Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is only 1 of 3 remaining daimyo (feudal lord) gardens from the early Edo Period. Land was often granted to daimyo – or put under their care for the shogun or emperor. The gardens date back to the early 1600’s and you can still see many artifacts from centuries past (such as the large stone bridge).
Unlike many Japanese gardens, Korakuen has a more Chinese (Confucian) design.
Things To Do
The park has lots of walking trails, a large and a small pond, and some great views of Tokyo from various vantage points.
The east side of Tokyo Station is called the Yaesu side (named after the 17th century foreign Samurai Jan Joosten).
It’s the newer more modern side of the station compared with the west Marunouchi side built in the early 1900’s.
For access + area layout info for the station see Part 1 of our post which has all the ways to get to Tokyo Station.
The east side is one long continuous sidewalk on the outside with a large bus stop + loading area, a central entrance, the large DAIMARUdepato (department store), and an elevated walkway with some shops called GRANRoof. There is also a very cheap hidden luggage store/forward place in a hidden basement at the very south end.
Underneath the east side are endless corridors, passages, and a huge shopping mall. The main street running north-south in front of the east side is called Sotobori Dori. Across the street to the east are shops, the huge Yamada Denki (an electronics shop called Concept LABi), and some very interesting side streets with lots to see + do. There are also some very nice hotels on the east side.
Just to the north of the DAIMARU depato is a very upscale hotel – the Shangri La Hotel Tokyo. You can’t find a better or more convenient hotel in Tokyo, but it will cost you dearly – close to $500/night or even more during peak tourist season in the spring. The only closer hotel is the Tokyo Station Hotel itself – inside the station.
Facing south. The station is center right. The DAIMARU building is right of that, and the Shangri La is on the far right. On the left is the Yamada Denki Concept LABi store. The street shown is Sotobori Dori. Just down to the left past Yamada are some interesting side streets that are a must-see.
At the very south end are some shops on the outside including a very nice 2-story waffle house. If you turn right and follow a small corridor past the corner, then take the nondescript elevator down, you’ll find a hidden luggage storage/delivery service with very cheap rates. This place comes in incredibly handy when going to/from the station with luggage. If you are arriving in Tokyo you can drop your luggage here overnight, then come back the next day and pick it up. They can also deliver to your hotel.
The Yaesu Central Entrance. The huge staircase + escalators lead to the underground shopping mall. The stairs on the left lead up to GRANRoof.
The Nihombashi (north) Entrance
Just north of the Shangri La around the corner to the left is the smaller north, or Nihombashi entrance to the station. This entrance is mostly used for buses, but also has some other unique features – the Sagawa luggage delivery/storage service is here, as are a few restaurants and a large bank of coin lockers. (Nihombashi is the district just north of Tokyo Station).
The Nihombashi Entrance.
The large bank of coin lockers along the north side. An entrance to 1st Avenue underground mall is on the left.
Along the Yaesu side. The bus loading area is on the left. The Yaesu Central Entrance is just to the right out of frame.Small food shops are at the far end. Just behind the camera is the DAIMARU depato:
The roof mezzanine level which has many shops on the left side.This level also affords a spectacular view of the city to the east.
Surprisingly, just outside is a free + large place to park bikes. And you don’t even need to lock them. Hardly anyone in Japan steals anything.
We described the vast tunnels + platforms inside the station in Part 1 so we won’t go into it again here. Suffice it to say there are 2 sides to the station and underneath are vast shop/restaurant areas with endless things to eat. It’s so vast it’s easy to get lost. You’re going to need a lot of food after spending hours walking around the place and up + down stairs.
In one of many corridors inside Tokyo Station.
After walking miles in the station, you will be ready to eat.
Inside the station there are endless food options + goodies.
Just east of the station and 1 block south of the Yamada Denki building is the entrance to a small side street known simply as Sakura Street:
If you’re visiting the station for the 1st time, this street is a must-see. But wait until after dark when the street comes alive with restaurants, cafés, pubs, and a host of other cool places to check out. There are also a few other good smaller hotels on this streets such as:
Sakura Street comes alive after dark.
One of many parallel side streets near Sakura Street.Lots to see + do.
