If you ever find yourself in Tokyo, chances are that Shibuya is on your bucket list for places to visit. Located right in the heart of the city, it’s an iconic ward that rightfully deserves its fame. When in Shibuya, Japan, it’s hard to run out of things to do in a location this rich in history, culture, entertainment, and food.
The ward is located in the southwestern part of Tokyo near Shinjuku and is easily accessible by public transportation. The famous Shibuya Crossing is located in the heart of the ward and is the busiest intersection in the world.
Many might be familiar with the area surrounding the JR Shibuya Station– but the sizeable ward actually includes other famous locations such as the fashion district of Harajuku, Omote-sando, and Yoyogi Park. Other famous landmarks in Shibuya include the Hachiko statue, the Shibuya 109 shopping center, and Takeshita Street in Harajuku.
If you’re ever wondering about what to do in Shibuya, check out our top 20 things to do in this area.
The 20 Best Things to do in Shibuya
- People-watch at the Starbucks in Shibuya Crossing
- Say hello to Hachiko
- Join a food tour
- Hang out at Miyashita Park
- Explore underrated art collections
- Visit the Nintendo store and Pokemon stores at Shibuya Parco
- Slurp your way through a ramen tour
- Practice retail therapy at 109
- Expand your palette at depachikas
- Pay a visit to the Konno Hachimangu Shrine
- Sample the street food
- Savor vegan-friendly izakaya food
- Go bar-hopping
- Sip on coffee made by a robot at Hen na Cafe
- Explore high fashion at Archive Store
- Izakaya-hop down Nonbei Yokocho (Drunkard's Alley)
- Feast on an inexpensive, Michelin award-winning meal
- Enjoy the nightlife
- Scale new heights at Shibuya Sky
- Groove to music at record shops
Bonus: Taste some of Tokyo's "viral" foods.
1. People-watch at the Starbucks in Shibuya Crossing
Located on the second floor of the Tsutaya building that sits facing Shibuya Crossing, this Starbucks location is perfect if you want an unparalleled view of the iconic intersection. They have a seating area with floor-to-ceiling windows that allows visitors to enjoy a drink while seeing the thousands of people make their way across the street.
2. Say hello to Hachiko
A symbol of loyalty and meetings, the statue of the dog Hachiko stands at the infamous Shibuya Crossing. The story of Hachiko is very sweet: the loyal Akita dog would wait to meet his owner, Hidesaburo Ueno, at Shibuya station every day. Even after his owner passed away, Hachiko contained to wait for his return for over nine years, until his death in 1935.
While Hachiko's grave is next to his beloved owner in Aoyama cemetery, a statue of the loyal pup sits outside of Shibuya station. Now, it's a popular meeting spot in the hustle and bustle of the world's busiest intersection.
3. Join a food tour
It’s hard to choose from the seemingly never-ending list of delicious eateries that Shibuya has to offer– why not join a tour and not have to worry about weighing your options? If that’s what you’re looking for, check out the Ultimate Food in Shibuya Tour!
4. Hang out at Miyashita Park
Newly redesigned in 2020, Miyashita Park is a shopping complex that sits in front of Shibuya Station. The south block is an indoor shopping mall, whereas the north block is an outdoor shopping area– housing many designer stores such as the world’s first flagship men’s Louis Vuitton store, a rooftop hotel, a music bar, and an art gallery.
On the open-air rooftop, visitors can enjoy relaxing on the sizeable lawn, hang out at the beach volleyball court, or even spend time at the skate park. The Shibuya Yokocho alley located on the first floor consists of a diverse array of 19 eateries, from restaurants that serve Korean cuisine to ones that offer regional Kansai food. The best part is that Yokocho alley is open until 5 am or 11 pm on Sundays. The complex– including the spacious rooftop– is entirely free to enter.
