When in Tokyo, you must experience the famous intersection outside Shibuya Station! We call it “Cross-All-You-Can” because this busy junction merges 6 streets and the pedestrian stoplights in every direction turn red and green at the same time.
So, as the cars get their turn on the streets, pedestrians slowly fill up every corner of the intersection. After a few minutes, when the corners are packed with people, the light turns green, and people pour into the streets to and from every direction! Someone described it “like marbles spilling out of a box” – quite fitting!
2 Ways to Experience Tokyo Shibuya Crossing
I’ve been to Tokyo before and have crossed Shibuya a few times, mainly to get to the other side. However, on my last visit, I decided to visit the Shibuya crossing just for the experience. I also decided to document it with my iPhone with a fisheye lens attachment. The results were quite remarkable.
There are 2 ways to experience the Tokyo Shibuya intersection: experience it as one of the anonymous faces in the sea of crossing people or take the birds-eye view and merely observe the sea of people crossing.
Bird’s Eye View of Tokyo Shibuya Crossing
The best view to watch the Shibuya Crossing is from the 2nd floor of Starbucks Coffee in Tsutaya Building. You can see where it’s at in the first photo, on the right side.
Trust me that it’s not just about getting coffee in Shibuya and climbing a few steps of stairs to get your shot of the crossing. This particular Starbucks has held the record of the most visits for several years now. You have to invest time to wait for your turn. And this is what I did, sipping my coffee slowly, waiting for my turn at the window. It was worth it, though. Sitting at the window admiring the looping scene of people stopping and crossing is hypnotising and quite calming. I could’ve sat there for hours; I actually had to pull myself away to give way to other visitors. I have the same video on Instagram, watching it there can put you in a trance as the 15sec clip loops over and over again.
Get Lost in Tokyo Shibuya Crossing
Be Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson) in Lost in Translation; get lost in the sea of people in Shibuya Crossing. I placed myself at one of the light posts and took a time-lapse video with my iPhone and fisheye lens. This is my longest #selfie ever.
Traveling to Japan
With the frequent airline seat sales and leniency in issuing a Japanese visa to Filipinos and other South East Asian nationals now, it’s easier than ever to travel to Japan. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to visit Japan on a budget, especially with the weak Japan Yen. Check out this post on the top 5 things to see in Japan, which includes a visit to Shibuya Crossing.