Ingrained in our minds through movies, documentaries and countless Instagram shots alike, the Shibuya Crossing istheiconic image of Tokyo! The 4-way intersection is the epitome of the city’s perfect harmony of fastidious organisation and total chaos as it cuts through one of Tokyo’s most hectic shopping districts.
As the lights turn red, a swarm of 3,000 bodies mob the streets under the flashing of enticing advertisements and choruses of indistinguishable noises! The question isn’t whether or not you want to visit, but rather where’s the best place to see it from?
As you’ve come all this way, you’ll want the perfect vantage point to observe the madness in all its glory, but where’s the best place to go? Not to worry, we have things covered! Here are 7 of the best spots to see the Shibuya Crossing for yourself!
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We start off with one of the newest options on the list but by far one of the very best! Of the many gigantic department stores that surround the crossing, the tall, cylindrical shopping complex of MAGNET by Shibuya 109 is one of the most iconic. Placed right on the very top is Mag’s Park, a roof terrace that provides a picture-perfect vantage point that overlooks the crossing!
It can be a little tricky finding your way to the terrace. First off, take the elevator to the top floor. Head past Fat Burger, and head into The Gyorubi all the way to the end until you see a set of steel doors which should be marked Mag’s Park: Shibuya Crossing View. Pass through the door and take the stairs to the roof. Once on the terrace, head to the back where you’ll have to pay your fee to enter the Crossing View.
As it’s directly on the corner of the intersection and just the right height above it, you couldn’t ask for a more perfect view. If you have time for one spot, this has to be it!
Open: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Shibuya Sky (Shibuya Scramble Square)
To feed eager tourists’ demands of an ideal view of the crossing, yet another new viewing platform opened up in 2019 on top of one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city!
Aptly named Shibuya Scramble Square, the gigantic complex has a rooftop observation deck named Shibuya Sky. Due to the building’s monstrous size, not only does it give a perfect bird’s eye of Shibuya Crossing, but also the rest of Tokyo! You might even be able to spot Mt. Fuji on a clear day!
Though admittedly the open-air lookout isn’t quite as up-close and personal as the views of Mag’s Park, it’s the inclusion of the rest of the city in its view which makes it so worthwhile!
Fee: ¥2,000 (Adults), ¥1,600 (Students), ¥1,000 (Elementary Students), ¥600 (Children from three to five), Free (Under two)
Open: 9 am – 11 pm
Starbucks (Shibuya Tsutaya)
One of the most iconic spots to see Shibuya Crossing has been here long before any other and was even included in a movie or two! Not only that, but Starbucks Shibuya Tsutaya branch is also the busiest Starbucks store in the world!
What it’s most known for however are the enormous plate-glass windows that give a spectacular open access view of the crossing! It’s truly a wonderful spot to sit back and enjoy the organised chaos with a hot cup of coffee!
There’s just one problem, EVERYONE visiting Tokyo has the same idea, meaning that window seats at this branch are some of the hottest properties anywhere in the world! Though it’s still possible to take standing photographs, don’t get your hopes up that you’ll be able to sit down.
Open: 6:30 am – 4:00 am (the next day)
A complete itinerary for the cultural trendsetting capital of Tokyo over four days!
If you prefer to save yourself some money, or simply want a brief passing glance at Shibuya Crossing, then you can find it at Shibuya Station. A large walk-through that passes from JR Shibuya Station to the department store Shibuya Mark City provides a great up-close and personal view of the Crossing in action!
Better yet, it’s the perfect angle to view the crossing with the beautiful, seizure-inducing backdrop behind it!
That being said, it’s not the ideal spot to view the crossing itself, and worst of all the windows are lined with mesh, which can make photographs a little bit tricky! Yet if you just want to tick Shibuya Crossing off your list and continue with your day, then this is the perfect place to see it!
Another relatively new option is the newly renovated L’OCCITANE Café. Much like Starbucks, the café has wide-open plate-glass windows on its 2nd and 3rd floor which overlook the Crossing and provides the perfect setting to stop off for a bit of lunch or dinner!
Despite that, the café faces the same issue as Starbucks; window seats are hotly contested and rarely available! Not only that but the view is slightly more obstructed compared to others on the list. Sadly, you just won’t be able to get that perfect shot!
Open: 10 am – 11 pm
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu
A similar option if you’re looking for dinner with a view is the selection of restaurants found inside the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. Inside the hotel’s eateries provide excellent window seats with a perfect bird’s eye view of the Crossing and the rest of Tokyo!
As for the cuisine itself, there are a few options available. They include Shunsai, a Japanese restaurant on the 25th floor, Estacion Café on the 5th floor and A Bientot, a French Restaurant also on the 25th floor.
However, this should only be a last option. For one thing, it’s very unlikely you’ll get a good seat and it’s incredibly expensive for the experience! For example, in Shunsai you’ll be paying a minimum of ¥2,851 for breakfast and lunch and upwards of ¥6,500 for dinner!
As a last resort you could always get yourself a room with a view at the hotel itself…but expect to be broke by the end of it!
Open: 7 am – 10:30 am, 12 am – 3 pm, 5:30 pm – 9 pm
In Shibuya Crossing Itself
Last but certainly not least, one of the absolute best ways to experience the madness of Shibuya Crossing is by setting foot in it yourself! Though a bird’s eye view should definitely be included in your itinerary, standing and observing the chaos at close range is also a must!
There are plenty of points along the crosswalks that allow you to get a look across the intersection. And of course, it goes without saying that you should experience being a part of the horde yourself!
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A Welsh university drop-out on a mission to travel the world for as little money as possible. My adventures have taken me through over 30 countries across Europe, Asia and Oceania, and the list keeps on growing! From classic backpacking to working and volunteering, I have found all sorts of ways to maintain a life on the road.