Surviving The Shibuya Scramble Crossing

There was one moment in Japan when we couldn’t help but think wow, we’re really in Tokyo now. And that moment was when we were watching people cross the street at what is affectionately known as the Shibuya Scramble. 

Rumour has it that this pedestrian crossing in Shibuya is the busiest crossing in the whole world, with moer than three thousand people crossing with every light change during peak hour in the city.

It’s incredible to watch, and although it might seem silly, it is so crazy to experience walking in such a tsunami of people.

shibuya scramble

Best views of the Shibuya Scramble

After you’ve gotten caught up in the Shibuya scramble and crossed the street a few times yourself, find yourself a good view point to watch the craziness from a higher view point.

We found that the best view was from the Starbucks across the street from the Shibuya train station. There is one long bench table that sits along the window overlooking the crossing, so the seats here are limited.

The secret is definitely out about this spot, so it can be very hard to get a seat, especially if you’re visiting during peak hour. If you’re happy to wait it out for a seat though or kindly nudge your way to the front, it’s definitely worth it to watch at least one light change from this spot.

If you are entertained by people watching, this is one of the best places in Japan to do it. It’s amazing to think of what all those people are thinking as they’re rushing across the road – running in all different directions, sometimes riding bikes or walking dogs.

And no matter how many people are crossing the street, no one ever seems to bump into each other!

Check out the best places to stay in Shibuya

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shibuya scramble

Getting to the Shibuya Scramble

The Shibuya crossing can be fund directly out the front of the Shibuya Station. It crosses over to the shopping district of Shibuya on the other side of the road.

You can get to Shibuya Station by taking any of these train lines –

  • JR Yamanote Line
  • JR Saikyo Line
  • JR Shonan Shinjuku Line
  • Hanzomon Subway Line
  • Ginza Subway Line
  • Fukutoshin Subway Line
  • Tokyo Toyoko Line
  • Tokyo Denentoshi Line
  • Kei Inokashira Line

From Shibuya Station take the Hachiki Exit from the station so that you walk out right in front of the crossing.

To be honest, if you’re on a train that’s travelling through Tokyo you’re likely to hit Shibuya Station. It’s a very busy station in the city, with trains arriving and departing every few seconds!

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the shibuya scramble

Around the Shibuya Scramble

The streets around the Shibuya scramble offer some of the best fashion shopping in the city. Directly across the street from the crossing you can find Shibuya 109, a very tall multi-level shopping centre with more than 100 boutique stores.

Shibuya 109 is actually so crazy, the building itself is very tall and narrow and there are about 9 or 10 levels, each with about 10 stores on the level. The whole level is pretty much just one loop around the escalators that are found right in the dead centre of the building.

Also in the area is the Tokyu Food Show that offers a huge variety of local delicacies and gourmet eats, with dishes that include grilled eel, fried pork, tiny fish salad, octopus on a stick, seafood and rice seaweed wraps and so much more.

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Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started Explore Shaw to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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Just two twenty-something married Aussies, visiting as many places as we can in between normal life, and hoping to inspire and offer advice for your travel planning.

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