arts & crafts
Every teen in Japan knows Shibuya, the center of youth culture. Tanned street hustlers and the distraction of five giant screens playing commercials and J-pop videos are the only obstacles slowing the constant gush of sailor-suited school kids pouring out of trains and into Japan’s busiest pedestrian crossing. “Three Minutes of Happiness,” the name of a local store, captures the spirit—shop, shop, shop. And with cheap stores, restaurants and bars, shopping is pursued with the passion of an Olympic event. Most of Shibuya gets sleepy after the last train (around midnight), but the partiers head to one of the many dance clubs or love hotels on Dogenzaka Hill.
If you’re looking for cute, traditional Japanese gifts and souvenirs—like yukata and kimono robes, noren tapestries, geta sandals, fans and other knickknacks—this is the place. With its ground-central location across from Zara in bustling Shibuya, Maruara boasts customers from over 120 countries. 16-8 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3461-0064. Open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri
11am-7pm, Sat, Sun & hols 1-7pm, closed Wed. www.maruara.com/en.html
The seventh floor of the world’s largest Tower Records is the best place to buy foreign magazines and newspapers, books about Japan, and Japanese and foreign literature. 1-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3496-3661. Open daily 10am-11pm.
This manga maniac’s paradise stocks pre-owned manga from the ’60s up through last week, as well as figurines, costumes, posters and more. B2 Shibuya Beam Bldg, 31-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3477-0777. Open daily noon-8pm.
The dominant department store operator in Shibuya caters mostly to the area's teenage shopping nuts, although Parco Part 1 has more for grown-ups and some good restaurants. 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3464-5111. Open daily 10am-9pm (restaurants until midnight).
This department store giant spans two buildings and houses everything imaginable. Check out the annex, Loft, for lifestyle supplies, stationery and souvenirs. 21-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3462-0111. Open Sun-Wed 10am-8pm, Thur-Sat 10am-9pm.
A staple of Tokyoite lifestyle shopping, this everything-you-ever-wanted-for-your-home-and-more store never ceases to amaze out-of-towners. 12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5489-5111. Open daily 10am-8:30pm.
Japan was made for Apple, as the crowds at this store prove. ABC Mart Koen Dori Bldg, 1-20-9 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6415-3300. Open daily 10am-9pm.
A one-stop tour through the world of cutting-edge gadgetry. Cameras, music equipment, mobile phones, everything. 1-24-12 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5466-1111. Open daily 10am-10pm.
This temple to teenybopper fashion explains why Shibuya girls are all identically dressed. Ten floors of slight variations on the trend du jour. Sizes run small. 2-29-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3477-5111. Open daily 10am-9pm.
The premier used brand clothing chain’s biggest and best store. Upstairs is smart and expensive; downstairs is casual and expensive. 1-17-7 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3476-6848. Open daily noon-9pm.
Discounted designer duds and big-and-tall sizes. 29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3770-1641. Open daily 10:30am-9:45pm.
Luxury watch shop selling everything from Rolex to Tag Heuer and Bulgari on the street between 109 and the Bunkamura. Duty free shopping available for tourists. 4F A2 Bldg, 28-3 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5458-5429. Open daily 11am-8pm. www.u-s.co.jp
Everything in music and video from A to Z. 1F-6F Takagi Bldg, 24-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5458-3411. Open daily 10am-11pm.