5. Explore lesser-known art collections
While the large museums in Tokyo often get attention, smaller collections deserve some praise too. PARCO Museum Tokyo is a small museum that sits inside the PARCO fashion mall near the JR Shibuya Station and has temporary exhibits of contemporary works across various mediums. If you’re looking for older artworks, the Ota Memorial Museum of Art has a rotating display of Ota Seizo V’s collection of over 12,000 ukiyo-e works. But if you want to check out the art scene outside of Tokyo, the d47 Museum is a small museum that showcases design pieces from all 47 prefectures of Japan.
6. Visit the Nintendo and Pokemon stores at Shibuya PARCO
Shibuya PARCO is a shopping mall in the heart of the area and houses many unique stores, including the first official Nintendo store in Japan. This shop is lined with larger-than-life figures from their game collection that you can take pictures with. They offer a diverse array of products ranging from game consoles to game merchandise that is specific to Japan– it's the perfect spot for Nintendo fans alike.
The same floor also hosts a Pokemon Center, Capcom store, and other game-related shops.
7. Slurp your way through a ramen tour
Shibuya houses some of the best restaurant gems serving quintessential Japanese soul food: ramen! No trip to Japan is complete without enjoying a bowl of ramen. To read more about the different kinds of ramen in Japan, reference our Ulitmate Ramen Guide.
For the connoisseurs out there, check out our Ramen Tour to taste 6 dishes that take the noodle game up a notch.
8. Practice retail therapy at SHIBUYA109
Located near the JR Shibuya Station, SHIBUYA109 is a ten-story department store that has become a mecca for young fashion enthusiasts. Locals will often call it “ichimarukyuu” (the Japanese pronunciation of each number) and has become a cultural icon in Tokyo.
The building has a diverse lineup of shops that specialize in various different J-fashion subgenres, including gyaru and lolita fashion.
9. Expand your palette at depachikas
“Depachika” is a portmanteau of the word “depato” (short for “department store” and “chika” (basement in Japanese). It’s quite literally an underground food scene– food markets with shops that sell specialty and regional foods are located in department store basements. In the video below, byFood host Shizuka explores one of Shibuya's many depachikas.
The markets include delis and food stands that sell specialty food that makes for perfect gifts. The Takashimaya Shibuya location arguably offers one of the best depachikas in the city. Shoppers can choose from a substantial array of unique and delicious foods, and even enjoy them in their rooftop gardens.
10. Pay a visit to the Konno Hachimangu Shrine
Only a four-minute walk away from Shibuya Station, this Shinto shrine is a historic oasis nestled among the hustle and bustle of the area. It plays an integral role in Shibuya's history, which was initially founded in 1092 by the Shibuya clan– dating long before how we know the ward as it is today. Visitors will see the original structures that have sat on the shrine grounds since the 17th century. The property also includes a ritual stage and a small exhibit with free admission.
11. Try the street food
If there’s one thing that’s a must-do activity in Shibuya– it’s to try out the diverse street food. Shibuya is a haven for these shops, with the center-gai (the “center” of the ward that’s a hub for youths) and hidden yokochos (alleyways in Japanese) amidst skyscrapers.
While there’s a lot to choose from, the highly dense ward has a lot to offer in the nooks and crannies that can be easily overlooked. If you want to experience the street food scene without the hassle, try out the Street Food Hunt in Shibuya!
12. Savor izakaya food with a vegan twist
Izakaya (Japanese pubs) food is a must-try and completely possible for those who maintain a vegan diet. Izakaya Masaka is located inside Shibuya PARCO, an izakaya serving an all-vegan menu. Goers can enjoy classic dishes such as gyoza, soy meat karaage (Japanese fried chicken), and even Chinese-fusion food.
For more vegan food options, check out our Tokyo Vegan Guide.
13. Go Bar-Hopping
Shibuya is one of the best locations in the city for nightlife, and this includes bars! There are an overwhelming amount of establishments to explore, from high-end cocktail bars with gorgeous views to hole-in-the-wall basement haunts. It's difficult to choose with so many options, so the best way to save time, and experience the bar scene, is to join a Shibuya Bar-Hopping Tour!
