SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE SHIBUYA AREA
While the Shibuya area is generally known for its shopping and nightlife, the district also features some of Tokyo’s prominent landmarks. Make sure to have your camera ready!
Aoyama is one of the best neighborhoods in Tokyo to check out interesting and unique modern architecture. Some of the standout buildings include the Ao and Spiral Buildings on Aoyama Boulevard, the Prada Store on Omotesando and the Watarium and Nezu Museums, among many others. Even if you’re not doing any shopping, there’s plenty to see by taking a long walk down Aoyama’s main streets and its many side streets.
Ok, while technically not part of Shibuya as it’s in the Minato half of the Aoyama neighborhood, this massive cemetery is still worth a visit if you’re in the area. Famous for being the first public cemetery in Japan. Aoyama Cemetery features intricately carved gravestones of all shapes and sizes, some belonging to important historical figures. It’s also one of the quietest and least crowded places in all of central Tokyo. And it’s a pretty interesting place to stroll around at night, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
2-32-2, Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku
Explore Haruki Murakami's Shibuya
If you’re a fan of Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, there are plenty of places in and around Shibuya featured in his novels. The novel After Dark takes place entirely in the Dogenzaka, Maruyamacho and Jinnan districts of central Shibuya. Meanwhile, the novel South of The Border, West of The Sun heavily revolves around the Aoyama neighborhood.
The neighborhoods of Shibuya, Aoyama and Harajuku also make appearances in a number of other books, such as Dance, Dance, Dance, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and 1Q84, among others. Be sure to check out the web site for the guide book The Murakami Pilgrimage for more info on where you can discover each location.
Meiji Jingu Shrine
This is one of the most famous shrines in Japan, built in 1920 in honor of Emperor Meiji (who is actually buried in Kyoto). Aside from the shrine itself, there is a large forested area which is great for taking a break from the noise and crowds of the city. The shrine is busiest in January, when Tokyoites wait in long lines to say a prayer for the new year.
1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku
5:00– 17:00 (varies by month)
Moshi Moshi Box
Though not a sightseeing destination in itself, tourists in Harajuku can find plenty of useful information and free brochures here. You can also exchange money, access wifi or purchase souvenirs, among other things.
3-23-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
10:00 – 18:00
Takeshita Street is synonymous with Japanese youth culture and the quirky, colorful side of Japanese fashion. Many of the stores on the ‘Harajuku Shopping‘ page can be found here. Even if you’re not looking to shop, you may be interested to walk down Takeshita Street at least once just to see what it’s all about.
This is a peaceful shrine located near the intersection of Takeshita and Meiji streets. Near the shrine you can also find scenic pond area where you’ll easily forget that Takeshita-dori is right around the corner.
1-5-3 Jingumae, Shibuya
This is perhaps Tokyo’s most beloved park and is a popular gathering point for people of all ages. This is where you’ll find the rockabilly dance troupe perform for the public every weekend. The park also features a number of free music and cultural events in the spring and summer. Even if nothing’s going on, it’s definitely worth a visit at some point during your time in Tokyo.
2-1 Yoyogi Kamizounocho, Shibuya-ku