Want to memorialize your trip to Japan? What better way than with a tattoo! With thousands of designs to choose from and prices starting from just ¥10,000, Tattoo Church makes it easy. Stop by and see Carlos, tattoo artist to the stars, who speaks fluent English. The shop is located one minute from the west exit of Shimokitazawa station, just a short ride on the Keio Inokashira line from Shibuya. 2F 2-26-7 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-5478-6877. Open daily 11am-8pm. www.tattoochurch.carbonmade.com
This izakaya offers 100 original foods and drinks, as well as Japanese favorites and spins on Korean standards like kimchi and yakiniku. B1 Minagawa Bldg, 1-22-10 Jinnan, Shibuya. Tel: 03-5728-1099. Open daily 5pm-5am. www.doma-doma.com/menu ¥
A good place to sample the “soup curry” dining craze. The restaurant offers a mind-boggling 100 different spice levels. 30-15 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-2141. Open daily 11am-10pm. www.cocoro-soupcurry.com ¥
Casual Kyoto cuisine, from soymilk and tofu nabe to black cod cured in miso in a traditional Japanese interior. 4F Shibuya Mark City West, 1-12-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-4011. Open daily 11am-11pm. ¥¥
Partake in Tokyo’s latest culinary obsession at this upscale bar-restaurant that serves dishes infused with collagen, rumored to revitalize one’s complexion. 20-12 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3780-0880. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30-11:30pm, closed Sun and hols. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.one-garden.jp ¥¥
Modern-Japanese food and a spacious terrace high above Shibuya’s neon streets. 8F Parco Part 1, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6415-5489. Open Daily 11am-4pm Lunch 5-10:30pm Dinner. www.denstyle.com ¥¥
This is one of the better chains of Indian restaurants with good curries and knockout nan. 5F Jow Bldg, 30-5 Udagawacho, Shibuya. Tel: 03-3770-7677. Open daily 11:30am-11pm (L.O. 10.30pm). ¥
This friendly Nepalese restaurant and bar features hard-to-find Nepalese curries, tandoori grills and spicy salads. 3F DK Shibuya Bldg, 16-9 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3463-5181. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-1am. ¥
All-American burgers in an authentic deli/diner setting. The menu includes hot and cold sandwiches, salads, soups and side dishes. 1-40-10 Shimo-Uma, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3795-1144. Open daily 11am-4am (L.O. 3am). Nearest stn: Sangenjaya. ¥¥
Cloaked in a Hawaiian theme, this upscale fast-food chain offers great burgers, salads and onion rings. 1-10-4 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3409-3200. Open Daily 10am-11pm. ¥
The Tokyo version of the American steakhouse chain has all the old favorites like Bloomin’ Onion and grilled shrimp on the barbie. 34-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-7751. Open Mon-Fri 5pm-midnight (L.O. 11pm), Sat-Sun & hols noon-midnight (L.O. 11pm). ¥¥
Located underneath The Ruby Room nightclub, this California-style dining and wine bar offers soothing acid jazz tunes and a reasonably priced menu. 2-25-17 Dogenzaka, Shibuya. Tel: 03-3462-7766. Open daily 6pm-11pm (L.O. 10:30pm), Fri and Sat 6pm-3am. ¥¥
American cuisine, original cocktails and a celebratory ambience. 2F Haimanten Bldg, 1-19-3 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-3555. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-midnight; Sat-Sun 11:30am-3am. ¥
An Australian bar and grill with a large selection of wines by the bottle or glass. The Italian-Australian food menu includes oysters, lamb and pork chops. 1-26-22 Shoto, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3469-0125. Open daily 6pm-2am. www.arossa.com ¥¥
Underground Mr. Zoogunzoo
This diminutive wine bar near Aoyama University is renowned for its cellar of over 200 bottles from Down Under. B1 Aoyama City Bldg, 2-9-11 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3400-1496. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-2am (food L.O. 11pm). ¥¥¥
Chef Shuichi Sorimachi uses French cooking techniques to coax out the full flavor of farm-to-plate produce, offering affordable course meals for ¥2,800-¥5,800. 1-16-3 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3467-1247. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2pm, 6-11pm (LO), closed Mon. Nearest stn: Yoyogi Koen (exit 2) or Yoyogi Hachiman. www.leroux.jp ¥¥
German Farm Grill
Combining a rustic interior decked out with centuries-old European furnishings and authentic German cuisine prepared by the resident three-star chef, German Farm Grill also features a range of imported Bavarian beers. 8-1 Shinsencho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5457-2871. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, daily 5:30pm-3:30am.¥¥
