Best things to do in Shibuya, Tokyo

You’re in Tokyo and are excited to go out and explore. I’m sure you will want to visit Shibuya, one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in the city. In this article, we’ll cover the best things to do in Shibuya, so you can make the most of your time in this iconic district.

Featured in movies like Lost in Translation, Fast and Furious, and Resident Evil, it’s no wonder that many people automatically associate Tokyo with Shibuya Crossing. Experiencing Shibuya Crossing is like stepping into a sci-fi film, with its vibrant colours and precise movement. Everyone knows exactly how to cross and where to go to avoid a collision. It’s an incredible display of unspoken teamwork between strangers.

Shibuya is an excellent place for travellers to Japan who want an introduction to the capital’s energetic side. The district offers some of the best things to do in Tokyo, from shopping and dining to exploring unique attractions. So make sure you add it to your list because it’s unbelievable. The vibe, the lights, the feeling – it’s so very Tokyo!

In the following sections, we’ll dive into the best things to do in Shibuya, so you can plan your perfect visit to this unforgettable district.

Getting to Shibuya

If you arrive by train or subway to Shibuya Station, getting out of the station building might be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with the Tokyo subway system. Take your time and enjoy the seemingly chaotic train station and look for the signs leading you towards the exits.

Be mindful that this is one of the busiest stations in Tokyo and many of the passengers are commuters. Please always take care to not block their path, as even small delays can cause them to miss their next train.

Fun fact: There is a full-sized football field on top of the train station. At night, you can see the light-up field from taller buildings around. It’s quite surreal.

You will find the Shibuya crossing on the Northside of the Shibuya Station. The Hachikō Memorial Statue is also at the North entrance. At the South entrance, you will see the not so well-known Moyai Statue and the Shibuya Bus Terminal (Shibuya Eki Mae).

Trains and Subway Lines that stop at Shibuya:

  • Ginza Line
  • Fukutoshin Line
  • Hanzomon Line
  • Keio-Inokashira Line
  • Narita Express (JR)
  • Saikyo Line
  • Shonan-Shinjuku Line
  • Tokyu-Den-entoshi Line
  • Tokyu-Toyoko Line
  • Yamanote Line

If you have a JR Pass, you can use the trains on the Yamanote Line for free, included in the price of your pass.

Apartments and houses in Tokyo

Where to stay in Shibuya

It’s very important that you try to stay somewhere as close to a subway line as possible, so you can easily travel between all attractions. I recommend staying in Shibuya as it’s a major transportation hub, thus helping you maximise your time here in Tokyo.

For a complete breakdown on all important areas in Tokyo and reviews of my favourite hotels, read my where to stay in Tokyo article. I talk about different areas and why they are most suitable for your type of travel style and budget. I also recommend my favourite hotels in Tokyo organised by budget.

For more hotels and reviews, I recommend using booking for accommodation in Tokyo.

People crossing the famed Shibuya Crossing at night

Must-Do Activity: Experience the Iconic Shibuya Crossing

Are you ready to start exploring? Let’s begin with the must-visit Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble, which is not only the star attraction in Shibuya, but also in the whole of Tokyo.

Late-Night Crossing: A Unique, Post-Apocalyptic Feel

You can visit Shibuya Crossing late at night, when there are virtually no people crossing these roads. This gives you a unique, post-apocalyptic feel to Tokyo. Take your time to enjoy the vast space between the buildings and capture stunning pictures that would be otherwise impossible with the surrounding crowds. This must-do activity is like starring in your own movie scene and something we highly recommend you try in Shibuya.

Peak Hours: The True Shibuya Crossing Vibe

Another option is to visit Shibuya Crossing during peak hours, to fully immerse yourself in the true Shibuya vibe. It’s chaotic, but in an organized way. The colours, the music, the sounds—it’s all an explosion of awesomeness for your senses. You’ll feel alive!

Peak hours are early morning from around 7 am to 9:30 am and just after work, starting around 5 pm until very late. As the crossing is a popular meeting point, expect to see an incredible number of people bustling about until midnight or even later.

Fun Fact: During rush hours, it’s not uncommon for 2,500 people to cross every time the lights turn green. That’s about a quarter of a million people every day. Be one of them and have fun!

Tokyo Shibuya crossing from Shibuya Hikarie

Where to see Shibuya crossing from above

When someone asks me what to do in Shibuya, I automatically suggest taking pictures and videos. The best way to photograph Shibuya crossing is from above. We’ve seen it in movies, it;’s your turn to have fun reproducing the best time lapses.

