the Hibiya Line subway connects Ebisu with popular areas of Tokyo, such as Roppongi and Ginza. Ebisu is also located along the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line, giving great access to day trip areas like Yokohama and Kamakura.
Meanwhile Daikanyama is a stylish neighborhood with its own unique atmosphere that’s also close to the center of the city. Daikanyama’s streets are filled with stylish fashion boutiques, carefully curated vintage clothes shops and high-end restaurants. Fashionistas will love Daikanyama’s great range of clothes stores. While there are many high-end and expensive clothing stores in Daikanyama, there are also plenty of excellent vintage clothes shops for those on a budget too.
Daikanyama is also useful for exploring further afield, with Daikanyama Station only one stop away from Shibuya Station on the Toyoko Line. The equally trendy neighborhood of Nakameguro is just one stop in the opposite direction. If you’d like to explore areas south of Tokyo, then Daikanyama Station also has direct trains south all the way to Yokohama.
Recommended Hotels Near Ebisu and Daikanyama:
When is the best season to visit Shibuya?
There is no single prime time that is the best time to visit Shibuya, which is a great place to explore at any time of the year. That said, there are several occasions and events that take place in Shibuya throughout the year that you might want to plan a visit around.
In spring, the cherry blossom trees in Yoyogi Park are in full bloom, and the park is a popular place to admire the sakura. In summer, foodies won’t want to miss the Shibuya Yokocho Food Festival, which takes place in Miyashita Park in July each year. During the festival, the many restaurants in Miyashita Park serve up special portions of different foods from all around Japan.
In August, the Shibuya Bon Odori takes place, where large floats covered in lanterns are paraded through the crowded streets near Shibuya Station and Dogenzaka. The same streets are packed once again in autumn when thousands of people in fancy dress flock to Shibuya during the city’s famous Halloween celebrations.
Yoyogi Park is a very popular spot in autumn when the leaves on the park’s trees turn a captivating range of yellow, orange, and red. Around late November, Shibuya gets ready for Christmas with many areas lit up with huge displays of winter illuminations. Meanwhile, in December every year, large crowds gather in Shibuya to take part in the countdown to see in the New Year.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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