Shibuya Superguide

Name: Shibuya

Kind: Town

Free Wifi: Yes

Location: 35°39’33.62″ N 139°42’03.08″ E

Stations: Shibuya Station, Ginza Line, Hanzomon Line, Fukutoshin Line, Keio Shibuya Station

Worth it? Do not miss it.

Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Updated 6/25/2021

©2019-2021 tenmintokyo.com

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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.

Be sure to check out the offical redevelopment site Hello Neo-Shibuya.

Also be sure to check out the Shibuya City Official site.

Access

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.

You may also take the JR Yamanote Line to Shibuya Station and exit the gate to the west into Hachiko Square. There is also another line at the station called the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line which runs south to Yokohama.

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 Yoyogi National 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).

Also see our other pages about most of the other stops on the Hanzomon Line.

Area Layout

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.

Hachiko Square

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.

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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 Shibuya are the 2 large skyscrapers shown on the right.

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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.

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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.

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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.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

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.

Shibuya Scramble Square + Hikarie Shibuya

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.

Shibuya Sky

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.

To get to either development, head a block east from Hachiko Square, then south 1 block. You can also get to the buildings from inside the station.
You can find out more about the area and the redevelopment plan over on the excellent https://www.shibuyastation.com/shibuya-station-area-redevelopment-plan/ site.

Shibuya Sky

Entrance to Shibuya Sky.

Shibuya STREAM

On the back (south) side of SSS is a cool little multiuse area called Shibuya STREAM. The area has lots of food + shopping + is a nice place to stroll.

You can also get to it from street level across from Shibuya Hikarie, or from the elevated walkway at the intersection just south. If you go to SSS, be sure to check out Shibuya STREAM.

Shibuya STREAM on the backside of SSS.

Shibuya STREAM is quite extensive and has lots of food choices. There’s a Dean + Deluca on the 2nd floor.

Shibuya Mark City

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.

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Shibuya Mark City is just across the street to the west from Hachiko Square.

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Entrance to Shibuya Mark City.

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Looking back east towards the Shibuya Mark City Hotel from a few blocks away.

Shibuya 109

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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 Legato on this street. The area is tree-lined and makes for a very enjoyable walk up and back. Definitely a must-see.

Bic Camera

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).

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The main Bic Camera facing east.

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Bic Camera Annex 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.

Giant Tokyu

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).

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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:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Also in the vicinity is this very large 2-story Excelsior Café.

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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.

MEGA Don Quijote just north of Shibuya 109.

Also further north on this street you’ll pass a great bike shop called Y’s Road (there are many of them in Tokyo). They mostly sell higher-end performance bikes, but you can sometimes find bargains.

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Shibuya Miyashita Park

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.

See our full post on SMP here.

Backstreets

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:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Winter Illuminations

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.

Shibuya Cultural Center + Planetarium

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.

Hotels

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

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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.

GEMS Food Tower

Just north of Shibuya Miyashita Park on the east side of the street around 35°39’48.87″ N 139°42’11.39″ E there is a huge food palace called GEMS Jingumae Food Tower. It has 8-9 floors of all kinds of stuff. Definitely check it out. Don’t forget that Shibuya Miyashita Park itself also has lots of great restaurants.

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Shibuyacast

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:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

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.

Legato Café

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.

Sarutahiko Cohee

“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.

MOS Burger Shibuya

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:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Toki Seven Tea

On the way to Sakura Currency Exchange (shown below) be sure to stop and check out the “boba tea” shop Toki Seven Tea:

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DEN Shibuya

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

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Watch for this elevator on the street on the left.

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 a 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.

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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:

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©2019 tenmintokyo.com

View from the E-Space Tower elevator.

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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.

Conclusion

Well, that’s it. Shibuya is a vibrant + exciting area of Tokyo and you don’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.

Enjoy!

Additional Photos

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On the JR Yamanote platform at Shibuya Station.

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Inside a JR Yamanote Line car.

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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.

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Inside Shibuya Mark City.

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The entrance to Hakkendana next to INET.

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Shibuya’s hidden side streets offer adventure at every turn.

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Heading north on the north-south street which leads to Harajuku. A must-see walk. There are also loads of good cafés inside the MODI building.

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MEGA Don Quijote up to the north past Shibuya 109.

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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.

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Don Quijotes also have surprisingly good produce.

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One of many backstreets just northwest of the Crossing. You can spend hours and even days exploring.

Entrance to Shibuya STREAM.

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.

The vastness that is Tokyo.

More photos from Shibuya Sky:

View looking north into Shinjuku from Shibuya Sky.

LINKS

Shibuya City Official

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibuya

Metro Ginza Line

Metro Hanzomon Line

Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line – Wikipedia

Shibuya Station – Wikipedia

Hanzomon Line Posts

Keio Shibuya Station

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/swi/

Fukutoshin Line

Shibuya Station – Shibuya Transportation Guide

Shibuya Area Overview

Sightseeing in Shibuya – Walking the Big Two Part 1

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/

https://helloneoshibuya.jp/swi/

Tokyo City Guide: Shibuya

THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Shibuya – Tripadvisor

Shibuya Crossing

SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE

Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Hikarie

Shibuya Mark City

Shibuya 109

MIYASHITA PARK 公式ウェブサイト

Shibuya Cultural Center

Sarutahiko Cohee

Hachiko

HELLO neo SHIBUYA | b’s mono-log

shibuya | Flickr

Mega Don Quijote, Shibuya – Japan’s Largest Discount Goods Store

Big Echo

hotel koé, Shibuya

Meguro Sky Garden

Shibuya-kei

VIDS

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5VOTx1YfAg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMk-Le01o_w&feature=emb_logo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOTCGZd3qEo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoWm9fAaEl4