Head Further East
At the end of Sakura Street just 2 blocks east around 35°40’49.19″ N 139°46’20.99″ E is another major north-south street with lots to do. There’s a huge museum here (Artizon Museum), lots of skyscrapers, and a huge Takashimaya depato. The restaurant level on the top floor of the Takashimaya Annex is especially good. If you want a really good hamburger, try Brozer’s on that floor:
Nihombashi Takashimaya Shopping Center
2-4-1 Nihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8265 Phone +81-3-3211-4111
More Cool Stuff On the Backstreets
If you wander around the backstreets you will find a surprisingly awesome array of cool things to do + see – not just on Sakura Street, but on all of the streets. Places such as these:
There are huge banks of paid coin lockers around the station. The largest banks are near the shinkansen entrances, along the north corridor, and along the west corridor. To learn how to use them, see Part 1. You can pay by cash, coin, or electronic Suica card. (the Japanese word for card is a Katakana loan word from English: cardo).
The lockers can come in handy when entering or leaving the country, going to other cities in Japan, or if you are just taking a day trip and don’t want to carry everything with you. They are usually totally secure.
Large lockers. The red indicator usually means they are in use.
Locker payment machine.The touchscreen at the top indicates how you would like to pay, and the small oval below it is the Suica card reader.After indicating payment by Suica, just slap your card on the reader and the price will be deducted from the card.You can also use bills + coins.
Well that’s it for Tokyo Station. We’ve barely scratched the surface here. The station is vast and you can easily spend days exploring it. It’s a must-see on any trip to Tokyo. Don’t miss it.
The Shangri-La Hotel.
Across from the north entrance is this employment agency – PASONA.
Inside the north entrance.
The underground Yaesu Shopping Mall which is vast.
Tokyo Station is Tokyo’s showplace train station + vast multiuse complex.
Renovated + expanded in 2012 the area is an entire city unto itself. In fact, there’s an entire area inside called Tokyo Station City (TSC) – most of it underground beneath and around the station. There are several subdevelopments inside such as TSC, GRANRoof (an elevated outdoor walkway), 1st Avenue underground mall, and others. A new high-rise development just northeast is being planned called Tokyo Torch, which when completed will be Japan’s tallest building. TSC also has its own YouTube channel. Check out the Tokyo Colors.2015 Teaser movie.
There are also huge food palaces, and a large street-level shopping complex with various depatos (department stores), the largest of which is DAIMARU. Inside the station in many areas, there are endless food courts and high-end restaurants + cafés.
Tokyo Station hosts a huge number of train lines and is one of the central departure points for many of Japan’s high speed Shinkansen (bullet trains – shinkansen literally means “new rapid line”). The main lines are Japan Railways (JR) lines, and other lines such as Keio, Tokyo Metro subway and others. You can get to just about any place in the Tokyo region on regular and express trains, and to other parts of Japan on shinkansen.
The station is centered in the central business district called Marunouchi (literally “Imperial Palace Grounds Circle”) in Tokyo just east of the Imperial Palace.
The area is too huge + vast to cover everything so we’ll just hit the major features and points of interest here. To truly experience the station + area, you’ll have to plan on spending a few days walking or biking around.
There are 2 sides to the station – the older but renovated brick side on the west called the Marunouchi side, and the newer, more modern east side called the Yaesu (pronounced ‘Yah-eh-soo’) side (named after one of Japan’s only foreignSamurai, Jan Joosten, or simply Yayōsu for short, from the 17th century) . There are only 2 internal passages which connect the 2 sides the YaesuNorth Passage on the north side of the station, and the Yaesu Central Passage in the middle of the station. The two major shinkansen entry areas are also in the center of the station slightly towards the east side. There is also the Yokosuka-Sobu Line Rapid Line to Narita Airport on the west side.
There is actually a smaller 3rd side called the Nihombashi Entrance on the far northeast corner of the station. This entrance/exit is largely used for busses, but if you need to go north of the station, this is the exit to take. There is also a luggage delivery service and a few cafés inside along with coin lockers (see below).
Northwest (Marunouchi) side of the station + entrance.There is also a luggage forwarding + a large tourist info office just inside.
Tokyo Station and the Marunouchi area are incredibly spectacular + clean and are the showplace of Tokyo. You won’t want to miss it for anything.
Also on the west side right in the center of the station is the incredibly luxurious and ornate Tokyo Station Hotel, which runs about $400/night.
At the very south entrance on the west side there is also a small Koban (police box). There isn’t much else on the exterior of the west side – most of the interesting points are inside, or in the surrounding area. The west side facadé was renovated in 2012, along with the ornate northwest entrance area which has soaring Victorian ceilings.
An important point of interest to note is that the quickest way to get from Tokyo Station to the west side of the city (to Shinjuku) is on an express line called the JR Chuo Line which departs Tokyo Station and only makes 5 stops on the way to Shinjuku (which is the busiest train station in Tokyo and in the world).
