When arriving by subway or train at Shibuya Station, you cannot miss the Tokyo famous crossing Shibuya Crossing. Anyway, your first challenge to reach the iconic Shibuya intersection is to leave the station through the right exit, the Hachiko Exit (Exit #8).
Shibuya Station is one of the major train stations in Tokyo, located between Ebisu and Harajuku on the western side of the circular Yamanote Line. The Shibuya hub serves over a handful railways and subway lines and provides therefore easy access to many other Tokyo stations and districts.
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The Hachiko Exit is named after the iconic Hachiko dog statue and may be the most famous exit and meeting point in Japan. The Hachiko dog was said to be an extremely faithful dog waiting every day at Shibuya Station for its master to return from work – even after his death!
Anyway, coming out of the subway, the exit is not obvious to spot with the crowds around – and it requires two tries! After finally identifying the Hachiko Exit and leaving the station building, we immediately spot the spectacular crossing with broad white-striped fields covering most of the street.
Shibuya Crossing facts can be quite overwhelming. Up to 3,000 people can cross here at the times during the day when Shibuya Scramble is busiest – and even in such cases real traffic jams and other incidents are rare! What makes it even more incredible is that the entire show repeats every two minutes when the light changes again.
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A great place to watch the entertaining pedestrian crossing and the surrounding neon billboards with their variety of ads is from above – for instance from the first floor of the Starkbucks right next to the spectacular intersection. That is really a great place for people watching!
The zigzag crossing is the heart of the Shibuya shopping district with its immense offer of all kinds of products – from the latest trendsetting clothes fashion to countless, advanced electronics products and geeky anime subculture.
Every time the signals change at the intersection, crowds of people move from all directions into the area of the five zebra crossings, while the cars are being held back by the red light. In some strange way it is rare that people bump into each other. Now we get to see for ourselves how the scramble works like a charm – even at the busiest moments during the rush hour when myriads of people step out simultaneously.
As it happens we line up at the Shibuya Crossing together with all the Japanese commuters coming from the station and look at the increasing crowds on the other corners of the intersection. More and more people accumulate beside us. It is countdown … 3, 2, 1 ….and, ultimately, off we are in the myriad of people on the white zigzagging stripes.
At first sight it seems like an impossible challenge to cross the adversary group from the other side. It looks real massive. The crowd approaches the magnetic centre of the scramble crossing from all directions, and then, I miraculously smoothly glide through the mass of agile Japanese pedestrians coming towards me. And so we all do without really knowing how it happens. Amazingly enough, I don’t even touch one single person!
‘Welcome to Shibuya Crossing – the Famous Crossing in Tokyo’
I need to capture the scene by snapping a picture or two and get hold of my phone. For some seconds I turn my attention to the phone and get the iconic photos … and then, all of a sudden, I frightfully realise that I have lost sight of the others. I’m densely surrounded by busy Japanese people heading in all directions, but it is short. Seconds later I spot the others again just a few metres away!
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