Rumoured to be the busiest intersection in the world (and definitely in Japan), Shibuya Crossing is like a giant beating heart, sending people in all directions with every pulsing light change. Nowhere else says ‘Welcome to Tokyo’ better than this. Hundreds of people – and at peak times upwards of 3000 people – cross at a time, coming from all directions at once, yet still to dodging each other with a practised, nonchalant agility.
Mag's Park, the rooftop of the Shibuya 109-2 department store, has the best views over the neighbourhood's famous scramble crossing. It's screened with plexiglass, so you can still get good photos, without having to worry about losing anything over the edge).
The intersection is most impressive after dark on a Friday or Saturday night, when the crowds pouring out of the station are at their thickest and neon-lit by the signs above. The rhythms here are, however, tied to the train station and after the last train pulls out for the night, the intersection becomes eerily quiet.
Hotels near Shibuya Crossing
Shibuya has several new accommodations, among them boutique hotels, flash-packer hostels and 'cabin style' capsule hotels (roomier than the average capsule hotel) – suddenly, there's a lot to choose from here. If you're keen to immerse yourself in urban Tokyo and its nightlife, Shibuya makes for a great base; it's got great transit links, too. Options within walking distance of the crossing include Mustard Hotel (15-minute walk), Millennials (six-minute walk) and Hotel Mets Shibuya (12-minute walk).