Going to Tokyo and not doing the scramble through Shibuya crossing is like going to a sushi shop and ordering fried chicken. Cliche as it sounds, it’s one of the must do things in Tokyo, because it’s so much fun. You’ll get to see all sorts of characters as you make your way through the massive crowd, from decked out locals to drunk foreigners.
It’s an incredible sight that has inspired thousands of photos, videos and iconic movie moments, and you’ll probably want to take plenty of pictures of your own too. On my first time here I tried shooting at hip level as I crossed, which turned up some interesting shots. But don’t put your camera too low, in case you get mistaken for one of those upskirt creeps.
For wider shots, one of the best places is on the second floor of Starbucks facing the crossing. But it’s very crowded and almost impossible to get a window seat.
What most people don’t know is that there’s a secret little place just 2 minutes away that has a much better view of the Shibuya crossing, and it’s easily accessible, quiet, and best of all, FREE.
That magic place is the 25th floor of the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. It’s a floor that houses the hotel’s restaurants and it’s open to the public.
Here’s how to get there from Hachiko:
1. Cross the street over to Shibuya Mark City (it’s the same building as the Keio Inokashira line’s Shibuya station).
2. You should see a small elevator lobby on the left that looks like this:
3. Enter and take the elevator directly to the 25th floor
4. Go straight until you see the glass window. Look down and enjoy the amazing view!
Next time you’re in Shibuya give it a try!
Update January 2017: Reader Tolga wrote in with this handy tip – “The guys on the 25th floor does not let anyone pass them unless you have a restaurant reservation – mainly because none of the hotel guests take that route to go there. One should stop on the 5th floor, go straight and take the other hotel elevator to go to the 25th floor – guaranteed success.”
Header photo by Morten Legarth via Flickr