  • Shibuya Sky: Located on the top of Shibuya Scramble Square, Shibuya Sky offers a fantastic panoramic view of the crossing. The observation deck is open from 10 am to 10:30 pm daily. Admission fees are ¥2,000 for adults and ¥1,600 for children.
  • Magnet by Shibuya 109: Magnet is a shopping complex with a rooftop terrace called “Mag’s Park,” which offers an excellent vantage point to watch the crossing. The rooftop is open from 10 am to 9 pm, and there’s a small entrance fee of ¥600 to access the terrace.
  • Starbucks Tsutaya Shibuya Crossing: Located on the second floor of the Tsutaya building, this Starbucks offers a great view of the crossing through its floor-to-ceiling windows. The Starbucks is opposite Shibuya station’s Hachiko exit. There is no entrance fee, but you may want to purchase a beverage to enjoy while you watch the action below. The opening hours are usually from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm every day. This place gets super busy! So expect long queues for your drink as well as window seat!
  • Hikarie Building: The Shibuya Hikarie building has an observation space called “Sky Lobby” on the 11th floor, which provides a bird’s-eye view of Shibuya Crossing. The Sky Lobby is open from 11 am to 11 pm, and there’s no entrance fee.
  • L’Occitane Cafe: This café is situated on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the L’Occitane building, offering a lovely view of the crossing below. There is no specific entrance fee, but you’ll need to purchase food or drinks at the café. The opening hours are typically from 10 am to 11 pm.
  • Shibuya Mark City walkway: Once you’ve disembarked from your train, follow the signs for Shibuya Mark City, as the viewpoint is located in the overhead passage that connects the station to the building called Shibuya Mark City Walkway. It’s one of my favourite places for a quick snap of Shibuya crossing. Now, do bear in mind there is a mesh on the glass, so you need to position your camera lens just so.
Shibuya Sky observatory at night

Shibuya Sky observatory

Shibuya Sky is such a cool attraction, it deserves to be in the spotlight here. Shibuya Sky has quickly become one of Shibuya’s most popular attractions since its opening in November 2019. Located on the rooftop of the state-of-the-art Shibuya Scramble Square building, now the highest skyscraper in Shibuya, this impressive observation deck offers panoramic views of the city that are hard to beat.

Shibuya Sky is towering at approximately 230 meters above ground level and provides a 360° open-air vantage point to take in the vast and bustling metropolis below, as well as the iconic Shibuya Crossing.

The journey to the observation deck begins with a thrilling elevator ride, which whisks you up to the 45th floor in a matter of seconds. Once there, you’ll find yourself in the indoor observation area known as the “Sky Gallery.” This space, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, provides a sheltered spot to enjoy the stunning cityscape no matter the weather. The Sky Gallery also hosts an array of digital art installations and interactive displays that allow you to learn more about Tokyo’s history and culture, making the experience both entertaining and educational.

From the Sky Gallery, an escalator leads up to the “Sky Stage” on the 46th floor. This spacious open-air rooftop area offers a 360-degree view of Tokyo, allowing you to appreciate the true scale and grandeur of the city. Spot iconic landmarks such as Tokyo Tower, the Tokyo Skytree, and even Mount Fuji on a clear day. The Sky Stage also boasts a “Cloud Trampoline,” a transparent, netted area where you can lay down and feel as if you’re floating above the city.

It goes without saying that you must book your tickets in advance if you want to secure the perfect sunset slot.

Shop in Shibuya

Shibuya truly is a shopper’s paradise, boasting a wealth of malls, shopping streets, and department stores to suit every taste and budget. Shopping in Shibuya at night is an electrifying experience, as many stores light up, adding a magical touch to the buzzing atmosphere.

Ginza caters to high-end shoppers, Harajuku is famous for its trendy Takeshita Street and quirky pop culture finds, while Shibuya sits comfortably in the middle, offering a delightful mix of luxurious items, fun boutiques, and affordable, stylish shops.

Shibuya Loft

Delve into the heart of Shibuya’s shopping scene and discover gems like Loft, a treasure trove of unique Japanese souvenirs and gifts. Loft is a beloved Japanese retail chain that specialises in an eclectic mix of lifestyle products, gifts, and novelty items. The Shibuya branch is a multi-storey wonderland where you can easily lose track of time exploring its vast collection of unique and high-quality products. You will find quirky stationery and innovative gadgets, as well as stylish homewares and travel essentials. This is by far my favourite shopping place in Shibuya.

View of Shibuya 109 from the Shibuya station square

Shibuya 109

Shibuya 109 is a shopping complex that has long been synonymous with the cutting-edge fashion scene in Tokyo. This cylindrical-shaped building has ten floors filled with trendy boutiques, offering a wide range of clothing, accessories, and beauty products that cater to young, fashion-forward shoppers.

