Shibuya: the Busiest Intersection in the World

I freely admit that when it came to Tokyo, I was at a bit of a loss in terms of things to see and do. The city is so big, with so many little districts and weird things to see and do, that it was all rather overwhelming; it really is a city where you can be spoiled for choice and also paralyzed by it.

But one thing Tony and I did know: as cliché and obvious as it is, we would visit Shibuya to witness the world’s busiest intersection in action.

Having made that decision, however, we were faced with another, trickier choice: when to visit? Did we want to see Shibuya in the early light of the morning, as people scrambled off to work, or did we want to see it at night, awash in a sea of technicolor neon signs? It was a hard choice to make, but in the end, we decided that the very best way to see Shibuya was all lit up, the vibrant pulsing lights adding to the chaos of this quintessential Tokyo scene.

There are two ways to experience Shibuya Crossing: down and dirty on the ground, fighting your way through the crowds (the Japanese are not quite as orderly as you might think), and also from on high, watching the people scurry about like ants. The ground experience is easy to get, but the views from up top are a bit trickier. There are several large department stores that encircle Shibuya, many with restaurants that give you prime views of the action. We didn’t check, but we can only imagine how pricey a meal in one of those places would cost! Instead, you’ll notice a Starbucks with a second-story viewing cafe… Full disclosure: there are a few signs up there asking you not to take pictures or video, but we were quick and sneaky about it (as Tony took pictures, I pretended to rifle through his backpack) and didn’t loiter for long. In a city where rules are rarely broken, we felt like quite the rebels, and our illicit pictures and video are some of our favorite souvenirs of Tokyo. While we do always try to be on our best behavior while traveling, sometimes it really is best to ask for forgiveness rather than permission!

Popular in: Japan

5 comments Leave a comment

  1. Wish I was there with you now, we have to do a guide to Japan later this year so I am sure we will continue to follow your journey for tips, thanks!

    Aug. 30 2012 @ 10:35 pm
    1. Paul (To Asia) author

      Thanks for commenting, Paul, and I hope you are inspired by our time in Japan! We hit a lot of places outside of the major three cities most people visit, so hopefully you’ll have lots of places to consider for your guide!

      Sep. 8 2012 @ 11:46 pm
  2. Are the photos broken here? I don’t see any..

    Feb. 20 2014 @ 3:24 pm
    1. Cassie author

      When we changed themes, our youtube video plug-in stopped working. No photos, but the vid should work now!

      Feb. 20 2014 @ 10:46 pm
      1. Stephenie Harrison

        Yes, it’s working now!

        Feb. 20 2014 @ 10:53 pm

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