One word of warning: the interior of the station, its passageways, tunnels, platforms, shopping, and routes to other areas can be daunting. You can easily get lost or walk for hours underground. Sometimes it can take over an hour to get to a particular platform or train line.
In this article we’ll cover only the Marunouchi side and the western surrounding area. See Part 2 for the east Yaesu side.
Nearly all lines in Tokyo lead one way or another to Tokyo Station. There are so many lines + platforms in the station it’s impossible to list them all here. Check out the JR Tokyo Station website or the TSC website for a complete list of lines + maps.
There are also dozens of sidewalk street-level portals in the area which lead down into the station. Don’t forget that when you are walking around the streets, below you the station is everywhere.
A station street portal.
There are 2 main streets running north-south on the west side of the station and both are interesting walks. There are endless hotels, shops, business, skyscrapers, and cafés everywhere. You can stroll around for hours and not see it all.
Overhead view facing north. The station with tracks runs north-south shown right of center. The Yurakucho area (see below) at the bottom, and the Imperial Palace is in the upper left corner. The 2 parks are to the center left and lower left. Out of view to the lower right is Ginza.The Marunouchi area is to the top, center.
The central Marunouchi (west) side of Tokyo Station. The Tokyo Station Hotelis in the center.When Tokyo Torch is completed, it will be just to the left of the skyscrapers shown above.
The south entrance on the west side. Note the turret architecture that was popular in Japan in the early 1900’s when the station was built.
Also inside the north entrance is a central information booth.
Facing west into the Marunouchi area at the south end of the station. There is a spectacular view of the entire area from the rooftop observation deck in the KITTE building on the left. If you head left (south) from here in a few blocks you will come to Yurakucho.Marunouchi Plaza (see next) is just on the right out of frame.
Outside the west side of the station is an astonishing large open air plaza called Marunouchi Plaza. It’s mostly just a walking + photo area but provides epic views of the station. There is also a small Metro subway portal here. If you head further west across the street there’s another long paved walkway leading to the Imperial Palace. In the fall the Ginko trees along this walkway turn a brilliant yellow. If you’re there in the fall, don’t miss it.
The epic vista of Marunouchi Plaza facing west. The Imperial Palace is straight ahead.
Just to the north and south of the 2nd walkway, there are 2 parks worth checking out around 35°40’57.67″ N 139°45’38.80″ E. To the south is the huge Kōkyogaien National Garden, and to the north a small concrete park with a large fountain called Wadakura Fountain Park. There are various other spectacular hotels around the area.
Ginko trees in the fall to the west of Tokyo Station.
At the south end of the plaza, there’s a large white bldg. called KITTE. It offers several levels of indoor shops, food, and a spectacular open-air rooftop garden affording epic views of the station. It’s a breathtaking view and not to be missed. Just enter on the north side and take the escalator up. Totally Drew has a nice vid of the deck in the vid section below. KITTE also has a nice tourist + business info office with people ready to assist you, should the need arise.
Also currently just across the street from KITTE is Tokyo’s largest Store, in a very retro-70’s style office building at street level.
2 blocks to the southeast is a huge museum called the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum. The entire 3-story building is done in early British/American colonial brick style and is a must-see. The museum mostly offers rotating collections of paintings + other artwork. There is also a very nice café + garden.
There is endless food at and around Tokyo Station. From ramen joints to deluxe upscale resturants to food courts, you won’t be able to decide. The station is full of food stalls, shops, a central store area with shops selling sweets, delicacies, and all kinds of meals. There are also food courts in the underground tunnels at various intervals.
Perhaps the biggest food extraveganza at Tokyo Station is the food tower in the DAIMARUdepato (department store), but that is on the Yaesu (east) side so we’ll save that for Part 2.
The central shops area inside the station which includes dessert places such as TokyoMe+.
There are also endless large complexes on the streets around the station such as M Lounge just to the northeast.
In approximately the center of the west side inside the station near the shops is the entrance to a large underground mall called 1st Avenue. The mall is vast and has all kinds of shops, although many of them such as the Pokemon and LEGO stores seem to be targeted at kids. Still worth a quick look.
