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Shibuya City
Shibuya scramble crossing
Shibuya scramble crossing
Flag of Shibuya
Location of Shibuya in Tokyo
Location of Shibuya in Tokyo
Shibuya is located in Special wards of Tokyo
Shibuya is located in Tokyo
Shibuya (Tokyo)
Shibuya is located in Kanto Area
Shibuya (Kanto Area)
Shibuya is located in Japan
Shibuya (Japan)
Coordinates: 35°39′34″N 139°42′02″E / 35.65944°N 139.70056°E / 35.65944; 139.70056Coordinates: 35°39′34″N 139°42′02″E / 35.65944°N 139.70056°E / 35.65944; 139.70056
 • MayorKen Hasebe (since April 2015)
 • Total15.11 km2 (5.83 sq mi)
 (May 1, 2016)
 • Total221,801
 • Density14,679.09/km2 (38,018.7/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
City officeShibuya 1-18-21, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8010

Shibuya (渋谷区 Shibuya-ku) is a special ward in Tokyo, Japan. A major commercial and business center, it houses the two busiest railway stations in the world, Shinjuku Station (southern half) and Shibuya Station.

As of May 1, 2016, it has an estimated population of 221,801 and a population density of 14,679.09 people per km2 (38,018.7/sq mi). The total area is 15.11 km2 (5.83 sq mi).

The name "Shibuya" is also used to refer to the shopping district which surrounds Shibuya Station, one of Tokyo's busiest railway stations; this area is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan, particularly for young people, and as a major nightlife area.


Shibuya was historically the site of a castle in which the Shibuya family resided from the 11th century through the Edo period. Following the opening of the Yamanote Line in 1885, Shibuya began to emerge as a railway terminal for southwestern Tokyo and eventually as a major commercial and entertainment center.

The village of Shibuya was incorporated in 1889 by the merger of the villages of Kami-Shibuya, Naka-Shibuya and Shimo-Shibuya within Minami-Toshima County (Toyotama County from 1896); the village covered the territory of modern-day Shibuya Station area as well as the Hiroo, Daikanyama, Aoyama, and Ebisu areas. Shibuya became a town in 1909; the town of Shibuya merged with the neighboring towns of Sendagaya (which included the modern Sendagaya, Harajuku and Jingumae areas) and Yokohama (which included the modern Yoyogi and Hatagaya areas) to form Shibuya suburban ward of Tokyo-fu (outside of the central Tokyo City) in 1932. Tokyo-fu became Tokyo Metropolis in 1943, and the present-day Shibuya-ku was established as an urban special ward on March 15, 1947.

The Tokyu Toyoko Line opened in 1932, making Shibuya a key terminal between Tokyo and Yokohama, and was joined by the forerunner of the Keio Inokashira Line in 1933 and the forerunner of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line in 1938. One of the best-known stories concerning Shibuya is the story of Hachikō, a dog who waited on his late master at Shibuya Station every day from 1923 to 1935, eventually becoming a national celebrity for his loyalty. A statue of Hachikō was built adjacent to the station, and the surrounding Hachikō Square is now the most popular meeting point in the area.

During the occupation of Japan, Yoyogi Park was used as a housing compound for U.S. personnel known as "Washington Heights." The U.S. military left in 1964, and much of the park was repurposed as venues for the 1964 Summer Olympics. The ward itself served as part of the athletics 50  km walk and marathon course during the 1964 games.[1]

Shibuya has achieved great popularity among young people since the early 1980s. There are several famous fashion department stores in Shibuya. Shibuya 109 is a major shopping center near Shibuya Station, particularly famous as the origin of the kogal subculture. Called "Ichi-Maru-kyū," which translates as 1–0–9 in Japanese, the name is actually a pun on that of the corporation that owns it — Tōkyū (which sounds like 10–9 in Japanese; this is numerical substitution, a form of goroawase wordplay); the contemporary fashion scene in Shibuya extends northward from Shibuya Station to Harajuku, where youth culture reigns; Omotesandō, the zelkova tree- and fashion brand-lined street; and Sendagaya, Tokyo's apparel design district.

During the late 1990s, Shibuya also became known as the center of the IT industry in Japan, it was often called "Bit Valley" in English,[citation needed] a pun on both "Bitter Valley", the literal translation of "Shibuya", as well as bit, the computer term for binary digits.

2019 New Year's Day vehicle attack[edit]

During the early morning of January 1, 2019, a 21-year-old man named Kazuhiro Kusakabe drove his minicar into the crowd of pedestrians celebrating New Year's Day on Takeshita Street; the man claimed his actions were a terrorist attack, and later stated that his intention was to retaliate against the usage of the death penalty for Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult members. The man attempted to flee from the scene but was soon apprehended by authorities in a nearby park.[2][3]


Shibuya in 1952

Shibuya includes many well-known commercial and residential districts such as Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Higashi, Omotesandō, Sendagaya, and Yoyogi.


