Shibuya is Japan's centre for fashion and youth culture, a colourful ward that throbs with lights, shops, entertainment, and people. It's famous the world over for the Shibuya Crossing, a chaotic pedestrian intersection that's featured on many movies filmed in Tokyo. Shibuya is one of Tokyo's must-see destinations, located in the heart of the city.
Shibuya Crossing is found in front of Shibuya Station's Hachiko exit. Pedestrians build up and when the traffic lights turn red they start walking, crossing what's widely recognised as the world's busiest pedestrian intersection. Advertising boards and videos line the skyscrapers that overlook the crossing and various cafes offer a bird's-eye view onto the baffling spectacle.
Many visit Shibuya purely to witness the crossing. The chaotic and colourful experience continues everywhere in the ward, with dozens of department stores and giant video screens enticing the throngs of pedestrians. Dusk is an excellent time to visit as Shibuya's neon illuminations start to flicker wildly above the streets.
Shibuya carries a youthful atmosphere and the pedestrianised zone of Center Gai is home to many Japanese fashion trends; window shopping and people watching are always intriguing here. Stretching out on another side of Shibuya Station is Koen Dori, a shopping street that leads to the green spaces of Yoyogi Park. On Sundays, the park and street are a popular hangout for Harajuku girls and 1950s-styled male Rockabilly gangs, two of Japan's most unusual looking yet welcoming subcultures.
Shibuyu Station is one of Tokyo's largest and is crisscrossed by over a dozen railway and subway lines. These transport connections make Shibuya a convenient base in Central Tokyo. Most of Shibuya is pedestrianised and it's only possible to travel on foot.
While Shibuya's Rockabilly gangs might sound threatening, they're actually groups of men who style themselves on 1950s rock music, with leather jackets and quiffs that Elvis would be envious off. In comparison, Harajuku girls are an incarnation of Shibuya's boutique fashion stores, a surrealist teenage chic that's as vivid as the district's neon advertising boards.