Each floor of Shibuya 109 is dedicated to a specific fashion genre, making it easy to navigate the complex and find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s often said that Shibuya 109 is the trend setter in Tokyo amongst the younger crowds.

Tokyu Hands

Tokyu Hands is a popular department store chain in Japan, described as a one-stop-shop for all your creative and DIY needs. The Shibuya branch, spread across several floors, offers a remarkable selection of items, including stationery, arts and crafts supplies, home goods, outdoor gear, travel accessories, and beauty products.

The store’s layout encourages exploration, and you’ll likely find yourself spending hours browsing the aisles, uncovering fascinating gadgets and innovative products that you never knew you needed.

Shibuya Station

Nope, I’m not joking, you can find a lot of great shopping opportunities right in the Shibuya Station. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself lost in the labyrinth of shops and kiosks within Shibuya Station itself. You could easily spend hours wandering around, marvelling at the seemingly endless array of new and captivating merchandise.

Shibuya Dog Hachiko

Say hi to Hachiko

The statue of Hachiko is a popular meeting place in Shibuya, located right in front of the train station. Of course, for those who are aware of Hachiko’s sad story, this is a great place to take a photo and commemorate the man’s best friend.

To sum it up, Hachiko used to wait daily for his owner in front of the Shibuya train station and walk home together. One day, Hachiko’s owner died whilst at university and never made it back to Hachiko.

Every night for the next 7 years, Hachiko came back to the Shibuya station and waited for his owner. Eventually, other commuters started noticing him. His statue is a reminder of the importance of the relationship between man and dog.

Relax in Miyashita Park Shibuya

Relax in Miyashita Park

Miyashita Park is a revitalized urban park that attracts all Shibuya lovers with its myriad of activities and attractions, particularly on its impressive rooftop. This park is designed to be the ideal destination for relaxation, leisure, and entertainment.

And it’s come a long way. Miyashita Park was first established in 1930s and later redesigned to be the city’s first ever rooftop park in 1960s. Rehabilitated and reopened in 2020, the rooftop area of Miyashita Park truly sets it apart from other parks in Tokyo.

It features a range of recreational facilities that cater to both active and laid-back visitors. For sports enthusiasts, there’s a state-of-the-art sports facility complete with a bouldering wall, a skate park, and a multipurpose sports court suitable for futsal, basketball, and other activities.

The rooftop also offers a spacious lawn area where you can relax and soak up some sun, or just people watch. Miyashita Park also hosts various events and workshops throughout the year, so make sure to check its schedule for something that specifically interests you.

Views from Shibuya Parco

Discover the hidden rooftop at Shibuya Parco

Shibuya Parco is a shopping and entertainment complex that has a little-known secret: a serene rooftop garden that offers incredible views over Tokyo’s skyline. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya’s busy streets, this hidden gem is a peaceful haven amid the urban jungle.

The rooftop garden at Shibuya Parco is located on the 10th floor, and it’s entirely free to access. There are plants and trees, and it’s just so beautifully landscaped. I especially recommend that you visit after dark when the gardens are quiet and have amazing lights all around for a romantic atmosphere.

The area sometimes hosts events, and it even has an event space there with its cool garden stage. Make sure to check the events pop on their official site.

Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya

Eat Ramen in Ichiran

Ichiran Ramen is a renowned Japanese ramen restaurant chain that has been delighting taste buds since its establishment in 1960. With its origins in Fukuoka, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, Ichiran has expanded its culinary reach far beyond Japan, becoming an international sensation and a must-try dining experience for ramen enthusiasts.

What sets Ichiran apart from other ramen establishments is its secret recipe of delicious pork-based broth with the perfect blend of spices, accompanied by thin noodles and topped with succulent slices of pork. Ichiran’s dining experience is something unusual too, which some people love while others are not so keen on. They basically have individual booths designed for solo ramen consumption. These partitioned seating areas provide an intimate and focused dining experience, sometimes referred to “flavor-concentration booths” (aji shuchu).

Needless to say that due to Ichiran’s immense popularity, it’s not uncommon to find queues outside Ichiran which can be up to one hour long. But is it worth it? Oh yes, it’s definitely one of my favourite ramens in Tokyo!

People walking on Omotesando avenue in Tokyo

Walk down Omotesando

For a contemporary shopping spree and romantic walk along a zelkova lined avenue, head to Omotesando. Omotesando is sometimes referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées and is a refined and elegant experience in the heart of Shibuya. Take a walk along Omotesando and admire the high-end boutiques, stylish cafés, and impressive architectural designs. Omotesando is a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of luxury and sophistication in Shibuya.

A prominent highlight of Omotesando is Omotesando Hills, a sleek and modern shopping complex that houses a collection of upscale designer stores, cool shops and fantastic restaurants. If you want some delicious first class pasta, I recommend Fratelli Paradiso. You must try their Sicillian martini as well.