There are several huge banks of coin lockers inside Tokyo Station. Some are along corridors between platforms and areas, but the largest banks are on the west side across from the central shops area, and near the entrances to the shinkansen areas. You can drop your stuff in them to lighten your load, or when traveling on trains, but it will cost you. Small lockers run about $8 USD/24 hours, large ones can cost as much as $14-$19/24 hours. They also accept Tokyo’s Suica IC payment card. To use them, drop your stuff in, then lock it and take the key if there is one. If not, use the touch-screen panel to select + secure your locker. You generally pay when you return to unlock and retrieve your items. Some lockers do require you to pay in advance. Lockers can also come in handy when transporting luggage coming/going to airports or other cities. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can find dirt cheap street lockers around Tokyo as low as $4/day such as this hidden bank in Ueno:
Just to the northwest is a small sister city area called Otemachi. It’s also part of the business district and in fact, is connected underground to Tokyo Station by long vast tunnels + walkways. You can walk in about 45 minutes, but the path underground is complex and requires you to traverse several different levels, shopping centers, stairs, escalators, and walkways. So be prepared. There are also lots of things to see and do around Otemachi including mixed-use complexes such as Otemachi One and Ootemori. But this leads us to the final topic for this post…
The Hanzomon Line is a Tokyo Metro subway which runs east-west near Tokyo Station and which can be accessed underground in both Tokyo Station and Otemachi Station. But this is where it gets tricky: The Hanzomon Line station is on the far side of Otemachi, but signs underground in Tokyo Station point your way there. The hard part is that many of the Hanzomon Line signs in Tokyo Station merely list the distance to the next part of the path you have to follow. Just when you think you’re there, you have to walk another 350 meters – multiple times. In fact, it’s several miles of walking on a convoluted path to get from Tokyo Station to the actual Hanzomon Line platform in Otemachi Station. So, if you decide to go this route, be prepared for serious walking. On the upside, there are a lot of interesting things along the way and lots of food courts, cafés and other places to stop and rest if need be. This walk is generally known among expats as Hanzomon Hell because it’s no quick trip even though the signs would lead you to believe otherwise. So, we’re just warning you: be prepared to walk. A lot.
Tokyo Station/Marunouchi is one of the most spectacular areas of Tokyo and is not to be missed at any cost. If you want to see just one area of Tokyo, this is it. It’s huge, elegant, spotless, awe-inspiring, and astonishing. It’s an experience you’re not likely to forget in your lifetime. A must-see.
In Part 2, we’ll cover the eastern, more lively, Yaesu side of the station.
Another view of the KITTE building from the north.
To the northwest side of the plaza there are several large multi-use/shopping centers. Very upscale.
The JR luggage forwarding/pickup office just inside the northwest entrance. You can have your luggage forwarded from airports/hotels for a fee and pick it up here. And vice-versa when leaving.The tourist info office is on the opposite side behind the camera.There are other luggage services around the station such as Sagawa Express.
Inside the newly rennovated northwest entrance. The main gate entrance is on the right, and the Yaesu side passage is ahead.
One of the shinkansen entrances.
The vastness around Marunouchi that is corporate Japan.
There are plenty of interesting things to see and do around Otemachi just a few blocks from Tokyo Station as well.
There are several street-level area maps such as this one in various places outside the station.
Shibuya is known as a fashion + nightlife area among the young in Tokyo. One of the most dazzling + vibrant areas in Tokyo, Shibuya is full of life. There are an endless variety of things to do here. The area is surprisingly compact and can easily be walked in a day or night, but not in only 1 day if you want to enjoy everything it has to offer.
The main rail transit point is Shibuya Station – which intersects several major rail lines and 3 Tokyo Metro Subway Lines: The Ginza, Hanzomon, and Fukutoshin Lines. In fact, it’s the western terminus for the Ginza and Hanzomon lines, and the eastern terminus for the Fukutoshin line. The station is being vastly remodeled as part of Neo-Shibuya – a complete redevelopment of the entire area not expected to be completed until 2027. Redevelopment is well underway and several new large complexes are already complete, which we will discuss below.
Shibuya Station extends 3 floors below ground as well with a huge shopping mall and restuarants inside as well. There is also a large east-west passage underground known as Shibuya Chikamichi.
There are 1/2 a dozen exits from the station, but the most popular exit is the Hachiko Square exit on the west side as it leads directly to Shibuya Crossing.
There is also another station underground a few blocks to the west around 35°39’29.78″ N 139°41’56.37″ E called KEIO Shibuya Station on the Keio Inogashira Line. KEIO is a big depato (department store) chain in Japan and they often locate rail stations near their stores.
Shibuya is just south of Harajuku/Omotesando just to the north. In fact, you can walk there in just a few minutes from Harajuku Station by taking the street south from YoyogiNational Gymnasium next to Harajuku Station. The street brings you right into the central Shibuya Crossing – one of the most iconic and filmed city locations in Tokyo.