14. Sip on coffee made by a robot at Henn na Cafe
You might be familiar with the internet sensation Hen na Hotels, a hotel chain that's run by robots and located all across Japan. This cafe is operated by the same company, with the same concept– your go-to cafe order is brought to you by robots instead of humans. The barista robots do everything, from grinding the coffee beans to handing the cup to you.
For more coffee options, check out our recommendations on Unique Cafes in Shibuya.
15. Explore high fashion at Archive Store
Hidden in a basement in Shibuya, the Archive Store is a gem for fashion junkies. This store sells archival pieces from international and Japanese fashion brands, including Junya Watanabe and Commes des Garcons. Their collection is changed seasonally but never fails to boast an extensive collection of iconic fashion pieces and rare finds.
16. Izakaya-hop down Nonbei Yokocho (Drunkard's Alley)
Nonbei Yokocho, or Drunkard's Alley, is a street endlessly lined with small izakayas and eateries tucked away in the middle of Shibuya. The stores encapsulate the true izakaya atmosphere with an intimate yet lively environment that perfectly pairs with drinks. Visitors can catch an authentic glimpse of the Tokyo drinking culture, as it's a staple location for locals.
17. Feast on an inexpensive Michelin award-winning meal
Enjoying Michelin-starred food doesn’t mean it can’t be wallet-friendly. Pork Vindaloo Taberu Fukudaitoryo is a curry restaurant that has received a Bib Gourmand Michelin award for its spectacular–as you guessed it– pork vindaloo. This is the only meal on their menu, but the ¥1,000 price tag and award-deserving curry make for a spectacular culinary experience.
18. Enjoy the nightlife
There’s a good reason why the nightlife in Shibuya is so famous. If you’re ever wondering about what to do in Shibuya at night, the plentiful nighttime scene has your back. While the ward during the daytime is fun in itself, a new side awakens as the sun sets. Its nightclubs often garner attention– but did you know that Shibuya nightlife has its own history dating back decades? The Retro Shibuya Food Tour offers guests a glimpse into long-standing establishments that make up the heart of Shibuya.
19. Scale new heights at Shibuya Sky
Shibuya Sky is a 360-degree observation desk that sits on top of the Shibuya Scramble Square building. Standing about 230 meters away from the ground, visitors can get an unobstructed view of the city. The deck is divided into an indoor and outdoor area: the indoor section is equipped with a restaurant and lounge area, and the latter includes a lawn area as well as comfortable seating. The scramble cross-intersection can be seen during the daytime and the dazzling Tokyo cityscape during nighttime. But keep in mind that tickets are needed for entry, which can be bought either at the venue or online.
20. Groove to music at record shops
The Tower Records is an iconic record shop equipped with a bookstore as well as a cafe, sat in the heart of Shibuya. Customers can browse through an extensive collection of records and even listen to them before buying. If you’re into indie record shops, BIG LOVE Records in Jingumae is excellent. A large and diverse collection of vinyls, tapes, and CDs is sold in this shop– and another section is dedicated to their craft beer and coffee bar.
Author’s choice: Have a food truck bite at La Cabina Tokyo
Something that I’ll always love is food truck cuisine– especially taco trucks. La Cabina Tokyo is a food truck that sells delicious Mexican cuisine in the heart of Shibuya, near the Bunkamura complex. The carne asada tacos are my go-to order, but the ceviche tacos deserve an honorable mention. Spending an activity-filled day in Shibuya and closing it off with a flavorful plate of tacos is one thing I’ll never get tired of.
The unique atmosphere and rich culture of the ward make visiting Shibuya, Tokyo, an unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience. It's one of the top well-known wards among the 23 wards of Tokyo– but this is for a good reason. Whether you're a foodie, nightlife lover, fashionista, or simply curious about Japanese culture, you won't be disappointed by a visit to Shibuya.