Just a stone’s throw away from Omotesando Hills, you’ll find Gyre, another remarkable shopping centre that is worth exploring. Gyre is home to a MoMA Design Store, which offers a curated selection of innovative and stylish design products, including the Yayoi Kusama decorative pumpkins. I also recommend the café at the top of the building, which has great views of Omotesando avenue. In the basement you will find another cute café, Tamitu, which specialises in herb-infused honey.

Don’t miss Omotesando Tokyu Plaza, a multi-storey shopping centre brimming with kawaii clothing and a plethora of accessories. It also features a rooftop called Omohara Garden which is my favourite place in the whole of Shibuya. Grab a coffee or a beer, relax surrounded by lush green and admire some of Tokyo’s cool urban landscape from the top.

Explore Nonbei Yokocho

Nonbei Yokocho (‘Drunkard’s Alley’) is a narrow, lantern-lit alleyway where you’ll find an eclectic mix of tiny bars and small izakayas. Nonbei Yokocho offers an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of the famous Golden Gai in Shinjuku and Memory Lane.

You will find it located right by Shibuya Station. It’s fair to tell you that recently, it’s a bit more touristy, but it’s still very much a cool and representative yokocho.

If you are after pictures, these tiny alleyways are perfect for capturing the “Tokyo mood”. Most places have red lanterns outside that are illuminated during the night. I mean, I loved it so much, I turned some of the pictures I took from Nonbei Yokocho into large art for my home.

To get the most out of your Nonbei Yokocho experience, consider joining a guided tour of Shibuya. These tours offer an engaging and insightful exploration of the neighbourhood, led by knowledgeable guides who will unveil hidden treasures and fascinating stories often missed by tourists. With their local expertise, you’ll be introduced to the best that Shibuya has to offer, including the captivating allure of this Shibuya Yokocho.

Wedding at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

Visit the peaceful Meiji Shrine

One of the most impressive shrines in the whole of Tokyo is the Meiji Shrine, located in Shibuya district. The Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, and it’s surrounded by a beautiful forest. It’s a great spiritual retreat right in the heart of the city.

Pass the large wooden torii gate and enter the sacred grounds. At the main Shinto complex, you can observe locals partake in traditional Shinto practices such as offering prayers. There are many cultural events held here at Meiji Shrine. Chances are, you will see a wedding ceremony during your visit. On every visit, I was lucky enough to see a traditional Japanese wedding, which looks so impressive and interesting to admire.

Purchase a charm for your protection or write your wishes on a wooden tablet called ema. You will see many of them left behind at the temple grounds, where the Gods are said to make them come true.

Yoyogi Park Tokyo Autumn Red Leaves

Walk in Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, and it’s located right in-between Shibuya and Harajuku. Walk in Yoyogi and discover lush greenery, spacious lawns, and tranquil ponds. Yoyogi Park is a gathering place for people of all ages and a place which hosts a diverse array of activities and events.

Have a relaxing stroll, enjoy a picnic under the sakura trees or join the locals and go for a jog, cycle, or dancing class.

On weekends, Yoyogi Park comes to life with street performance, dance groups and musicians, making it an energetic and lively environment. The park is particularly popular during the cherry blossom season where many locals picnic under the sakura trees. I also recommend visiting Yoyogi in the autumn for its stunning koyo festival.

Centre Gai in Shibuya at night

See the vibrant Shibuya Centre Gai

Shibuya Center Gai is a lively pedestrian street located in the heart of Shibuya. The entrance to the street is right next to the main Shibuya Starbucks. It’s a long street between Shibuya Scramble Crossing and Yumeji Street.

Centre Gai is a lively and energetic street packed with shops and restaurants. You’ll definitely want to enjoy it, especially after dark when it’s full of colours and neon lights. You’ll see eye-catching billboards, the latest in fashion and a crazy mix of retails.

If you’re hungry, you’ll find plenty of restaurants here too, with eateries serving Japanese food and international dishes. You’ll find everything your heart desires.

Rent a Karaoke room

Shibuya is home to many karaoke rooms, and you’ll find several right on Centre Gai. And in Japan, karaoke rooms are not quite like what we’re used to, but these Karaoke rooms, are often equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems, comfortable seating, and a vast selection of songs, including the latest hits, classics, and international tunes.

The majority of karaoke venues provide touch screen devices or tablets to browse and select songs, making it easy to find your favourite tracks. Karaoke rooms can typically be booked by the hour and can accommodate groups of various sizes.

Karaoke venues are not just about the singing experience, but they provide food and drink packages too, and some even have all-you-can-drink deals. These rooms are open until late into the night.

Popular karaoke chains in Shibuya include Karaoke Kan and Big Echo.

Tokyo Pub Crawl Having Fun

Go on a pub crawl

A pub crawl in Shibuya with a local is an exciting and immersive way to experience Tokyo’s vibrant drinking scene. The good news is that Shibuya boasts an array of pubs, bars, and izakayas, making it the perfect setting for a memorable night out with friends or fellow travellers. But honesty, I probably would have missed most of them had it not been for my local guide.

A pub crawl in Shibuya involves visiting a selection of local watering holes, each offering its own distinct character and charm. The most authentic pub crawls will take you to intimate izakayas serving traditional Japanese food and drinks.

On my pub crawl, I tried several local drinks including Hoppy a Japanese beer-flavored almost non-alcoholic drink, interesting Japanese whisky and some varieties of sake. Snacking on traditional Japanese bar food, like yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), edamame, and gyoza, is also a must to complete the experience.

Sushi at conveyor belt restaurant katsumidori seibu shibuya

Indulge in lots of sushi

Shibuya is home to a multitude of sushi joints, ranging from traditional, high-end restaurants to more casual and affordable conveyor belt sushi spots. I definitely recommend trying Katsumidori Seibu Shibuya, a sushi train restaurant (kaiten-zushi) that’s super foreign friendly and fun. Order your sushi on a tablet and have it made fresh and delivered to your table via a cute little shinkansen train. The menu is in English with pictures next to each item, so you can get a good idea on what you are about to order.

For a more special experience, try an upscale sushi establishment, where skilled sushi chefs (itamae) prepare fresh, high-quality ingredients right in front of you. These restaurants often require reservations, and you can expect a more formal atmosphere. This is the time when you should check how to behave in a Japanese restaurant.

Go out and explore Shibuya nightlife

Shibuya is vibrant not just because of the countless daily commuters and the sheer amount of shops, but because Tokyo’s youth finds it a great place for an epic party.

There are tonnes of cool things to do in Shibuya after dark. Have a beer in a Japanese pub, enjoy Karaoke with your friends, or end up in a fantastic club in Tokyo (such as Womb – one of the best Shibuya attractions for nightlife seekers). The Tokyo kids really know how to party, so if you are inexperienced, take it easy until you get used to Japan’s spectacular nightlife.

If you rely on the Tokyo metro, know that the train services operate from 5 am until around midnight, sometimes even later. If your accommodation is not around Shibuya, make sure to check the timetables, as it might take several hours to walk to other parts of Tokyo if you miss your last trains. But don’t worry, as there are plenty of cabs all around Shibuya too, in case you need one.

Entrance to a manga store in Shibuya

Try a manga café

Are you searching for unique places to visit in Shibuya? If drinking is not your thing, don’t worry, you will find plenty of geeky things to do in Shibuya. Shibuya has tonnes of manga cafés where you can rent a booth and have access to an entire collection of manga and anime books.

As Manga Cafés got very popular, some introduced membership programs. Members can enjoy lower prices and stay overnight with sleeping and showering facilities provided. Nearly all manga cafés will offer unlimited soft drinks and will have computers with Wi-Fi as well. It seems like a pretty cool place to spend the night, definitely much cheaper than in a hotel.

Rates for a short stay range from as little as 160 yen for 30 minutes. Expect to pay around 3500 yen for a 12-hour package.

Here are a few I recommend: Comic Cafe 100, Manboo! Manga Cafe, Comica, Takarajima24, Hailey’5 Cafe.

You will need some Japanese skills for sone of these manga cafés, as they don’t often have English books. But I still think it’s a fun thing to just immerse yourself in the local culture.

Street just minutes from Shibuya crossing

Visit the Love hotel hill

Shibuya is home to what’s known as the Love hotel hill (Shibuya’s Dōgenzaka area). Love hotels are short-stay accommodations designed for couples seeking privacy and intimacy.

Love Hotels usually have themed rooms, discreet services, and distinctive architecture. Love hotels in Shibuya have rooms that can be rented for a few hours or overnight stays. The exteriors of love hotels in Shibuya are brightly lit and eye-catching. Inside, the rooms feature elaborate themes and decor, like tropical paradises, futuristic spaceships, or romantic wonderlands. Some love hotels are just modern rooms with a luxurious touch.

You will check in and out through automated systems or at reception areas where minimal interaction with staff is required. Room rates and availability are displayed on electronic boards, allowing you to choose a desired room without any fuss.

There are strict policies in these hotels and confidentiality is guaranteed. I wrote a little more about this in our Tokyo adult guide. Some love hotels have been featured in a few recent movies, including the 2020 Lost Girls & Love Hotels.

