Shibuya Guide: How to Explore the Most Tokyo’s Trendiest Area

Shibuya is a trendy, hip, and fun-loving ward in Tokyo that never seems to sleep. From shopping and eating gluten-free ramen to seeing an upcoming artist live, there is always something to do. That’s why we have this Shibuya Guide to make sure you have a wonderful experience here.

Compared to other shopping districts in Tokyo, Shibuya is relatively new. A lot of the highrise buildings have been built over the past few decades — and the developments aren’t done as of today.

As the main entertainment hub in Tokyo for young people and foreigners, the city has come so far since its early beginnings. Shibuya is also known for being both accessible and affordable.

When it comes to shopping, compared to the likes of Ginza which is known for its luxury brands, Shibuya has much more variety. You still have the luxury brands, but there are also much more affordable and lesser well-known clothing stores in between. 

This is a neighborhood guide to Shibuya. We’re here to cover the ward, look at the station, and the different districts that make up Shibuya, and explore how to stay in the loop for all the festivities. 

Besides fun and entertainment, Shibuya is also a great place to learn Japanese! Speaking of which, Coto Academy is going to open our fourth school in Shibuya this summer of 2023! Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, we invite you to stay tuned for more details on our upcoming classes and events!

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Navigating the Shibuya Station

At the heart of Shibuya is the Shibuya Station, infamous for begin maze-like and crowded. Here, three major train corporations own lines that run through Shibuya station: JR, short for Japan Rail, Keio, and Tokyu

Overall, there are five entrances and exits. If you exit through the Hachiko Gate, you can directly step out into the Shibuya Crossing and see Hachiko Statue. Fair warning, though — it’s very crowded!

When navigating this station, it is important to note that transferring from one corporation to another means you have to first leave the ticket gate and enter another.

However, if you are just changing trains within the same corporation, then quite often you don’t need to go through a ticket gate at all. Here is a breakdown of the different lines and what direction they go in: 

  • JR (Japan Rail): Four JR lines run through Shibuya station.
    • The Yamanote line loops around Tokyo hitting major stations such as Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Tokyo and Shinagawa.
    • Next, we have the Saikyo line that goes towards Saitama in the north.
    • The Shonan-Shinjuku line goes to the Shonan coast and Kanagawa.
    • The Narita Express can take you to the airport.
  • The Keio Inokashira line can take you to Shimokitazawa and Kichijōji.
  • The Denentoshi line which goes into Kanagawa,
  • The Hanzomon line, which is a run-on from the Denentoshi line and goes northeast into Tokyo, towards Otemachi station which is near Tokyo station.
  • The Tokyu Toyoko line for Daikanyama, Naka-Meguro and Yokohama.
  • The Ginza line from Shibuya can take you towards Ginza and also Asakusa.
  • Finally, we have the Fukutoshin line which stretches to the northwest of Tokyo

Tip: The train station can be overwhelming at times as there are so many lines and even more exits. If you are coming from a Tokyu train line, one rule of thumb to remember is how to find your way to Hachiko, the dog statue which is right next to scramble square. You need to just look for exit 8 and an easy way to remember this is eight in Japanese is hachi and so follow hachi (8) to get to Hachiko.

Check out: How to Get Around Japan with Public Transportation

Downtown Shibuya – Udagawacho 


When people think of downtown Shibuya, it is often the streets of Udagawacho (宇田川町) that come to mind. This is where you can find the iconic Scramble Square, the Hachiko Statue, and an array of large department stores.

One of the main characteristics of Udagawacho is the pedestrian-only street known, as Shibuya Center Gai or Basketball Street, which is just across the road from the Hachiko statue. This street is lined with restaurants, both new and old, fashion and cosmetic shops, and game arcades. 

Udagawacho is also home to Parco, Loft, and a Mega Don Quijote. Parco is a flagship department store with big brands such as Dior, Gucci, and Dr. Martens. Like many department stores, food can be found underground with options such as sushi, ramen, and even a vegan izakaya. Loft, on the other hand, is a lifestyle-orientated store that has an abundance of cute stationery. 

The store in Shibuya is one of the largest and caters to tourists so it is a perfect place to shop for omiyage (souvenirs). The Mega Don Quijote is a great place to grab a bargain as products are sold at a discounted price.

Again this Mega Don Quijote has an excellent range of omiyage as it is centered in a popular tourist destination. 

If you want to explore other cool neighborhoods in Tokyo besides Shibuya, check out this article!

Exploring Dogenzaka: The Love Hotel Hill 

If you use Shibuya 109 as your landmark, Dogenzaka Street can be found to the left with Bunkamura Street on the right. This area has a cinema and some clothing stores such as Uniqlo.

However, as its nickname “love hotel hill” might suggest, this district is famous for its love hotels. 

Originally, love hotels in Japan came about for sex workers to offer their services in a safer environment, but later became popular with the general public as they offered more privacy than home as Japanese apartment walls tend to be thin.

This particular area in Shibuya saw a boom in the industry. Due to the Shibuya City Love Hotel Architecture Regulation Ordinance enacted in 2006, no more love hotels were allowed to be built as there was a negative connotation associated with the industry — but the hotels that were already there were allowed to stay.


For them to stay in business, they have to be careful with their marketing and look for ways to catch the eyes of passersby. Hence, a trend began: themed love hotels!

At first, one love hotel was built in the shape of a castle called the Meguro Emperor. From there more outlandish themes have been created.

A walk around Dogenzaka and you can find a sweets-themed hotel offering pick and mix with giant plastic donuts stuck to the walls, whilst others offer more kawaii or elegant exteriors.

Around the Dogenzaka area, these love hotels are hard to miss with their flashy, neon lights offering options to “rest” or “stay” depending on whether you stay just a few hours or overnight.