Politics and government[edit]

Shibuya is run by a city assembly of 34 elected members; the mayor is Toshitake Kuwahara, an independent backed by the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito.


The same-sex partnership certificate[edit]

In 2015, as the council passed "Ordinance for Promoting Respect of Gender Equality and Diversity in the Ward",[4] Shibuya Ward became the first Japanese municipality that issues same-sex partnership certificates[5] According to this ordinance, same-sex couples who live in Shibuya are allowed "to rent apartments together, and have gained hospital visitation rights as family members".[5] Shimizu expects the ordinance to bring three benefits to same-sex couples: "(1) rental housing within the ward (co-signing of tenancy agreements for municipal/public housing), (2) medical institutions within the ward (hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights as family members), and (3) employment conditions within the ward (e.g. family benefits, congratulations and condolence leave)".[4] In order to apply for the certificate, couples must be 20-years-old or older residents of Shibuya Ward and have to state that "their relationship is based on love and mutual trust" in a notarized document.[6] Koyuki Higashi (a former member of the Takarazuka Review) and Hiroko Masuhara (an entrepreneur), a lesbian couple, were the first to receive this certification.[6] Since the Shibuya Ward passed the ordinance, seven other municipalities in Japan have begun offering similar certificates.[7]

The BBC notes that the ordinance has little binding legal force, saying it "amounts to a moral obligation on Shibuya businesses, which will not be penalised if they do not recognise the certificate", though their names will be posted on the ward's website if they violate the ordinance.[8] Shimizu says the system "is not equivalent to marriage, as it does not accord same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to inheritance, joint filing of taxes, or social welfare";[4] as it requires at least a hundred thousand yen to apply for the certificate, it can be restrictive to some couples.[9] Shimizu argues that Shibuya Ward has been criticized for pinkwashing as "while passing this ordinance, the administration also moved to expel the homeless in Miyashita Park and other parks in the ward".[4] Pointing out that the mayor of Shibuya Ward in an interview stated that this is not a matter of human rights, but of diversity, Yuri Horie claimed that the term of diversity seems to be used to divide citizens into the good and the bad; it raises only the ones who contribute to the consumeristic society as representer of "diversity of sexuality" while excluding the useless ones.[10] Yuki Tsuchiya, a lesbian activist, also argues that LGBT individuals are used to promote the ward.[11]

Sightseeing and historic sites[edit]

Love hotels concentrated in Dōgenzaka

Green areas[edit]


Streets and places[edit]

  • Aoyama Dōri, a major east-west thoroughfare
  • Center Gai
  • Dōgen-zaka, a road in central Shibuya famous for its surrounding nightclubs and love hotels
  • Komazawa Dōri – running past Daikanyama, down the hill to Ebisu, crossing Meiji Dōri and up the hill through Higashi and Hiroo. The road stops at the Shuto Expressway in Minami Aoyama. Famed for its beautiful trees that turn bright yellow in autumn, cafes, restaurants, and a large replica of Michelangelo's David outside of the Papas building. Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi have their official residence in a palace in large gardens off Komazawadori in Higashi.[12]
  • Kōen Street, in central Shibuya between Shibuya Station and Yoyogi Park
  • Meiji Dōri, a major north-south thoroughfare parallel to the Yamanote Line
  • Miyamasu-zaka
  • Nonbei-Yokocho, a small street near the rail tracks famous for its small bars and old Tokyo feel.
  • Omotesandō, an avenue leading up to the Meiji Shrine with a number of famous-brand boutiques
  • Spain-zaka
  • Takeshita Street, a shopping street through Harajuku
  • Yamanote Street
  • Shibuya
  • Ebisu
  • Harajuku
  • Hiroo
  • Sendagaya
  • Yoyogi

Shibuya Crossing[edit]

Shibuya scramble crossing at night
Shibuya at night
Shibuya shopping street
The Shibuya scramble crossing

Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing,[13] it is located in front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō exit and stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection. The statue of Hachikō, a dog, between the station and the intersection, is a common meeting place and almost always crowded.

