Shibuya Area


This is where you’ll find that crazy scramble intersection and the neighborhood where young Tokyo goes to play. Even if you’re not an under-25 shopoholic making a beeline for the sacred 109 Building, don’t miss the comic book café, and three stores that never fail to entertain with only-in-Japan products.

The best time to see Shibuya is during the afternoon and evening, bacause it’s the one place that gets better as it becomes more crowded. First we’ll cross the famous intersection in front of Shibuya Station, where over a thousand people people are unleashed every time the light changes. If you like, we can go up to the Shibuya Sky observation deck (atop the Shibuya Scramble Square building) or Mag’s Park on the roof of Magnet 109 to get a bird’s eye view.

Even on Coming-Of-Age day, girls head over to Shibuya to party as soon as their family duties are over.

So what kind of things would you like to see in Shibuya?

• The 109 Building: chock full of boutiques dealing in miniskirts, patterned stockings, and All Things Young, Japanese & Female.

the 109 Building has stockings and fashions like you’ll never see anywhere else.

• Magnet 109: This used to be home to all the great men’s brands that Japanese motorcycle dudes and guys who work in host clubs love, but sadly, it was recently renovated and the Vanquish store is the only one left. There’s still one good reason for coming in, though: the Hoshino Cafe on the second floor serves the Godzilla of Pancakes.

Don’t pretend you don’t want this. Resistance is futile.

• Loft: four floors of great housewares, art, and beauty supplies, including everything you need to turn out amazing Japanese bento box lunchesElephant Gray hair dye for teenagers, and Rude Gnomes.

Your kitchen chairs will thank you for bringing home some Chair Socks.
Or go to the studio on the 5th floor and get a custom made figure made of yourself
Or go to the studio on the 5th floor and get the ultimate souvenir: a custom made figure of yourself!

• Tokyu Hands: This is a must-see. It’s six floors of everything, including: beer brewing labware, face-shrinking masksobscure Japanese kitchen toolssnake venom facial treatmentselectronic chanting monksextreme manscaping products, and more! We’ll start at the top and spiral down.

Your very own sutra-chanting, lotus bud-waving, electronic monk
Tokyu Hands also has a great kitchen goods floor, with only-in-Japan cake making supplies.

• Don Kihote: A racier and cheaper version of Loft and Tokyu Hands, Don Kihote serves up wacky surprises around every corner. It’s the go-to store for cheap costumes, pillows that look like boobs, fake eyelashes, cheap electronics, and strange sandwiches.

• Tower Records: the foreign books floor is a good place to pick up English guidebooks other non-Japanese reading material

• Hikarie: The 6th and 7th floors of this highrise mall next to Shibuya Station are filled with all kinds of restaurants, including one that serves beer slushies in the summertime.

The Eat burger shop has delicious burgers & fries too.
The Eat burger shop has delicious burgers & fries too.

Now that we’re revived, maybe a little skatin’? There’s a great skate park up next to the train tracks by the station. Miyashita Park has a highly amusing set of rules, but it’s an awesome park and it only costs ¥200 an hour to skate there.


Most stores open at 10:00 am


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Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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