Oddly, the word Harajuku means “Original lodgings“, whereas Shinjuku just to the north means “New Lodgings“. The etymology of both words is unclear, but undoubtedly are related to the Edo Period when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Edo (present-day Tokyo).
Facing north. Shibuya Crossing is in the top center, Shibuya 109 just to the left of that up the street, and Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the large skyscrapers off to the right. If you follow the central north street from the Crossing, you will arrive at the next town to the north – Harajuku. Shibuya Mark City is the tall complex on the center left which includes a very nice deluxe hotel.The hidden backstreets are just up the small street to the left next to the building in the upper center in this photo.
Another view of Shibuya Crossing – this time from the northwest facing southeast. The crossing is in the middle center. Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuya are the two large skyscrapers in the top center. (Hikarie or Hikari means “light” in Japanese). If you head left (east) down the main street, you will come to the more business-oriented side of Shibuya, which also has some nice restuarants + shops on the street level worth checking out.
4 Main Avenues
There are 4 main avenues around the center of Shibuya: 1) the east-west street with the business area on the east side and Shibuya 109 on the west side, 2) the north-south street running from the central Crossing up to Harajuku, 3) the area south of the station, and 4) the hidden north backstreets to the northwest of the square.
You can spend hours exploring each so it’s best to plan to spend an entire day + an entire night in the area if possible. If you really want to see everything in-depth, plan on 2 days.
Just to the west of the JR station exit is the world-famous Hachiko Square area. A small courtyard just outside the station, it’s a popular meeting spot for young people. The square is named after the dog Hachiko who famously waited for his late master every day at the station for 9 years. The square is the gateway to central Shibuya and Shibuya Crossing is just to the north of it.
Facing east at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the right.Shibuya Scramble Square and Hikarie Shibuyaare the 2 large skyscrapers shown on the right.
Facing south at Shibuya Crossing. The JR Shibuya Station entrance is right next to Hachiko Square shown on the left.This entire section including the station is slated for a mega-renovation to be completed by 2027. The redevelopment will change the face of Shibuya forever.
Shibuya Crossing, facing north. Shibuya 109 is down the street to the left. Hachiko Square is behind the camera. The small sidestreet in the center of the photo leads to an endless array of backstreets as well as to the Sakura Currency Exchange (explained below).Heading north from the TSUTAYA on the right leads to Harajuku.Described later are backstreets, some of which are reachable by following the small entrance under the Forever 21 sign straight ahead.
Another view of Shibuya Crossing facing south. Hachiko Square is straight ahead. Shibuya Scramble Square is the tall skyscraper on the left. As of 2021 the white Tokyu bldg. ahead is slated to be torn down for Shibuya’s redevelopment.
Southwest corner at the Crossing. The street to the right (west) is full of interesting shops, cafés, and restaurants.Shibuya 109 is also to the right.Down at the end of this street is the very nice + afforable APA Hotel Shibuya.The tall bldg. in the back is the Shibuya Mark City Hotel.The bldg. shown here is a “food tower” or food palace – a throwback to 1950’s-style dining. These buildings are all over Tokyo and offer all sorts of different culinary experiences.The L’Occitane Café on the first 3 floors is an upscale experience.
Around 35°39’27.42″ N 139°42’09.26″ E there are 2 huge new skyscraper developments in Shibuya: Shibuya Scramble Square (SSS) + Hikarie Shibuya. Hikarie Shibuya is on the east, which opened in 2012 and which has a big office tower, a shopping mall, a mezzanine level, a museum, and lots of restaurants. In its basement are routes into the new Shibuya Station including the Ginza Metro line. There are some vids we shot below looking down on Shibuya from the Mezzanine Level. This place is a must-see even if it’s just to walk around.
Also as part of the Neo-Shibuya development, just across the street to the west is the brand new Shibuya Scramble Square complex which opened in Nov. 2019. It also has a mall, restaurants, offices, and lots of shops + passages into the subways. But its most interesting + dazzling feature is a rooftop observatory described next. There is also a floor guide on their website.
On the top of SSS is a huge open-air rooftop observatory, Shibuya Sky. It’s not to be missed for anything. Only a glass wall separates you and a 360-degree view of all of Tokyo. A spectacular must-see. Adult tickets are a little spendy @ around $18/person, but it’s well worth it for an experience you’ll never forget.
Shibuya Mark City is a large mall + hotel just to the west of Shibuya Station. There are loads of great restaurants + cafés inside. It’s just across the street from Hachiko Square so be sure to check it out. There are also a bunch of interesting side streets around the complex worth exploring as well.