Cute little arcade in Shibuya

Try your luck in a Pachinko parlour

If you’re looking for a quintessentially Japanese gaming experience during your time in Shibuya, visiting a pachinko arcade should be high on your list of things to do. Pachinko is a form of entertainment in Japan, where players engage in a captivating blend of pinball and slot machines that promise an exciting, sensory-filled adventure.

It’s definitely an experience; hence I recommend you to give it a try, but I understand if you need a breath of fresh air after a couple of minutes.

As gambling is generally illegal in Japan, pachinko parlours have devised a clever workaround to stay within the confines of the law. Pachinkos are not considered gambling as you win no money. Your winnings are small pachinko balls that can be exchanged for special tokens. These tokens can be ‘sold’ in the shops next door for cash or other items. Because you did not receive any cash in the parlour, no laws were broken.

If pachikos are too much for you, try a cute little arcade full of vintage claw crane machines.

capsule hotel in Tokyo

Sleep in a capsule hotel

If you’re exploring the vibrant nightlife of Shibuya and seeking an affordable and one-of-a-kind accommodation option, a capsule hotel is an excellent choice. Capsule hotels are not only budget-friendly but also provide an unusual experience, making them one of the top things to do in Shibuya.

As the name suggests, capsule hotels offer compact, capsule-like sleeping quarters that provide a comfortable space to shower, relax, and get a good night’s sleep. Each capsule comes with a comfortable mattress, Wi-Fi and an alarm clock. Showers and bathrooms are shared, but they are normally kept very clean. Some capsule hotels even come with public baths or onsen.

Typically, capsule hotels cater primarily to male guests, but there are options available for female travellers and couples as well. Some newer hotels even offer double capsules for couples.

Capsule hotels are a fun experience and I recommend sleeping in one for at least one night, just to do something entirely different whilst in Shibuya.

People dancing during Ohara matsuri

Experience the Ohara Matsuri Parade in Shibuya

If you find yourself in Tokyo during the summer months and are looking for unique events in Shibuya, don’t miss the Ohara Matsuri, a lively dance festival held annually in mid-May.

The festival originates from Kagoshima, where it’s still held every year in November. Participants dance together in unison to traditional music such as Ohara-bushi.

Everybody dresses in traditional Yukata (summer style Kimono) or Happi (colourful overcoat worn during festivities). People also wear masks and other handmade costumes. You are welcome to join in if you like and enjoy the music and dance.

To plan your visit to the Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Matsuri, check the official website for the most up-to-date information on dates and times (website in Japanese). Here are the previous years’ dates for reference:

  • 2023: The 26th Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Festival” will be held on Sunday, May 28th!!
  • 2022: May 14-15
  • 2021: May 15-16 (Cancelled)
  • 2020: May 16-17 (Cancelled)
  • 2019: May 18-19
Cherry Blossom Festival

Discover the Serenity of Sakuragaoka-Cho Street

After immersing yourself in the hustle and bustle of Shibuya, take a moment to unwind and relax at Sakuragaoka-Cho Street. This peaceful, tree-lined street is adorned with cherry blossoms and has charming eateries and cafes, offering a relaxed escape from the city’s lively atmosphere.

Sakuragaoka-Cho Street becomes particularly popular during the sakura season when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, attracting visitors who come to admire the picturesque scenery. To fully appreciate the area’s calming ambiance, spend an afternoon people-watching while savouring matcha-infused beverages and desserts at one of the local cafes.

Sakuragaoka-Cho is more than just a street; it’s a small district in its own right, with a population of over 1,800 residents.

Japanese salaryman passing a local coffee joint in Shibuya

Relax in Shibuya

It sounds impossible, given the large crowds and noise at the Shibuya Crossing, but occasionally, it’s good to just be in a new place, sit down and take it all in.

Chill by the Shibuya Crossing and take notes in your journal or just wander around the place. I, personally, find this to be one of the greatest ways to enjoy a new destination.

Shibuya really comes to life after dark, when you have the chance to see tonnes of neon lights and lit up jumbo adverts. This is the time to take your camera out and snap all the photos. Try to capture everything.

Venture off the main streets around the station, and you’ll discover a quieter, more serene side of Shibuya, with fewer crowds and a slower pace.

There are three shrines right around the Shibuya station (Miyamasumitake Shrine, Chiyoda Inari Shrine, Oyamainari Shrine), which you should visit for a few minutes of quiet contemplation.

Shibuya stream in Tokyo

Shibuya Stream

Shibuya Stream is one of the latest additions to Shibuya, opened in 2018. The development is part of a larger project that aims to rehabilitate and renovate parts of Shibuya. In the past, the Shibuya River, which flows nearby, was one of many streams in Tokyo that were quickly covered in concrete to make way for urban development prior to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. City planners are now striving to reintroduce waterways and green spaces to this urban setting.

