What is the first place you think of when you think about Tokyo? Chances are that it is Shibuya and its iconic Shibuya Crossing. Perfectly capturing the bustling energy of one of the largest metropolises and the busiest intersection in the world where 3,000 people cross from all directions at the same time during the youthful area’s rush hours is a tourist favorite. There are several vantage points from where you can observe this frenetic moment. Let us introduce to you the best Shibuya Crossing viewing spots!
Starbucks Shibuya Tsutaya
The 2nd floor of the Starbucks Shibuya Tsutaya is one of the most popular spots to view the scramble crossing from. As the seating area is situated right above the hustle and bustle, you have a perfect close-up view from above. It is a perfect spot for taking some good action pictures and videos of the Shibuya Crossing.
Starbucks’ coffee specialties obviously don’t need much of an introduction, and if you’d like to take your time and sit down for a bit to observe the crossing you can buy a drink and take a seat. If you just want to take a quick peek, you can also take the escalators from the 1st floor of Tsutaya without having to stand in line, as long as you don’t stand in the way of the customers.
Opening hours 6:30am-10pm
You can also catch a glimpse of the crossing from the 11th floor of the Hikarie Building that is connected to the north side of Shibuya Station. This free observation floor has high windows that extend all the way to the floor, so you almost feel like you’re flying above the city. If you look in the south-western direction, you will see the people on the crossing moving about like ants, and if the weather is very clear you can even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in the distance in the same direction.
In the western direction you have a clear view of Shinjuku with its high towers and Yoyogi park including one of the Olympic stadiums. When you go back down, make sure to catch one of the elevators on the eastern side of the floor, as these are see-through and will give you a bit of a thrill while riding down!
Opening hours 11am-8pm
Part of the redevelopment of the Shibuya Station area that is set to be completed around 2027, Shibuya Sky is located on top of the brand new Shibuya Scramble Square building. At 229 meters above the ground, this is the highest nearby point from which you can observe the Scramble Crossing. The view over much of the rest of Tokyo is also breathtaking, and that alone makes it worth the entrance fee of 1,800 yen (if you buy ticket online),
After an exciting elevator ride upstairs, you will be treated to an outdoor 360 degree view of Shibuya and its surroundings through clear windows. The observation deck also has a nice lounge area, and if you come after dark you will be treated to a cool light show with accompanying music. One floor below there is an indoor gallery from which you can see an amazing view and play with interactive digital art.
Shibuya Scramble Square
Opening hours 10am-8pm
Magnet by Shibuya 109
Magnet by Shibuya 109 is a cool and young shopping center that is worth checking out for anyone with an interest in popular youth culture. Teenagers might be able to find some nice fashion items that no one else at home will have (yet)! And if you go to the top floor, you will find a cafe with a very good view of the Scramble Crossing. It is a great place to take a break and just observe the craziness from above.
Magnet has an outdoor deck on the 8th floor as well, with a small observation deck in a strategic corner with a nice unobstructed birds eye-view of the Scramble Crossing. There is a small admission fee, which is also the reason why this viewing point is usually not crowded at all, giving you a great opportunity for special pictures!
Opening hours 10am-9pm
Gusto Shibuya Station Restaurant
Right opposite of Starbucks is a building that houses a branch of Gusto, one of Japan’s popular family restaurant franchises. Situated on the 7th floor, the window seats give ample opportunity to enjoy the views of the Scramble Crossing just below. As it is a restaurant, you will have to order something if you want to enter. But the good news is that Gusto serves very affordable food, so you won’t break the bank by sitting down for a meal here.
Opening hours 7:30am-11pm
Shibuya Mark City
One of Gusto’s most popular features is their unlimited soft drink bar for only a few hundred yen per person. Their cuisine is varied and they serve Japanese, Chinese, and Western style dishes, so there is something on the menu for everyone.
This spot is a bit hidden, and most tourists don’t know about it. But the corridor that connects Shibuya Station to the Shibuya Mark City building offers great views from just above the Scramble Crossing, similar to what you can see from the Starbucks but usually with fewer other people competing for space.
You can stand here as long as you’d like, and take photos and videos with a vantage point that you don’t see that often.
Shibuya Mark City
10am-11pm (depending on shops/restaurants)
Shibuya Crossing Itself
And of course, you can’t go to the Scramble Crossing without experiencing the frenzy from the inside on the Shibuya Crossing itself. While you wait for the light to turn green, anticipation is building up while the crowd gets ever larger. And then once it’s time to go, a wall of people is coming your way from all sides. Still, all those people somehow manage to get to the other side without all bumping into each other. This is a great moment to take a memorable picture! But don’t linger too long, as once the light turns red again the crossing has to be clear.
The best time to go would be around the evening rush, which is between 6 pm and 9 pm during the weekdays. On weekend days or national holidays, it gets crowded a bit earlier and you will catch the greatest number of people around 3 pm to 7 pm. If you come in the morning, it is usually not so crowded so if you want to experience the Scramble Crossing to the fullest, it is better to plan to come a bit later.
Are you already getting excited about visiting Tokyo? There are so many things to see, do, and feel in this very diverse city. Shibuya is definitely one of the must-sees, but there are many other places to discover as well. Especially if you only have a short time in Tokyo, you want to make sure that you get the maximum out of your limited time here.
But also if you stay in the capital a bit longer, it would be interesting to go a bit more in-depth and see the city from a local’s perspective. In both cases, a customizable private tour with one of our experienced guides would really add an extra dimension to your stay in Tokyo.
▶Tokyo 1-Day Highlights Private Walking Tour
*Opening hours we mentioned above might change during the state of emergency in Tokyo
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Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.
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