Just up the street to the west of Hachiko Square is a complex called Shibuya 109. It’s mostly just shops + restaurants, but it’s worth a look. At the corner of Shibuya 109 the street splits in two – you can head north (right) into some more shopping, the MEGA Don Quijote (see below), and eventually pass the Hotel koé Tokyo – which is a little spendy, but very nice if you plan to stay in the area.
Alternatively you can head up the street on the left (west) side of the corner, which in our opinion is more interesting. At the end of this street is APA Hotel Shibuya which is a really good value. There are also a lot of really good cafés including Café Legatoon this street. The area is tree-lined and makes for a very enjoyable walk up and back. Definitely a must-see.
No trip to Japan would be complete without an electronics store stop and Shibuya doesn’t disappoint. Just to the west of the L’Occitane Café mentioned above is Shibuya’s large Bic Camera – one of the biggest electronics shops in Tokyo. There is also a smaller Bic Camera Annex 2 blocks to the east around 35°39’35.03″ N 139°42’07.47″ E (on the corner just before the turn north to Shibuya Miyashita Park mentioned below).
Bic CameraAnnex is just out of frame to the right 2 blocks to the east of the Crossing. This photo is facing back west towards the Crossing. The tall tower in the distance is Shibuya Mark City Hotel.Shibuya Station is ahead on the left.There’s a video of this scene at the end of the page.
If you head a few blocks north of Shibuya 109 up the street to the right side, you’ll come to another huge Tokyu Depato (department store) around 35°39’39.30″ N 139°41’48.70″ E. Shibuya 109 is actually owned by Tokyu also. The name “109” is actually a Japanese play on words because To-kyu sounds a bit like the Japanese numbers for ten and nine.There is also a huge H+M mall on the right just before it.There are all kinds of fascinating tiny backstreets and alleys around the area. You can spend hours exploring.
Internet Cafés + Shibuya Maruyamacho
Along this route you’ll also pass the INET internet café + Karaoké lounge. If you’re looking for a really dirt cheap place to stay in Shibuya, INET might work, but be prepared for cigarette smoke, noise, and lots of other people – the place offers a small cubicle with a bed, chair, tiny desk, and PC for around $24/night. But if you’re in need of a really cheap place, or need a quick place to crash, INET might work. Shibuya has many such internet cafés – search the web for the best picks.
Also, just to the north (left) of INET there’s a very interesting side street called Shibuya Maruyamacho worth checking out (see vid below).
Also on this street a little further west is the very nice Café Legato hidden away on the 3rd floor of this bldg. on the left:
Also in the vicinity is this very large 2-story Excelsior Café.
Looking back east towards the Crossing from the steps of Shibuya 109. There is plenty to see + do on this street too.Just up the street behind the camera is Shibuya’s MEGA Don Quijote discount store.There is another small food palace and Big Echo Karaoké place in the building on the left.
1 block to the northeast of the Crossing is the newly-opened Shibuya Miyashita Park. It’s a very nice multi-level food, shopping, and entertainment complex. The roof has a volleyball court + other stuff to do. Definitely check it out. To get there head east from the Crossing for 2 blocks, then turn left (north) and it will be on your left.
There are endless backstreets to explore in Shibuya. The most interesting are behind the Q-Front bldg. with the TSUTAYA in it shown above center-right. Head up the small street just to the left of the bldg., then head north, west, or down any other side street. There is an entire web of interesting streets in this are as shown below:
In Dec-Jan, Shibuya has dozens of spectacular winter illuminations all over the city. The most impressive one is just north of Shibuya Crossing in a small park just to the south of Yoyogi National Gymnasium. If you’re there in the winter, check them out – it’s well worth it.
A few blocks to the south of the Crossing around 35°39’19.44″ N 139°41’59.49″ E is the Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium – which has a number of traditional arts plus a very nice large planetarium. Definitely worth checking out.
There are lots of great hotels in Shibuya, some of them quite reasonable. It’s best to go during off-peak season for the best rates – try to avoid spring as that is when the demand is highest. We recommend checking out agoda.com for hotel/travel searches.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel, there is the Shibuya Mark City mentioned above, and around 35°39’22.11″ N 139°41’58.31″ E there is the huge Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel which runs around $200/night. The APA Hotel Shibuya mentioned above is a much more affordable and is also very nice. There is also the very nice sequence MIYASHITA PARK for around $100/night.
If you’re willing to head about 1/2 mile south of the Crossing, there is also the very popular MUSTARD HOTEL which has slightly more reasonable rates.
Food options in Shibuya are endless. Restuarants, noodle shops, cafés, and specialty shops are everywhere. There is something to fit every taste and budget. From deluxe restaurants on the upper floors of hotels and skycrapers to hole-in-the-wall noodle shops there is something for everyone.
