Shibuya Crossing

Historic Shibuya

Shibuya is one of the many thriving districts of Tokyo. It is famous for being the bustling shopping, dining and entertainment hub around Shibuya Station. Many of Japan’s renowned and upcoming fashion and entertainment trendsetters get their start at Shibuya. Dozens of major department store chains are also located in the area, making it a shopper’s paradise. There’s always something for everyone at Shibuya.

Bokeh of Shibuya Shopping Street

Shibuya Shopping Street.

Two of the busiest railway stations in Japan and world, Shibuya Station and Shinjuku station, are located at Shibuya. Shibuya was once the site of a castle where the Shibuya family lived from the 11th century through the Edo period. When the Yamanote Line opened in 1885, Shibuya began to establish itself as a busy railway terminal.

The villages of Naka-Shibuya, Kami-Shibuya and Shimo-Shibuya coming together to form Shibuya within Minami-Toshima County came to be in 1889. The village was comprised of the territory of modern-day Shibuya Station including the areas of Aoyama, Hiroo, Ebisu and Daikanyama. Shibuya officially became a town in 1909. It yet again merged with the neighboring towns of Yoyohata (comprised of  Yoyogi and Hatagaya) and Sendagaya (comprised of Sendagaya, Harajuku and Jingumae), which all eventually became part of Tokyo City in 1932 with Shibuya becoming an urban special ward under the Local Autonomy Act in 1947.

The opening of the Tokyu Toyoko Line in 1932 cemented Shibuya’s status as being a key terminal in the middle of Tokyo and Yokohama. Further developments followed a year after with the Keio Inokashira Line and a few years later, the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.

Hachiko Statue at Shibuya station

Hachiko Statue at Shibuya station.

Probably one of the most notable stories concerning Shibuya is the timeless tale of friendship and loyalty is that of Hachikō. In 1924, Hachikō became the pet of a man named Hidesaburo Oeno, a professor of agriculture at the Tokyo University. Hachikō was an Akita with golden brown fur and cream markings on his face. The faithful companion would wait for his master at Shibuya Station every day even after the unfortunate death of Oeno. Hachikō continued to wait at the station until his own death in 1935 and eventually becoming a national celebrity for his never-ending loyalty. A statue of Hachikō was built adjacent Shibuya Station and the surrounding Hachikō Square is now one of the most popular meeting places in the area.