Day 3 – Shibuya

After the idyll in Meiji Jingū the crowded, bustling streets in the Shibuya district were a complete contrast! Around the station, there are people, neon signs, and shops. It is loud, both acoustically and visually. It is flashing and blaring everywhere.

The most famous intersection and the most famous dog in the world

Like probably every tourist, I was keen to see the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing: the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world. At peak times, 2500 (!!!!) people cross the streets here at the same time (!!!!), both sideways and diagonally. There aren’t really any pedestrian scrambles in Germany, and certainly not of this size, and when you stand there and watch the hustle and bustle, it’s a bit scary. Will you make it out in time? Or will the stream of people carry you somewhere else?

The Hachikō statue


Before I plunge into the adventure, I first pay a visit to Hachikō or rather the statue dedicated to this faithful dog.

The statue is surprisingly small but impossible to miss thanks to the crowds of people who come to take photos with and in front of the monument. You just have to follow the Hachikō exit in Shibuya station (who would have thought…). With a bit of luck, there will be a gap so you can take a photo yourself. The manhole covers around the statue are (of course) all appropriately decorated.

Regardless of the dog’s fame, it is a beautiful statue, quite simple, and the doggo looks a bit worn and old. But he was already that way when he became famous.

The Scramble Crossing

Now off to the intersection which is next to the statue. At that time of day, there was still relatively little going on by local standards, and the intersection seemed innocent. Or so I thought. Until all the pedestrian lights turned green and everyone started walking. No one was running, as if they had all the time in the world. A strange feeling, when everything around you is shaking and pulsating. But I was to experience that more often in Japan:

The intersection from down below

I watched the hustle and bustle for a few green phases while I slowly made my way to the zebra crossing. Next time, really… oh no, better not… Too late! And then I was right in the middle of it.

What can I say: Spectacular, but still relaxed. Just as I had already observed from outside. I crossed the intersection in many different ways, now that I had acquired a taste for it, and took the opportunity to check out the shops in the immediate vicinity. It was all exciting, but somehow there was nothing there for me – I didn’t need jewelry or cosmetics, and in any case, Ginza was on the agenda later. I could do some more shopping there.

Shibuya – confusingly funny

Finally, I had enough and wanted to enjoy a view from above. There are essentially two options:

  • An observation deck in the Shibuya Sky building. It is really high up, but it seemed to be more exciting at night, and I would have had to wait almost an hour. But my tight schedule that day didn’t allow that. I also thought 2000 ¥ was quite expensive.
  • A lower deck in Magnet by Shibuya 109. Cocktails would also be available there for the entrance fee.

So it was a no-brainer – off to Magnet. It’s also a shopping center, it seems to be mainly for merch and nerd needs. Lots of “J-Pop” and “J-Rock” fashion, various T-shirt shops. On the ground floor, there was a shop that sold “Artificial Insemination Kits“. WTF?


And a floor with Gashapon! I had heard about them before, but I had completely forgotten about them until that moment. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity – so I marched in.

My prey ;-)
My prey 😉

I wasn’t the only Gaijin there, which didn’t really surprise me. What surprised me was the large proportion of completely normal customers. Middle-aged women, with and without children, men in business attire – you name it. And they certainly didn’t all look like they were just looking for a small present for their children.

Each of the machines spits out a certain, thematically appropriate assortment of plastic balls, which hopefully contain the object of desire. Often, but not always, small plastic figures, similar to the German Kinder eggs.

I was about to leave when I spotted a few machines where you could pull Moomins. Yes! I quickly exchanged one of my 10,000¥ bills, put in 400¥, turned the crank, and then a blue plastic ball popped out. Nice! My hunting instinct was awakened, and I quickly repeated the procedure twice. These would be two nice presents for Amber and Caroline. I wanted to wait to open them.

Beautiful views!

Satisfied, I made my way to the eighth floor. The entrance fee was cheap. I ordered a gin and tonic, which was OK and surprisingly strong, and then I enjoyed the afternoon sun on the platform. Nice lounge music. My feet were starting to hurt, and thus the beach chairs came in handy. After chilling out for a while, I took a few photos and videos of the intersection. It’s much more impressive to observe from above because you can see the whole picture from there:

“Scramble Crossing”

That’s it! I still wanted to go to Ginza, so I trudged back to the train station, a little tipsy, but everything went smoothly.

Pictures – click on the photo for more information:

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