Aside from love hotels, Dogenzaka boasts a thriving nightlife scene with nightclubs and live music just a three-minute walk away from the station. 


Centered around Kamiyamacho, a popular shopping street, Oku-Shibuya is the calm and quiet side of Shibuya. It’s certainly different. compared to the likes of Center Gai and Dogenzaka.

Here, you can find pretty cafes, laid-back restaurants, and independent vendors. Here’s a tip to go to Oku-Shibuya: use Shibuya 109 as your landmark, instead of going left to Dogenzaka, the road to the right, Bunkamura Street.

It will take you straight to Oku-Shibuya and lead you to Yoyogi Park. Yoyogi Park is particularly famous for their cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.

This part of Shibuya is a bit further from the station and also accessible from Yoyogi park station. Cafes around this part of the neighborhood have sofas to lounge in, artisan coffee, and lots of vegan options.

Some of the restaurants even allow dogs! It’s also close to Dog Heart Cafe, where you can cuddle with poodles and take them for a walk in Yoyogi Park. (Check out other cool themed cafes in Tokyo here)!


Dining Out in Shibuya

As the upcoming, constantly developing, trendy area of Tokyo, Shibuya has a variety of choices when it comes to dining out — from popular American chains such as the TEXMEX Factory, TGI Fridays, and Taco Bell, to vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants such as Izakaya Masaka (serving vegan gyoza)!

We have a few recommendations depending on what you fancy below. 

1. Italian Restaurant – LIFE 

If you’re in the mood for Italian, we recommend “LIFE”, a northern Italian restaurant with a laid-back vibe in Oku-Shibuya. They serve pasta, paninis, pizza, and salad and are open at lunch and again for dinner. A perfect way to end the evening after exploring Yoyogi Park. 

2. Japanese Set Meal – MEALS (ARE DELICIOUS) 

This restaurant’s concept is one soup and three sides. They have a mix of Japanese and western food so it is the perfect place if you can’t decide exactly what you want. 

3. Japanese Cuisine, Tofu – Tofu Cuisine Sorano Shibuya 

This restaurant has a gorgeous interior and is a great place to take your friends. All the dishes are centered around tofu and soybeans – the perfect place for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. 

What Else is Near Shibuya? 

Within the ward, Shibuya-ku, is Yoyogi Park, a large expanse of nature with sakura trees, a dog park, a pond, a bird sanctuary, and sports facilities such as a basketball court.

Yoyogi Park makes for the ideal nature escape for those that want to go somewhere close by within the city. It is approximately a 15-minute walk away from Shibuya station but can also be reached from Yoyogi station, just one train ride away from Shibuya on the JR Yamanote line. 

Harajuku is also a walkable distance from Shibuya station and home to the shrine, Meiji-Jingu, and neighboring Omotesando where more stylish cafes and department stores can be found. 

Daikanyama is a little south of Shibuya and is a bit quieter, with cafes, bookstores and the historical Kyu Asakura House, a traditional Taisho-era mansion built in 1919.

Events in Shibuya 

Due to its easy access and popularity, Shibuya is often chosen as the prime location for annual events such as Fashion Week and Halloween. This year, in March 2023, Shibuya fashion week saw a runway, a designer market, and a “scramble music show” plus much more. 

Shibuya ward office also organizes a lot of events from sports activities to art festivals. You can find out what they have organized for this month by following this link here

In Yoyogi Park there is almost always something going on from Women’s runs to international festivals, it is always worth a visit. You can check out their calendar to see what’s taking place and when by following this link. They also have a Twitter account to keep you up to date. 

Besides that, a lot of meetups, language exchange events, and volunteer events are usually held in Shibuya.

After all, it’s one of the places where local Japanese and foreigners mingle together. This makes Shibuya a great place for you to make new friends and explore opportunities to speak Japanese with natives!

Want to learn Japanese in Tokyo?

Coto Academy offers short-term courses. Whether you’re just visiting Japan or looking for flexible Japanese classes to fit in between your busy work schedule, we have a course that will match your level, availability and preference!

If you want to study Japanese in Shibuya soon — or in our main Iidabashi school, fill out the form below, and our staff will get in touch!

What is Shibuya known for?

Shibuya is a popular shopping and entertainment district located in Tokyo, Japan. It’s known for its bustling streets, fashion boutiques, Hachiko Statue and the Shibuya Crossing, which attracts thousands of visitors every day.

How can I get to Shibuya

There are several ways to get to Shibuya from Tokyo, including taking the train, bus, or taxi. The most popular way is to take the JR Yamanote Line or Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, which will take you directly to Shibuya Station.

What are some popular attractions in Shibuya?

Some of the most popular attractions in Shibuya include Shibuya Crossing, Hachiko Statue, Shibuya 109, and Meiji Jingu Shrine. These attractions offer a glimpse into the district’s unique culture and history.

Where are the best places to eat in Shibuya?

Shibuya is home to a wide range of restaurants serving everything from traditional Japanese cuisine to international dishes. Some of the best places to eat in Shibuya include Ichiran Ramen, Afuri Ramen, Genki Sushi, and Gonpachi.

Why is Shibuya crossing so famous?

Shibuya’s crossing remains the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing with as many as 3,000 people crossing at one time and has been featured in many movies around the world. It is
also right next to the famous Hachiko dog statue who is said to have greeted his owner
every day when he returned from work. Even after his owner’s sudden death, Hachiko still
went to the station to wait for his owner to return.

Is Shibuya dangerous?

Just like most of Japan, Shibuya is relatively safe. That being said, it is still important to not do anything you wouldn’t do in your home country and ensure you do keep your belongings safe and in sight at all times.

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