Three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings overlook the crossing, as well as many advertising signs; the Starbucks store overlooking the crossing is also one of the busiest in the world. Its heavy traffic and inundation of advertising have led to it being compared to the Times Square intersection in New York City and Dundas Square intersection in Toronto. Tokyo-based architecture professor Julian Worrall has said Shibuya Crossing is "a great example of what Tokyo does best when it's not trying."[14]

Shibuya Crossing is often featured in movies and television shows which take place in Tokyo, such as Lost in Translation,[15] The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Resident Evil: Afterlife and Retribution, as well as on domestic and international news broadcasts; the iconic video screen featured in the above movies, in particular Lost in Translation with its 'walking dinosaur' scene, was taken down for a period of time and replaced with static advertising, although it resumed operation in July 2013.[16] Contemporary British painter Carl Randall (who spent 10 years living in Tokyo as an artist) depicted the area in his large artwork 'Shibuya', exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London 2013.,[17][18][19] Scramble Crossing is a major location in the video game The World Ends With You, which is set entirely in the neighbourhood of Shibuya.

On the southwest side of Shibuya station, there is another popular meeting place with a statue called "Moyai"; the statue resembles a Moai statue, and it was given to Shibuya by the people of Niijima Island in 1980.

The crossing was featured in the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony to promote the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[20][21]



The main station in Shibuya is Shibuya Station; the southern half of Shinjuku Station, including the New South Entrance, is located in Shibuya.



Several companies are headquartered in Shibuya.

Calpis,[22] Casio,[23] Mixi,[24] Niwango,[25] Nihon Dempa Kogyo,[26] and Tokyu Corporation have their headquarters in Shibuya.[27] East Japan Railway Company,[28] and Taito Corporation have their headquarters in Yoyogi, Shibuya.[29] 81 Produce has its headquarters in Tomigaya, Shibuya.[30][31]

The publication The Diplomat has its headquarters in Ebisu, Shibuya.[32]

Foreign operations[edit]

Campbells Soup's Japan division is headquartered in Shibuya, on the 10th floor of the Tokyo Tatemono Hiroo Building;[33] the ABB Group's Japan headquarters are located in Shibuya.[34][35] Virgin Atlantic Airways's Japan office is on the sixth floor of the POLA Ebisu Building in Shibuya.[36] MTV Japan Ltd., which controls Nickelodeon Japan, has its headquarters in Shibuya.[37]

Former operations[edit]

At one time Smilesoft had its headquarters in the CT Sasazuka Building in Shibuya.[38] In May 1985 the headquarters of Bandai Visual moved to Shibuya. In March 1990 the headquarters moved to Shinjuku.[39]

A.D. Vision - Tokyo, Y.K., the Japanese subsidiary of A.D. Vision, was in Shibuya.[40] Acclaim Entertainment once had its Tokyo office in the Nomora Building;[41] the Japanese subsidiary of Titus Interactive, Titus Japan K.K., had its head office on the eighth floor of the Kotubuki Dogenzaka Building in Dōgenzaka.[42] The former animation studio; Group TAC was also located here.

Square Enix had its headquarters in Yoyogi before moving to Shinjuku ward in 2012.



Colleges and universities[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

The Shibuya Ward (The Shibuya City) operates public elementary and junior high schools, while Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education operates public senior high schools.

  • Aoyama High School [ja] - public co-ed school, in Jingūmae
  • First Commercial High School - public co-ed school, in Daikanyama
  • Hiroo High School - public co-ed school, in Higashi
  • Aoyama Gakuin Elementary, Junior and Senior High School - private co-ed school, in Shibuya, affiliated with Aoyama Gakuin University
  • Kokugakuin Senior High School - private co-ed school, in Jingūmae
  • Jissen Joshi-Gakuen Elementary, Junior and Senior High School - private girls' school, in Higashi, affiliated with Jissen Women's University
  • Kantō Kokusai Senior High School - private co-ed school, in Honchō
  • Hiroo Gakuen Junior and Senior High School - private co-ed school, in Hiroo
  • Fujimigaoka Junior and Senior High School - private girls' school, in Sasazuka
  • International School of Sacred Heart, in Hiroo
  • The British School in Tokyo Shibuya Campus
  • Jingūmae International Exchange School (JIES), within the Shibuya Ward Jingūmae Elementary School in Omotesando

Public libraries[edit]