Shibuya stream is a skyscraper and retail complex which now houses Google’s Japan head office. The most charming part is at the bottom of the complex, with outdoor cafés and restaurants overlooking the riverside.

Shibuya ward during the day

Where to go from Shibuya

Shibuya is great fun, but it’s one of the great districts in Tokyo. There are plenty more to explore. Head to Shinjuku or Ginza which are just a short train ride away. There are many cool Tokyo itineraries I put together for you:

The good thing about Tokyo is that by the time you’re finished with one area, it probably changed already, so you can start over. That’s the beauty of Tokyo: it’s never static, never boring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Shibuya popular for?

Shibuya is popular for its lively urban atmosphere, fashion, shopping, dining, and nightlife. It is famous for the iconic Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world, where thousands of people cross the street simultaneously in a mesmerising display of organised chaos. The area is also known for its youth culture, trendy fashion boutiques, and diverse entertainment options.
Shibuya has many shopping centres, including the famed Shibuya 109, Loft, Shibuya Hikarie, and Shibuya Parco. The district is also home to many restaurants, bars, clubs, and izakayas, making it a hub for Tokyo’s youtful nightlife and pub crawls.
Other attractions in Shibuya include Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and Omotesando as well as love hotels, capsule hotels, manga cafes and karaoke rooms.

Is Shibuya good for tourists?

Shibuya is the place to be for tourists visiting Tokyo. It’s the beating heart of the city with endless things to do and see. Cross the pedestrian scramble, shop on Centre Gai and eat delicious local food. Venture into intimate izakayas and mingle with locals or go on a night out to party with the youngsters.
Shibuya is brilliant for tourists, offering everything you would want from an area in Tokyo with great accommodation, unique attractions, excellent shopping options and brilliant food at every corner.

Is Shibuya or Shinjuku better?

Both Shibuya and Shinjuku have their own appeal and attractions. The choice depends on your preferences and interests, but here is a breakdown on what to expect:
Shibuya:
Famous for the iconic Shibuya Crossing, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections.
Known for its youth culture, trendy fashion boutiques, and diverse entertainment options.
Home to shopping centres like Shibuya 109, Loft, Shibuya Hikarie, and Shibuya Parco.
Access to Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, Omotesando.
Walking distance to the beautiful Aoyama district.
Cool nightlife scene with numerous bars, clubs, and izakayas.
Shinjuku:
World’s busiest railway station.
Known for its skyscrapers, shopping malls, and entertainment options.
Famous shopping areas like Isetan, Takashimaya.
Popular attractions include Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and Kabukicho, the city’s largest red light district.
Offers a diverse nightlife scene, with Golden Gai bar district and Omoide Yokocho (Memory Lane).
Both Shibuya and Shinjuku are worth exploring, both fantastic for activities, entertainment, shopping and food. Both districts are perfect for photography, too. If you’re more interested in youth culture, fashion, and a vibrant atmosphere, you may prefer Shibuya. If you’re drawn to skyscrapers, shopping malls, and a wider range of entertainment options, Shinjuku is your place.

Is Shibuya worth it?

Yes, Shibuya is definitely worth visiting. It’s a fantastic district in Tokyo, ideal for seasoned or first time tourists to Tokyo.
Some reasons why Shibuya is worth exploring include:
Shibuya Crossing: One of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections. An iconic symbol of Tokyo and offers a unique experience, especially during peak hours.
Fashion and Shopping: Shibuya is home to numerous shopping centres as well as countless boutiques and fashion-forward stores.
Youth Culture: Expect cute, trendy and youthful vibe, with the nearby Harajuku district famous for its quirky fashion and Takeshita Street.
Dining and Nightlife: Shibuya has so many restaurants, including budget friendly sushi train restaurants and famous ramen joints like Ichiran.
Nearby Attractions: Some popular attractions in the vicinity include Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, and Omotesando.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.

Comments

25 responses to “Best things to do in Shibuya, Tokyo”

  1. Ray Avatar
    Ray

    Good article thanks. Will enjoy Japan.

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Ray, You will absolutely love it! Enjoy your trip

  2. Sandra Y Avatar
    Sandra Y

    HI, Thank you so much for all of the great information. We are going to Japan in Late Sept. Love all of the information you have provided!!!

  3. james Avatar
    james

    Bring back Memories of my Tokyo Tour.

  4. Ollie Avatar
    Ollie

    very informative, am planning for a trip with my teenagers in dec 2018

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Thank you. They will LOVE it!

  5. Debbie Hays Avatar
    Debbie Hays

    Thank you for great information. Planning trip to Tokyo- staying in Shinjuku for few days, what other area would you recommend- Shibuya or Akihabara? Traveling with 22 year old daughter.

