Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

by Luke

Some of the most popular attractions in Tokyo can be found in Shibuya. The busiest intersection in the world is a delight during rush hour, and the most photographed place in Tokyo. Two famous shopping streets, one of the best parks in Japan, and perhaps the most famous shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji, are all within walking distance of each other, making Shibuya an excellent destination for a day trip on foot:

Shibuya Crossing

Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

 (image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Shibuya is the youth mecca. And there is a scramble crossing right in front of the entrance that is Shibuya Station. In front of your eyes, a huge LCD screen soars on which ads endlessly get shown. Surrounding you are fashion buildings, CD shops and other structures that symbolize youth culture, along with the many garish signboards standing about, and the pop songs or commercials that keep getting played; all of these make up a vista that is characteristic of Shibuya.

Shibuya Crossing in front of Shibuya Station, which is the starting line for a tour of the area, can have as many as 3000 pedestrians walking on one green light. With the wave of humanity, the storm of ads and all of the hustle and bustle, Shibuya never goes quiet, day or night.

The streets that span out in all directions in front of Shibuya Station are connected to the area’s shopping avenues which include Center Gai, Fashion Building 109 and the Seibu Department Store. On weekends, there is a massive jumble of young people which can be seen crossing on the green light en masse all throughout the day.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Shibuya Crossing
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Shibuya Crossing
Tours of Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Center Gai

Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Center Gai is right by the crossing for Shibuya where the young get together. Along the narrow street, there are stores and signboards attracting youth. Among the crowds and noise, a unique atmosphere is created.

Going from the plaza where the statue of Hachiko stands in front of JR Shibuya Station and across the scramble intersection, you will find the gateway to Center Gai in the corner. Right at the front of the crossing, there is a huge display screen showing electronic advertising. To the left side of this, there is a road extending off to the west which happens to be Center Gai. You will find it easily since there is an arch at the entrance.  

There is a motley mix of diverse shops in great numbers which have their signboards along the narrow street creating a distinct atmosphere. Since this is an area of not high-brand stores but of entertainment facilities and stores for clothing, shoes, and food that are within financial reach of young people, there are massive crowds of folks like high school students on holidays. And for popular stores, there are also scenes of long lines snaking along the street. All of this make up the unique space of Shibuya Center Gai, and it is this atmosphere which makes it one of the highlights of touring Tokyo.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Center Gai
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Center Gai
Tours of Center Gai

NHK Studio Park

Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

There are many famous works and popular characters that have been born at NHK such as educational programs for children, hit serial dramas, costume dramas and cartoons. At Studio Park, there are plenty of things that can’t be missed by the fans such as exhibits of costumes and small items, photographs and introductions of various episodes of old and new shows. Also, you can take a look through items such as the many types of cameras used in the documentaries, so it’s also great to really feel their performance.

The most popular attractions are the interactive booths. At the Animation Factory, you can try out post-recording to some animation video and learn about the setup behind the production of a cartoon. At the Creative Lab, try matching up music with video and work with sound effects (prior reservations are necessary at the studio on that day). Then, there is the Studio Park News where you can become the most popular newscaster. Find out the tricks of the trade when you try out things such as how to read the news when facing the camera. Then, when it’s time to record an actual TV program, you can also sightsee the place where the program is recorded. When you know about the ins and outs of television production, your enjoyment of programs will surely increase by several times.

You can freely have fun in a space resembling a set of a children’s show. Also, there are events and workshops held where kids can play and dance with popular characters. It’s a fun facility which you enjoy together as a whole family. At the souvenir shop, there are plenty of goods sold of toys, stuffed dolls and stationery of those popular characters which you cannot get anywhere else.

Admission: ¥ 200

Guidebook from Planetyze about NHK Studio Park
Reviews from TripAdvisor about NHK Studio Park
Tours of NHK Studio Park

Harajuku Takeshita Street  

Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

There has been recent data on TripAdvisor that Harajuku’s Takeshita Street is the number one attraction that tourists wish to visit when in Japan. Takeshita Street is Harajuku’s shopping area and the narrow street is dotted with shops selling clothes distinctive of “Harajuku-style”. While the Salon and Lolita styles are some of the most famous style trends in Harajuku, it cannot be so specifically characterized into one particular style. The reason for this is that Harajuku-style fashion is about re-making a particular fashion style and coordinating clothes in a particular way to your liking and expressing your individuality to the maximum through your fashion style.  

It is said that the crepe and purikura shop craze that spread throughout Japan first started on Takeshita Street. “Purikura” is the popular photographic seal that is very popular amongst Japan’s youth, and has gained this much popularity amongst young people as a result of having the choice to illustrate and process the photos to be printed to your liking. The trend has even been exported in recent times to Thailand and Korea. There is a multitude of shops where you can take purikura in Harajuku which have ‘cosplay’ clothing prepared for you to dress up in.  

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Takeshita Street  
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Takeshita Street  
Tours of Takeshita Street  

Yoyogi Park

Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

The 54-hectare park which is the 5th-largest in the city is divided into an A Zone which is a central park with fountains and a forest walking path, and a B Zone with a soccer pitch, an athletic field, a concert stage, sports facilities and an event hall. Entry is free so anyone is able to enter.

There is a wide grass field within the central park with its fountains, and on a good day, it’s great to just bask in the sun all day without needing to do anything or take that stroll among the trees and feel nature. There is a bird sanctuary where you can view wild birds that can only be found in Japan. And then at the cycling center, you can rent out bicycles and spend a wonderful time riding around the cycling course in the park.

Yoyogi Park is also famous for holding various events. On the weekends, the park is bustling with a wide range of activities such as seasonal events, flea markets, antique markets, art and dance performances, and music.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Yoyogi Park
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Yoyogi Park
Tours in Yoyogi Park

Meiji Jingu Shrine

Six Shibuya Sightseeing Spots

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Every New Year’s Day on ‘hatsumode’, Meiji Jingu, which is over 700,000 square meters in size, receives around 3 million worshippers, reflecting its ability to attract the greatest amount of visitors in the nation. Considering the amount of lush greenery located inside the perimeters of Meiji Jingu, it is hard to believe that it is located in the same vicinity as bustling commercial centers such as HarajukuOmotesando and Shibuya. To reach the shrine from JR Harajuku station is a mere 5 minutes away and one could easily even reach it on foot from the above mentioned areas. Many people have become interested in Japanese religions such as Shintoism as a result of references to them in famous movies such as ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ and other Ghibli animated movies. Naturally, this has sparked the motivation of many sightseers to pay a visit to Meiji Jingu. In Japan, regardless of your religion, feel free to visit during the New Year. As well, experience the customs and culture of the Japanese people visiting this place as a power spot.  

Meiji Shrine is also known as a prime location to view the beautiful irises  which blossom in the summertime from June to August. Furthermore, Meiji Shrine is known to be a power spot and has resultantly attracted many young women who wish to benefit from these powers. For example, the large camphor tree that has been standing since the Taisho Period outside the ge-haiden hall of worship, is a popular power spot visited by for those who wish to gain marital harmony and family safety.

And if you have time, you may also be able to witness a Japanese wedding ceremony. Generally speaking, visitors can see a Shinto ceremony in which the bride and groom declare to the gods that they will become a couple and contribute to society. The majestic wedding procession with the bride in white being led by a Shinto priest and shrine maidens and the groom in a kimono provides a snapshot of genuine Japanese culture.  

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Meiji Jingu Shrine
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Meiji Jingu Shrine
Tours of Meiji Jingu Shrine

19 Aug 2015

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