7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Shibuya Crossing!

7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Shibuya Crossing!

Shibuya Crossing has become one of the most iconic Tokyo locations, and immortalized in many films and TV series. At peak times, as many as 3,000 people may criss-cross the intersection in one go, so it’s no wonder the sight is often described as a sea of people, something to be seen to be believed. And that is how it can be enjoyed, as a sight in itself, whether to appreciate with the senses, or for photo opportunities.



 

7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Shibuya Crossing!

 

1. Where, How and When

Shibuya Crossing is easy to find from the Hachikō Exit on the west side of Shibuya Station. This busy station serves JR East’s Saikyō and Yamanote lines; the Tokyo Metro Ginza, Hanzomon and Fukutoshin lines; and Keio Inokashira, Tokyu Den-en-toshi, and Tokyu Toyoko private lines. The best times to photograph the crossing are early morning or early evening, especially when it’s raining and the intersection is a sea of umbrellas and there are neon reflections on the ground.

 

2. Cafe Views

Starbucks’ 2nd floor and the L’Occitane Cafe’s 2nd and 3rd floors are the popular spots for viewing the crossing… IF you can get a window seat! I’m not sure how other photographers feel about shooting through glass, but I hate it. Even if the glass isn’t too dirty, there are still problems with reflections, so a polarizing filter can help eliminate them. Another trick is to use a flexible rubber lens hood that you can place up against the glass to eliminate reflections from behind and to the side of you.

 

3. You Don’t Drink Coffee?

If queuing for a drink or a meal you don’t really want seems a waste of time, there’s a free vantage point from the Shibuya Mark City Walkway. Located between the JR Yamanote Line’s Tamagawa Exit and the Keio Inokashira Line Exit, its glass-lined walls let you observe the intersection from about a 2nd floor height. However, it’s often crowded, so take care not to block the path while you’re taking photos!

 

4. A Bird’s Eye View

On the 7th floor of the same building as L’Occitane Cafe is the family restaurant, Gusto (I always liked their beef stew!). The diner offers a good location for looking down on the crossing. Many visitors like to try tilt-shift photography from up there, making it look like a toy town. Gusto is a really good option if you want a high vantage point and are hungry!

 

5. The Aerial View

A little-known vantage point is on the 25th floor of the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu. Go to Shibuya Mark City, the same building as the Keio Inokashira line station, and you should see a small elevator lobby on the left. Take the lift up to the 25th floor; this is where the hotel’s restaurants are but it’s open to the public. Just go straight out of the lift and you’ll come to the window with an amazing view of the crossing below.

 

6. Periscope Up!

Photographing Shibuya Crossing from the street is possible, though things you’re allowed to stand on are few and far between. I’ve even seen photographers with portable step ladders in the past! However, if you have a monopod and a remote release it’s easy; just secure your camera to the pod and raise it high above your head. Many cameras today have articulated LCD screens, which make it even easier to see what your camera sees.

 

7. Join the Melee!

There are great photo opportunities on Shibuya Crossing itself. With your camera at waist level and your widest wide-angle lens, just move with and against the crowds, shooting blind in continuous mode. Pre-focus your lens at around 1 meter and choose a fast shutter speed (at least 1/2000 sec) to compensate for your movement. With no distant scenery to think about, an aperture of f/4 should give you enough depth of field. You might have to repeat this a few times before you have one or two really nice compositions, but it will be worth the effort, especially if you can get some shots under a canopy of umbrellas.

 

Conclusion

For photo enthusiasts visiting Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing will surely be on their bucket list of things to shoot. Yet, there are few views that so ably demonstrate the density of Tokyo’s population as well as Shibuya Crossing at rush hour, so it’s definitely a sight that can be appreciated by anyone, with or without a camera.

 

7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Shibuya Crossing!

1. Where, How and When
2. Cafe Views
3. You Don’t Drink Coffee?
4. A Bird’s Eye View
5. The Aerial View
6. Periscope Up!
7. Join the Melee!