Shibuya Mark City has a huge restaurant court on its upper floors. To get there, head into the east side entrance to the west of Hachiko Square, then take the escalator up. There are dozens of restaurants everywhere. Shibuya 109 and Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya also have lots of great restaurants. See their websites for floor guides with detailed lists of places to eat.
Also just around the same area at 35°39’46.02″ N 139°42’09.03″ E is a small courtyard called Shibuyacast. This place often holds outdoor gatherings at night with lots of outdoor food stalls and vendors. There are also shops and a small microbrewery called Brewdog. Worth a look:
Tower Records Café
Around 35°39’42.97″ N 139°42’03.22″ E there is a Tower Reccords store (a CD chain that went out of business in the US long ago), and it has a surprisingly good café on the upper floors.
The Café Legato mentioned above is also quite good and has a a full restaurant.
If you venture into the east side of Shibuya, there are several major streets lined with great places to eat.
“Cohee” is the Japanese word for coffee. If you head up the east side street north like you’re going to Harajuku, you’ll come to a big MODI shopping complex. Inside is a great café called Sarutahiko Cohee. If you’re a coffee lover, it’s a must-see.
If you’re in the mood for a quick fast food burger, check out MOS Burger Shibuya around 35°39’32.45″ N 139°41’52.03″ E. It’s just west of the UNIQLO store on the street heading up west from Shibuya 109:
Around 35°40’23.71″ N 139°42’45.76″ E is a really nice restaurant called DEN Shibuya. Check it out – it’s really nice.
Sakura –The Hidden Currency Exchange
If you head north through the Crossing and go up the backstreet just to the left of the TSUTAYA record shop, in a few blocks around 35°39’36.75″ N 139°41’56.48″ E you’ll come to this tiny elevator right on the street which leads to the Sakura Currency Exchange on the 4th floor. Rates at this exchange are much better than at airports or banks in Japan. You’ll need to show your passport and they will scan it in order to make the transaction. Fees here are low so it’s worth a stop if you need to exchange money.
On the way north to Sakura Exchange, which is just on the left after the Wendy’s.
Shibuya E-Space Tower
If you continue up the street to the west from the Crossing, around 35°39’26.58″ N 139°41’44.64″ E you’ll come to a building called Shibuya E-Space Tower. This building has some nice restaurants on the top floors, but it also has a nice glass elevator which faces the street. You can get spectacular views of Shibuya from the elevator on the way to the top. It also happens to have one of the coolest Kobans (police boxes) in all of Tokyo:
View from the E-Space Tower elevator.
Also nearby is the one-of-a-kind World Liquor System.Who says the Japanese don’t have a sense of humor?
Meguro Sky Garden
If you’re up for walking about a mile southwest of Shibuya, there is the spectacular Meguro Sky Garden – a huge lush garden built on top of a round freeway interchange. You can sit in the garden and relax + watch the clouds go by or enjoy the immaculately groomed landscape. There is also a subway station nearby so check the routes + maps. It’s well worth a quick visit if you have the time.
Well, that’s it. Shibuya is a vibrant + exciting area of Tokyo and you won’t want to miss it. You can easily spend a few days here so if you want to see it in-depth, stay at one of the good reasonable hotels in the area and spend a couple of days here. It’s worth the time.
On the JR Yamanote platform at Shibuya Station.
Inside a JR Yamanote Line car.
This walkway to the south of Shibuya Mark City leads towards the west of Shibuya Crossing and to Shibuya 109. Just on the left is an excellent hamburger joint.
You can actually eat quite cheap+ healthy in Tokyo by utilizing Don Quijote specials such as these. Great meals for a few dollars.In this case only about $2 USD. The grocery areas are usually hidden away in the basements of most Don Quijotes.
Another view of Hikarie Shibuya, facing east. The walkway heads west into Shibuya Scramble Square across the street.The station is to the left, although you can also get to it from inside in the basement.
Shibuya Scramble Crossing Live Camera shows a cool 24/7 view of the Crossing.
Ground-level view of the Crossing facing north. Take the street ahead to get to Harajuku.
Hachiko Square is just across the street to the east.
There are 2 Bic Cameras in Shibuya – one just to the west of the Crossing, and the one shown here 1 block to the east on the northwest corner.
A birdseye view of Neo-Shibuya from Hikarie Shibuya to the east. This vid also shows the major redevelopment area south of the station as well as the Crossing at night.