Shibuya operates several public libraries, including the Central Library, the Nishihara Library, the Shibuya Library, the Tomigaya Library, the Sasazuka Library, the Honmachi Library, and the Rinsen Library. In addition, the Yoyogi Youth Hall houses the Yoyogi Library Room.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1964 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. Part 1. p. 74.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d Shimizu, Yudai (2015). "Shibuya Wardʼs "Same-sex Partnership Ordinance"" (PDF). CGS Newsletter. 18: 5.
  5. ^ a b .McCurry, Justin (2015-11-05). "Same-sex couple receives Japan's first 'partnership' certificate". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  6. ^ a b Murai, Shusuke (2015-11-05). "Tokyo's Shibuya and Setagaya wards issue first same-sex partnership papers". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  7. ^ Koide, Daiki (2018-03-15). 宮崎)宮大の学生 同性パートナーシップ条例案提出:朝日新聞デジタル. 朝日新聞デジタル (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  8. ^ "Tokyo ward certifies 'gay marriage'". BBC News. 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  9. ^ 渋谷区の同性婚条例に疑問の声 「費用10万円」申請しないカップルも. 東スポWeb - 東京スポーツ新聞社 (in Japanese). 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  10. ^ Domon, Minoru (2016-05-18). 「レズビアン」という生き方 キリスト教のなかで「性」や「愛」を考える 大阪聖パウロ教会で講演会(1). クリスチャントゥデイ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  11. ^ 渋谷区「同性婚条例」にダメ出し 当事者から出てきた冷ややかな声. 東スポWeb - 東京スポーツ新聞社 (in Japanese). 2015-03-28. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  12. ^ Kunaicho |The Imperial Palace and other Imperial Household Establishments
  13. ^ Murray Buechner, Maryanne. "Tokyo: 10 Things To Do". Time: Travel.
  14. ^ Nakagawa, Ulara. "15 sights that make Tokyo so fascinating". Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  15. ^ Glionna, John M. (2011-05-23). "Japan's orderly Shibuya Scramble". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-08-28.
  16. ^ 渋谷駅ハチ公口交差点前「QFRONT」ビル壁面の大型ビジョン「Q’S EYE」をリニューアル!(2013/7/11). Tokyu. 2013-11-07. Archived from the original on 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  17. ^ BBC World Service: World Update. ‘Carl Randall - Painting the faces in Japan's crowded cities’., BBC, 2016
  18. ^ ‘Carl Randall's Japan - the best BP Travel Award Exhibition ever!’., Making a Mark, London, 2012
  19. ^ 'Shibuya drawing’., Carl Randall artist website, 2012
  20. ^ Palazzo, Chiara (August 22, 2016). "Shinzo Abe emerges from a green pipe disguised as Super Mario during Rio Closing Ceremony". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  21. ^ Samuelson, Kate (August 22, 2016). "Shinzo Abe Dresses as Super Mario for Rio Closing Ceremony". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  22. ^ "Company Outline Archived 2010-02-05 at the Wayback Machine." Calpis. Retrieved on February 12, 2010.
  23. ^ "Corporate." Casio. Retrieved on February 25, 2009
  24. ^ "Company Overview." Mixi. Retrieved on April 3, 2012. "Headquarter address Sumitomo Fudosan Shibuya First Tower 7F, 1-2-20 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0011, Japan"
  25. ^ "会社情報." Niwango. Retrieved on February 26, 2011. "〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前1-15-2 ニコニコ本社ビル."
  26. ^ "Profile." Nihon Dempa Kogyo. Retrieved on May 16, 2019.
  27. ^ "会社概要 Archived 2009-11-22 at the Wayback Machine." Tokyu Corporation. Retrieved on November 27, 2009.
  28. ^ East Japan Railway Company. "JR East Corporate Data". Retrieved 20 June 2009.(in English)
  29. ^ "Company Overview Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine." Taito Corporation. Retrieved on January 30, 2011. "Head Office 15F, Shinjuku Bunka Quint Bldg,3-22-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-8648, JAPAN."
  30. ^ 株式会社81プロデュース 会社概要. 81 Produce. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  31. ^ 株式会社81プロデュース アクセスマップ. 81 Produce. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  32. ^ "Contact Us." The Diplomat. Retrieved on June 10, 2013. "The Diplomat 701 Ebisu MF Bldg. 4-6-1 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013 Japan"
  33. ^ "Profile." Campbells Soup Japan. Retrieved on November 10, 2008.
  34. ^ "Addresses in Japan." ABB Group. Retrieved on February 6, 2009.
  35. ^ "Tokyo (26-1 Sakuragaoka-cho)." ABB Group. Retrieved on February 6, 2009.
  36. ^ "Japan Office." Virgin Atlantic Airways. Retrieved on 14 December 2009.
  37. ^ "会社情報." Nickelodeon Japan. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  38. ^ "会社概要." Smilesoft. February 12, 2002. Retrieved on February 11, 2010.
  39. ^ "History." Bandai Visual. Retrieved on March 16, 2010.
  40. ^ "Contact ADV Archived 2009-08-02 at the Wayback Machine." A.D. Vision. Retrieved on May 8, 2009.
  41. ^ "Worldwide locations." Acclaim Entertainment. June 23, 2000. Retrieved on July 8, 2010.
  42. ^ "Contact." Titus Interactive. 3 June 2004. Retrieved on 4 September 2012.
  43. ^ "Shibuya City Office/Library". Retrieved 2014-02-07.

External links[edit]