Tokyo: Shibuya Scramble
Watching the street with pedestrians passing through is no fun, unless it’s the famous Shibuya Crossing.
Shibuya is a ward or division of Tokyo, but also pertains to the popular entertainment and shopping place around the Shibuya Station. Shopping malls decorated with dazzling LED screens are on every corner of the crossing.
We tried to experience “the scramble” by crossing, of course, the crossing (pun unavoidable). An adrenaline of excitement was there as we’re waiting for the red pedestrian signal to turn green. And, we’re off! People were coming and going from all directions. We took a picture of ourselves using a 360 camera as we reached the middle and it was amazing. It’s funny that after our first time, we walked to the intersection several times and tried other shots.
We also went to Starbucks Coffee at the QFront building. It seemed it was deliberately located there: the second floor offers a clear view of the crossing where customers can enjoy their drinks while watching or taking photos/videos of the busy intersection. The counter is on the ground floor. We did take photos and enjoyed the view while sipping our Chocolate Java chip.
The adjacent Shibuya station is one of the busiest commuter rail station in Japan, with 2.4 million people using it in an average weekday, and a large bus terminal is also located nearby. Since Tokyo opened its first railways in 1885, Shibuya emerged as a railway terminal for southwestern Tokyo and the area quickly developed into a commercial and entertainment center.
The area is also surrounded by the number of shopping centers, offices and other places of interests such as the NHK Broadcasting Center and the Yoyogi Park. No wonder the scramble crossing is one of Tokyo’s busiest.
Probably before the crossing came to what it is today, Shibuya already has one famous attraction, the Hachiko Statue. Hachiko was an Akita dog who always greeted his master, a university professor named Hidesaburo Ueno, as he arrived at the Shibuya station. Unfortunately, one day, Ueno died while at work and he never returned. The dog perseveringly waited for nine years until his last breath, hoping that his master would eventually return. This story of utmost loyalty made Hachiko a national sensation in prewar Japan.
In April 1934, during the last year of Hachiko’s life, a bronze statue in his likeness was erected in front of Shibuya station, and Hachiko himself present in the unveiling. Unfortunately, during the Second World War, the statue was recycled for the war effort. The new statue was erected in 1948, which still stands up to now.
Hachiko is famous not only in Japan but also overseas. When we get there, the area was so crowded, and there’s not a single moment the bronze statue was without people taking pictures beside it. One of the exits in the Shibuya underground station is called the Hachiko Exit, which leads to the Hachiko square (where the statue is located), and Shibuya City operates a fleet of buses called the Hachiko Bus.
SONY 4K BILLBOARD
As we distanced a few corners away from Shibuya station, we stumbled upon another intersection which is also popular with tourists. A Sony 4K Electronic Billboard is situated on Shibuya Modi building wherein it broadcasts the passing cars and pedestrians. The camera on the top of the big screen intelligently detects the moving objects. And then, it is projected with Augmented Reality effects, wonderfully incorporating to the original image of the crossing pedestrians. Sightseers can’t help but stare at the billboard and be entertained.
From Shibuya Station, find Hachiko Exit. It’s very easy to find the Shibuya Crossing and Hachiko Statue from there.
Served by the following train lines: