What to do when visiting Tokyo’s most exciting neighbourhood, Shibuya Shōtō? We've got some top recommendations for dining, entertainment and culture.
[Note: Due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, operating hours of the following stores and restaurants may change without prior notice. To avoid disappointment, do visit their website or ring them up prior to visiting.]
Say ‘Shibuya’ and immediately the image of frantic tourists and Tokyoites scrambling through the famous Shibuya crossing comes to mind.
With Shibuya Station being extremely convenient and accessible as a major terminal station where multiple train lines intersect, it's no wonder why. Shibuya never sleeps as the hum of activity from the plethora of restaurants, theatres, speciality stores, Pachinko shops, department stores and bars keeps the spirit of this bustling area alive.
Nearby, the upscale Shōtō neighbourhood is as different from Shibuya as night and day. This neighbourhood first began life as the suburban residence of the Kishu Tokugawa family. After the Meiji Restoration, the Nabeshima family took over, transformed it into a tea plantation and renamed it to Shōtō Garden. Since then, the namesake stuck till this present-day.
Shōtō provides welcome respite from the bustling Shibuya by maintaining a convenient distance from the heart of the action. So if you find yourself wandering around this tranquil landscape, here are a few things you can look forward to.
What to do at Shibuya Shōtō
Time travel to Shōwa era Japan at Nonbei Yokocho. Known affectionately as Drunkard's Alley, this narrow alleyway is home to many small izakayas and bars frequented by salarymen.
1 Chome-25 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002
Indulge your maximalist self at Dogenzaka where quirky architecture and flashy lights come alive at night. While you’re here, you might want to take a short walk to Love Hotel Hill, which is home to a few well-known night clubs and concert venues.
Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043
Need some time away from city life? Then head over to one of Tokyo’s largest city parks, Yoyogi Park, to stretch your legs and feed your senses. Located next to the Meiji Shrine, make it a two-birds-one-stone day out!
2-1 Yoyogi Kamizono Cho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-0052
MEGA DON (Don Quijote)
If the name is any indication, the largest Don Quijote store in all of Japan is located right at Shibuya. To the uninitiated, Don Quijote is not the misspelt name of one of literature's most famous lovers — but Japan's largest discount store chain. Find everything you need and everything you didn't know you needed here.
28-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 154-0042
Uplink is carrying the torch for independent and arthouse cinema representation in Shibuya. A multipurpose venue with a cafe and restaurant, bar, gallery, shop and theatre; we could easily see ourselves getting lost all afternoon in this dreamy escape.
37-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042
Pin this one to your list of places to visit when Japan relaxes its grip on leisure travel. Focusing on house, drum n’ bass, and techno music, WOMB is a nightlife institution and platform for both international headliners and upcoming DJs looking to make their big break. Until we can travel freely to Japan again, you’ll want to check out their live online sets for your home rave.
2-16 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0044
What to see at Shibuya Shōtō
Leave the cacophony on the ground. Lift off to the 360° open-air observation deck atop Shibuya Scramble Square for sky high views of the famous square below. Suddenly, everything looks so tiny and inconsequential when you're enjoying the peaceful views from way up high.
2-24-12 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-6145
Hachiko Memorial Statue
‘Paws’ for a photo with Hachiko’s bronze statue erected near the Shibuya Scramble Crossing that symbolises loyalty. The story goes that Hachiko, an Akita, would patiently await his master’s return from work everyday at Shibuya Station. Even after his master passed on, he continued to wait patiently for 9 long years until his own passing. Who’s chopping onions?
2-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya City
Nabeshima Shōtō Park
A well-loved public park surrounding a pond that once belonged to the Tokugawa family, who once ruled Japan as shoguns. A quaint watermill on the pond and cherry blossoms frame the pond, making it the postcard-perfect star for your next Instagram Reel or TikTok.
2-10-7 Shoto, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0046
Shibuya Fureai Botanical Centre
Small but mighty, this tiny botanical centre packs in over 200 kinds of tropical plants. On top of gardening classes, you will also find a small library lined with books on plants and insects, an area where you can sit and savour free mugicha, and a mini herb garden. We’re not sure about you, but this sure sounds like everything you need to shelter from the outside and find serenity.
2 Chome-25-37 Higashi, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0011
Shōtō Museum of Art
Soak in some culture at The Shōtō Museum of Art, a marvel of philosophical architecture by designer Seiichi Shirai. Exhibitions change regularly and advanced booking is needed due to safe distancing measures, do visit their website to reserve a spot before visiting.
2 Chome-14-14 Shoto, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0046
Yamatane Museum of Art
Featuring masterpieces from notable Japanese-painting masters, make this your first stop as an introduction into the rich history of Japanese art. Adorning the walls are Kindai Nihonga (Modern Japanese paintings after the Meiji era), Ukiyoe (woodblock print and painting), oil paintings and ancient Japanese calligraphy.
3 Chome-12-36 Hiroo, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0012
What to eat and drink at Shibuya Shōtō
In spite of their quirky, and some might even say gimmicky interiors, this hidden dining room delivers dishes and drinks that can stand up to any doubters. Enjoy beer and bistro dishes with a modern twist, and an off-kilter dining environment as quirky as its offerings.
1-5-2, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043
With a tagline ‘Eat Your Catch at ZAUO’, you know this restaurant offers the freshest seafood around. Think farm to table, but the farm is right there within the restaurant and you are your own fisherman. Talk about working hard for your meal.
3-2-9, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023
Farmer's Market @ United Nations University (UNU)
A regular weekend fixture, over 40 stallholders sell fresh produce in the heart of the Aoyama and Omotesando district. Find the freshest local produce from the Kanto area like vegetables, fruits, houseplants, rice and other foodstuff here.
5 Chome-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001
Umegaoka Sushi No Midori
Affordable doesn’t have to mean bad quality, especially when you are in Japan. Apart from Genki Sushi, Umegaoka Sushi No Midori is another affordable sushi restaurant chain that even Tokyolites themselves patronise on the regular. Sushi lovers and dabblers alike, this sushi mecca is a must eat!
1-12-3, Dogenzaka, Tokyo Mark City East 4F, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043
Katsukichi is a restaurant specialising in tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet). Having been around for over 60 years specialising in just one dish, you know you are in for a gastronomic treat! P.S. If pork isn’t your preferred protein of choice, they also have some seafood dishes on their menu.
3-9-10 Shibuya, KDC Shibuya Building B1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002
Living in Shibuya Shōtō
We've only touched the tip of the iceberg as far as what to do, see, eat and drink in Shibuya Shōtō. With the many lifestyle amenities and Shibuya train station nearby, you won’t have to worry about getting groceries or finding your way around the bustling city.
If that prospect sounds like something you would like to consider, we have private 1-bedroom duplexes and studio apartments for rent in Hmlet Shibuya Shōtō. Check them out and book a viewing now!
With neighbours as cool as these, why wouldn’t you want to live in Shibuya? Find your home with Hmlet. View fully-furnished, whole apartments and rooms for rent in Tokyo.