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Debbie,

      Shibuya is classier and Akihabara is more youth-oriented. If you daughter loves electronics, manga, anime and cosplay, then Akihabara. If you like classier restaurants, more mid-range – luxury, then Shibuya is better.

      I hope this helps. Enjoy Japan.

  6. Monica Sharma Avatar
    Monica Sharma

    Fantastic post and a complete guide of the beautiful place Shibuya. I have never been there as it was not in my bucket list but after reading your post I found this place very interesting and now I can’t wait to explore it. Keep sharing such wonderful destinations.

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      I’m really excited to hear, Monica. I reckon you are going to love all the things to do in Shibuya!
      Safe travels.

  7. Joanne Tru Avatar
    Joanne Tru

    Love all the great things to do in Shibuya. I LOVED the shops on the Omotesando Hills. We travelled there with our teenage daughters and they were glued to the windows. Shibuya at night is also incredible. Thank you for your article

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Ah Joanne, I can relate. I love Omotesando Hills so much. One of my fav places for shopping in Tokyo. Shibuya is pretty epic indeed. Glad you enjoyed it with your daughter. Safe travels

  8. L. and M. Avatar
    L. and M.

    Hey Cory, thank you for your article. We are a young couple looking to experience Shibuya nightlife. Any recommendations? Weird is also good.

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi L&M 🙂 you can do Womb which is one of the best nightclubs in Shibuya if you want to experience the nightlife. You can also do TK and Sound Museum Vision. Enjoy your party time 🙂

  9. Sarah Kuch Avatar
    Sarah Kuch

    I now have a list of what to do in Shibuya, thanks. I’m staying in Shibuya for 2 days for a conference with work and won’t have time to explore other parts of Tokyo. Is this enough?

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Sarah, thank you for your message. Really glad our things to do in Shibuya helped you plan the days. You can def do all of the above in two days in Shibuya. Although if you ask me, you can spend a month meandering about Shibuya and still have stuff left to do 🙂 You will love it!

      Have lots of fun.

  10. Maria V. Avatar
    Maria V.

    Hi Cory, I just read that I can use my JR Pass for the Shinkansen but you mentioned I can use them within Tokyo. Is it valid for the metro as well? I want to get to Shibuya using the green line I think?
    Can you please help?

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Maria, the JR Pass can be used on almost all trains. You can use it on the Shinkansen as well as regional and some local trains. You got it right, Yamanote line is a green circle line in Tokyo. It is operated by train and can be used with the JR Pass. You cannot use your JR Pass for metro, however. You will need either single tickets purchased on the day, or you can get a Pasmo card which is a rechargeable plastic card with prepaid amount of money on it. It’s easier to use around Tokyo.
      Safe travels!

  11. Ryan Avatar
    Ryan

    Love all the things to do in Shibuya. We went to this super small restaurant and used the vending machine to order ramen. So futuristic and cool. We need that in the states as well.

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Ryan, we were just saying that we need those vending machine restaurants: quick and easy and a lot cheaper. The food is quick and delicious as well. Ah, what a cool thing to do in Shibuya, loved it to bits!

  12. Daryll Jonnas Avatar
    Daryll Jonnas

    We did two things in Shibuya: Shibuya crossing at night which was super chaotic. We managed to take some pictures with my wife and daughter and it was so much fun. We ate in a ramen bar as per your recommendation and it was great. My daughter went with her boyfriend to take pictures of shibuya crossing in the middle of the night and there were like 10 people crossing. She said it was really cool. Great list, Cory, thank you.

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Wow Daryll, thank you for letting us know. We are really excited that our things to do in Shibuya article helped you. Also excited to hear your daughter enjoyed her time taking photos. It did feel post-apocalyptic a little didn’t it? Safe travels!

  13. Stephen Farbo Avatar
    Stephen Farbo

    Cory, we are not looking for nightlife and everyone tells us Shibuya is a bit chaotic. We are in our 70s and my wife needs a slower pace to walk. Do you still recommend us to visit Shibuya or should we stay closer to our hotel?

    1. Cory Avatar
      Cory

      Hi Stephen,
      Thank you for your message. We recommend Shibuya for you. It doesn’t have to crazy or chaotic. You do it on your own pace. When you cross the Shibuya crossing simply be more to the side to ensure you don’t bump into anyone. But locals will see that you need a slower pace and will avoid you anyway. You can enjoy the food in Shibuya and the nightlife is fun to just watch you don’t need to go partying. There are plenty of restaurants in the area and you and your wife can just take a nice ramen in the centre of Tokyo. Just take it easy and you will have fun.

  14. deen Avatar
    deen

    Great info! Thanks

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