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Going to Tokyo and not doing the scramble through the Shibuya Crossing is like going to China and not seeing the Great Wall, or like going to India and not visiting the Taj. It is not a cliché, you must experience the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo.
Shibuya Crossing Location
The Shibuya Crossing is located right in front of the Shibuya Station.
You need to take Hachiko exit from the station, once you emerge to the surface, you will not believe your eyes.
But, first let’s figure out how to get there.
How To Get To the Shibuya Crossing
You have several options of getting to the Shibuya Crossing:
If you are JR Pass holder, take JR Yamanote line to Shibuya Station. It will save you some yen, since JR Yamanote is covered through your pass. If you prefer to take Tokyo Metro Line, you have an option of choosing either Hanzomon Line or Ginza Line and getting off at the Shibuya Station.
What to Expect at the Shibuya Crossing
Holy cow! These were the first words that I said to myself when I walked out of the metro and saw the crowds. At that moment I realized how incredibly busy and populated Tokyo is.
I would recommend watching a few rounds of scramble before plunging into the crowd. Five streets intersect each other at the Shibuya Crossing. The lights change every two minutes and within these two minutes large crowds collect at the curb. Once the lights change, the massive flooding of the street starts. It is amazing that everyone finishes on time. On top of that, the Shibuya Crossing is smothered in billboards, sound commercials, and every size and color of neon lights possible seems to be there.
Now you are ready to do the scramble! And, hustle! You have two minutes to make your way to the other side. You will feel like a small fish in a large ocean.
Here is a video that I took: Shibuya Scramble
Best Views of the Shibuya Crossing
Next, head over to Starbucks. It is right on the corner, you cannot miss it. And, order your favorite drink on the first floor and then head on to the second floor and get an observation spot. It is a great place to take some pictures and if you like people watch, then this is your feast.
If Starbucks is too busy for you, make your way to L’Occitane Café, which is located on the opposite corner. The views are just as good.
Another option is Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. Take the elevator to the 25th floor, it houses all of hotel’s restaurants and they are open to the public.
The best time to experience the Shibuya Crossing is between 5 and 7 pm. You will get the maximum crowd overload at that time.
Definitely head on to the Shibuya Crossing if it is a rainy day. How fun it is to watch hundreds of umbrellas doing the scramble.
After watching the Shibuya scramble, I continued on to Harajuku. Please check out my post on Harajuku : Complete Guide to Harajuku in Tokyo
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