View from the east side of Shibuya looking back towards the Crossing.There’s plenty to see + do on this street as well.Be prepared to walk for hours.
Down an east-side street. Wait for the roar of the train as it rushes by in a flash.
A few blocks up the street to the west of the Crossing. There are all kinds of great restaurants + cafés on this street. APA Hotel Shibuya is just at the end of the street to the west (behind the camera).
Sun Road is another hotel in Shibuya.
Inside the busy Starbucks just at the north end of the Crossing. On the 1st floor is a very nice TATSUYA record shop. The view from the window here of the Crossing is spectacular.
This vid starts 1 block west of the Crossing. The Bic Camera ANNEX is straight ahead in this thumbnail. Turn right here for Shibuya Miyashita Park.
Check out this very cool History of Shibuya Station.
Jimbocho is a small town in north central Tokyo about 1/2 a mile to the north of the Imperial Palace and the Otemachi area. It’s known as Tokyo’s book town. But it also has a wide variety of sports + music shops – especially for skiing and snowboarding. You can spend a whole day strolling east-west on Yasukuni-Dori Ave (Rt. 403). checking out the shops. There are endless bookstores in the area with every kind of book imaginable.
Central Jimbocho facing north. Yasukuni-Dori runs east-west in sort of an inverted arc shown here running throught the center of town. This street is lined with endless sports/book/music shops, cafés, and restaurants. To the north is Ochanomizu, to the east (right) is Akihabara and Kanda, and to the south is Otemachi and the Imperial Palace.Tokyo Dome City is to the northwest, out of frame.
Extended view facing north. Jimbocho is in the center, Akihabara on the right, TDC at the upper-left, and Imperial Palace to the south, just out of view.
The central + west side of Jimbocho is better described in our Kanda Superguide. We’ll detail just the basic area here. Essentially Yasukuni-Dori (Rt. 403) runs east-west in an arc through the center of town.
There are endless backstreets + streets full of book stores. Most of the major sporting + music shops are along Yasukuni-Dori. There are dozens of interesting guitar shops along the way.
The Hidden Pedestrian Side Street
At around 35°41’43.31″ N 139°45’39.23″ E – just across from a Xerbio Sportsstore and right next to an ABC-Mart shoe store is the entrance to a charming little side street off-limits to vehicle traffic. There are dozens of nice restaurants + cafés and other shops up + down this street. If you walk this street a few blocks to the west and then turn right on Rt. 301 (Hakusan-Dori) it will take you right into TDC. Turning left on the main street next to ABC instead of taking the side street will lead you to glitch Coffee (discussed next). If you continue walking far enough south past glitch Coffee it will take you to the Imperial Palace and Otemachi.
At around 35°41’37.52″ N 139°45’40.50″ E just to the south of Yasukuni Dori is glitch Coffee. The shop is excellent, but’s in a run-down non-descript old office bldg. with only a sign in the window. Don’t let the appearance fool you – it’s worth a trip. See our full review.
At around 35°41’32.82″ N 139°45’48.60″ E just to the south a few blocks off Yasukuni-Dori and several blocks east of glitch is the Yonemoto Coffee Shop – it’s on a corner and a very nice place to rest + get a brew. It’s popular with early-morning local workers. There is a larger main shop by the same company east of Ginza near Tsukiji.
Yonemoto Coffee Shop – just a few blocks east of glitch.
If you walk a mile or so west on Yasukuni-Dori, then turn north (left) onto Rt. 405 (Sotobori-Dori), you’ll come to the sister city of Ochanomizu where there is a spectacular complex called WATERRAS around 35°41’50.39″ N 139°46’03.98″ E. There is also a very nice organic Olympic grocery in the basement of WATERRAS. If you’re up for a bit of a walk, WATERRAS is worth the quick tirp.
Just to the west of WATERRAS 2 blocks is a Greek Orthodox church with spectacular Russian architecture called Holy Ressurection Cathedral.
North to Ueno, east to Akihabara.
If you head north of WATERRAS and cross the Kanda River, then head onto Rt. 452north for about 1 mile you will come to the famous Tokyo district of Ueno.
You can also cross the Kanda River, then head east a few blocks, then north a few blocks again to Akihabara which is only a few miles to the northeast.
Facing west on Yasukuni-Dori.Note the sidewalk Metro portal on the right.
Head north off Yasukuni-Dori here for WATERRAS.
Jimbocho is a nice little town worth a stroll. It’s usually low-tourist, and low-crowd, which makes it easy. It’s well worth a quick trip or day trip from any of the other local major areas such as Otemachi, Akihabara, or TDC. Check it out.