The Shibuya district of Japan’s capital city, Tokyo, is the epitome of modernity, high fashion and fast-paced living. Travelers heading here for the first time from their Tokyo hostels, however, should be warned that it’s not for the faint-hearted.
But once visitors get used to the business feel of Shibuya which is characterized by the bustling, five-way scramble crossing at Hachiko Square, they will be able to see just why this neighborhood is so popular.
Tokyo’s fashion trends are a rare (and often shocking) departure from the ordinary and for those keen on exploring the current heights of this fast-moving obsession, Shibuya’s Centre-Gai road is the place to start.
This narrow, busy street is located near the giant video screen in Hachiko Square and is difficult to miss. Lined with shops that are stocked with the latest fashion outfits and some bizarre designs, it’s a popular youth hangout and an excellent place to soak up the local atmosphere.
Continuing with the theme of the ‘unusual,’ Shibuya is also home to some quirky exhibitions. Arguably the most prominent on the list of these strange attractions is the Tobacco and Salt Museum, which (as you’d expect) specializes in the collection and study of all things related to these substances.
Bizarre as it may seem, this is actually a quite fascinating examination of the history of two cultural staples across the world. The contrasting development of Latin American smoking and Japanese tobacco habits is of particular interest.
Another museum (although with some marketing overtones) is provided care of the TEPCO Electric Energy Museum – TEPCO standing for the Tokyo Electric Power Company which has some interesting interactive displays.
Amongst the throng of Shibuya’s fast-paced shopping and lifestyle, there are also some unlikely spots of tranquility which provide a peaceful departure from the lively city and packed Tokyo hostels.
Highlights include the forested Meiji Shrine, which is dedicated to the souls of past emperors, and the Shinjuku Gyoen Imperial Gardens.
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