Playing in Traffic – Tips on Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

Japan has its share of quirky things to see and do. From sumo wrestlers yelling at babies to Cosplay, Japan has no shortage of strange. Perhaps the most popular of Japan’s odd things to do is play in traffic. Visiting Shibuya Crossing has become a must when in Tokyo, essentially to experience the world’s busiest intersection.

Visiting Shibuya Crossing – Where and Why?

Shibuya Crossing Crossing is located in Tokyo’s densely populated Shibuya District. On top of being a major hub for tourists, Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s best shopping and entertainment areas. With a population density that almost hits 15 thousand people per square kilometre, Shibuya is crowded, to say the least. This has made the intersections of 10 automobile lanes and 5 pedestrian crossings one of the busiest intersections in the city, if not the world. To alleviate both foot and vehicle traffic, Tokyo officials decided to make the intersection an all-walk pedestrian crossing. Known as a “scramble,” for 2-minute intervals, pedestrians can cross in all directions at the same time. Not surprisingly, it is an effective way to alleviate foot and vehicle congestion. Surprisingly, it has become a very popular tourist attraction for its mass movement of people.

Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

Visiting Shibuya Crossing – How to get there

Visiting Shibuya Crossing is easy. From Shibuya Station make your way to the Hachiko exit. Note, the station is massive and can be very confusing to navigate so be sure to look for signs and select the correct exit.

Getting That Perfect Photo

Capturing the mass movement of people is must when Visiting Shibuya Crossing. Setting up on the sidelines with the tripod or even in the middle of the crosswalk is a great way to do just that. You’ll probably have to play with your camera settings to get the best results, however, consider the following:

Mode: Manual, shutter priority, or bulb (if your camera has it!)
Shutter Speed: Anywhere between 8 and 30 seconds.
Aperture: I was setting between f8 and f16 during my time visiting Shibuya Crossing.

If you have a hard time grasping these concepts or are interested in night photography I highly recommend Eyexplore Tokyo. They offer excellent night photo walking tours and visiting Shibuya Crossing, along with several other great photographic spots in the city, is on their tours.

Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

For the perfect perspective from above head into the QFront building. This large shopping mall has a bookstore and Starbucks with a great view of the scramble crossing below. With Shibuya Crossing being the busiest intersection in the world it should be no surprise that this Starbucks is the world’s busiest. It is also a great spot to capture a time-lapse video!

Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

Visiting Shibuya Crossing – What’s nearby?

Of course, there’s so much more to Shibuya then visiting Shibuya Crossing. Beyond shopping and nightlife, there are great restaurants to try. Head to Nonbei Yokocho for its tiny bars and Yakiniku eateries or just walk its tiny alleys to see locals dining in the cracks and corner stalls.

Then there is the homage to Japan’s most loyal pup, Hachiko. Just outside the Shibuya Station, you will find a statue dedicated to Hachiko who, in the 1920’s, would come to the station every day to meet his owner. As touching as that is, the truly heartwarming fact is that Hachiko continued to visit the Shibuya Station for 10 years after his owners passing.

This spot is popular with locals and tourist and makes a great meeting point.

Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

Visiting Shibuya Crossing – So much more than where people pass 

As you can see, visiting Shibuya Crossing offers guests so much more than the world’s busiest intersection. From shopping to tiny restaurants, it is a great place to experience Tokyo life. Not shockingly, it consistently ranks as the best place to photograph Tokyo and always tops lists of things to do in Tokyo and Japan.

It’s also a really great place to play in traffic 🙂

What say you?
Thoughts on Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo?
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Visiting Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

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