Excellent food and wine with a view over the rooftops of Shibuya. They make better than average cocktails and the service is excellent. 15F E-Space Tower, 3-6 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5784-2121. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10:30pm (Bar til 2am); Sat-Sun 5:30-10:30pm. ¥¥¥
Relaxed ground-level restaurant in the quiet backstreets of Tomigaya, near Yoyogi Park. Organic wines (from ¥2,900) and delicious fired pizzas (¥1,500). 1-9-19 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3467-3479. Open Mon-Fri 11:45am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm (L.O. 10pm), Sat-Sun noon-2:45pm, 6-11pm (L.O. 10pm). Nearest stn: Yoyogi-Koen (Chiyoda line) or Yoyogi-Hachiman (Odakyu line). www.s-life.jp ¥¥
Good food and excellent wine at “Tokyo’s first Portuguese restaurant,” located in the charming backstreets of Shinsen, behind the Bunkamura. 1-25-6 Shoto, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5738-0125. Open daily noon-3pm (L.O. 2pm), 6-11pm (L.O. 10:30pm). www.manuel.jp ¥¥
Alcatraz + ER
With a quirky “medical prison” theme, the scantily clad custodians are more likely to get you salivating than the standard izakaya menu. The profusion of chains and the entertainment value of this faux dungeon make it perfect for parties rather than dinner a deux. 2F Harvest Bldg, 2-13-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3770-7100. Open: Sun-Thu 5pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 5pm-4am. ¥¥
Vegan Healing Café
This homey eatery offers falafel burgers, tempeh “sausage,” tofu almond tarts and organic soy lattes on a funky Shibuya backstreet near Tokyu Hands. 6-20 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5489-5185. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-9pm (L.O. 8pm), closed Mon. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.vegancafe.jp ¥
This beer bar on Meiji Dori has more than a hundred Belgian beers—blonde, red, pale and dark—in tiny or massive 750ml bottles. B1 3-18-7 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3409-4442. Open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-2am; Sun 4pm-midnight. www.eurobeer.net/belgo
Tachinomiya standing bar on the corner of Route 246 and Kyu-Yamate Dori with dozens of sake served cold, hot or at room temperature. The bartenders are happy to make recommendations. 9-7 Shinsencho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5728-2085. Open daily 5pm-3am. Nearest stn: Shibuya or Shinsen.
A favorite hip lounge for foreigners and Japanese alike, this venue regularly hosts
art and music events. Check out the happy hour on weekdays from 6-8pm. 1-6-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3407-5166. Open Mon-Wed 6pm-midnight, Thur-Sat 6pm-2am, closed Sun & hols. www.cozmoscafe.com
This futuristic bar featured in the movie Babel offers most drinks in the ¥600-¥1,000 range. 7F Shibuya Beam, 31-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5456-5767. Open Tue-Thu 6pm-1am (L.O. midnight), Fri-Sat 6pm-5am (L.O. 4am), Sun & hols 6pm-midnight (L.O. 11pm), closed Mon. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.j-popcafe.com
As the name implies, the hip-hop, soul and R&B crowd stops here. Admission and hours vary. 2-3F Dr. Jeekan’s Bldg, 2-4 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3461-8806.
This Shibuya spot introduced Japan to the bar-restaurant-club concept featured in its Paris affiliate. 16-9 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5428-5100. Open daily 11:30am-midnight.
Little ol’ Loop has kept on grooving even as other clubs succumbed to pressures of competition or the police. B1, 2-1-13 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku.Tel: 03-3797-9933. Hours vary. www.club-loop.com
Funky basement nightclub and lounge that hosts an eclectic array of events and parties sits in a building that also houses health-conscious café Respekt and bookstore CookCoop on the first two floors. B1, 1-11-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6418-8141. Hours vary. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.sus-shibuya.com
The Ruby Room
This old-school lounge boasts an eclectic lineup of DJs and live music. 2-25-17 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3780-3022. Open 7pm-5am. Hours vary. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.rubyroomtokyo.com
Cutting-edge DJs, a giant dance floor and state-of-the-art sound system keep faithful clubbers coming back. 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-0039. Hours vary.
This chic Belgian pub has savory Belgian pub food, draft beers in glasses the size of buckets, and a repertoire of Trappist, Lambic, Abbaye and strong golden ale brands. B1 Yagi Bldg, 3-6-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5774-7972. Open Mon-Sat 11:30-2am, 5pm-1am, Sun 4-11pm. Closed every third Sunday of the month.
Want a true British pub experience? With over 6,000 rock albums to select from and 19 beers on tap—including Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen and Jever—The Aldgate has just what you’re after. The kitchen serves up tasty appetizers, British sausages and the best fish & chips in Tokyo. And since no British pub would be complete without football, The Aldgate broadcasts games live on four screens. Vegetarian food available. 3F Shin-Iwasaki Bldg, 30-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3462-2983. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-2am, Sun & hols 5pm-2am. www.the-aldgate.com
One in a chain of well-known Irish-style watering holes with live music and a friendly atmosphere. 2F Dogenzaka Center Bldg, 2-29-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5459-1736. Open Mon-Sat noon-1am, Sun & hols noon-11pm.
Shibuya Crossing (hachiko exit) Every three minutes complete anarchy ensues at the world’s busiest intersection. Observe it from the second floor of Starbucks or join the troops|109 Building Clothing and accessories for the über-trendy high school girl|Tokyu Hands A seven-floor emporium of power tools, posters, and everything in between. Great for souvenirs|Tower RecordS The biggest in the world, this Tower sells CDs galore, and English books on the seventh floor|Bic Camera All the latest consumer electronics at the cheapest prices (check voltage and system compatibility before buying)|Hachiko A statue of a loyal (some might say stupid) dog who waited for his owner for years after he died—and Shibuya’s favorite meeting place|Dogenzaka Night clubs, sex clubs and love hotels: the place to find it, buy it and get it on
|The Faithful Dog
If you arrange to meet someone in Shibuya, the chances are you’ll rendezvous at the statue of Hachiko the dog. But Hachiko is more than a meeting place; he is the subject of one of the best-loved folk tales in Japan.
“Faithful Dog Hachiko,” so the story goes, accompanied his master to Shibuya station every morning, and waited for his return at night. After his master passed away in 1925, Hachiko continued waiting at the station every day until he died.
An alternative version of events says that the real reason Hachiko returned to the station was the generosity of the nearby food-stall owners, and that yakitori sticks were found in his stomach when he died. A stuffed Hachiko now resides as an exhibit at the National Science Museum in Ueno.
Japanese are keen collectors, and particularly so when it comes to music. Shibuya is testament to that fact, as it’s recognized as housing the most vinyl record stores per square meter on the planet. Close by is the world’s largest Tower Records with 50,000 square feet of the latest CDs, records and related paraphernalia. Take an exit for Udagawacho. The music stores are behind Tokyu Hands department store.
Just two stops from Shibuya on the Keio Inokashira line, “Shimokita” is a neighborhood full of funky cafés, vintage shops, trendy bars and atmospheric performance halls. In 2004 the local city council approved a controversial plan to steamroll a highway through this warren of backstreets, so wander them while you can. Here are three spots not to miss.
Hemp Restaurant Asa
Healthy menu of food and drinks made with hemp seeds or oil. Try the ¥1,200 weekend lunch set. 3F, 2-18-5 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3412-4118. Open Mon-Tue and Thu-Fri 5-11:30pm, Sat-Sun & hols noon-11:30pm, closed Wed. Menu in Japanese and English. Nearest stn: Shimokitazawa, south exit. www.asanomi.jp ¥
Named after Andy Warhol’s NYC studio, this comfortable lounge mixes music and artistic vision with a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. 3F Patio Shimo-Kitazawa Bldg, 2-11-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3795-3991. Open daily 11:30am-3am. Nearest stn: Shimokitazawa. www.a-works.gr.jp/freefactory
A hidden gem for the serious beer enthusiast, this bar features 25 taps with a rotating, predominately Japanese microbrew menu. 2F Sankyu Bldg, 2-9-3 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3485-9090. Open Wed-Mon 5pm-1am, closed Tue. Nearest stn: Shimokitazawa. www.ushitora.jp