Tokyo’s ‘Shibuya Scramble Crossing’ is famously known as the busiest intersection in the world. With up to 3000 people walking across the section at one time, the crossing provides for a sight to behold. With flashing ad boards, busy traffic caused by cars, buses and bikes, shops on every corner; this crossing is a must-visit if you are in Tokyo. However, there are certain times during the week, where you definitely want to make sure that you are viewing the crossing.
So, when is the best time to see Shibuya Crossing? The perfect time to see Shibuya Crossing would be on a Friday night at around 7 pm. This is the busiest time of the week, with people leaving work and going to their weekend evening activities. As the crossing is busier, the viewing points can be as well. For a busy viewing with a comfortable viewpoint spot, visit the crossing on any other evening after 7 pm.
Now that you know the best time to visit, there are a few other things to take into account. It is important to know which viewing spot you want to go to, so that you can get your perfect picture of the madness that takes place on the crossing. Read on to make sure that you know everything you need in order to make your trip to Shibuya crossing the best it can be!
The Best Times To See The Crossing
3000 people crossing an intersection all at once is truly a unique sight to see. When the cars stop at the lights, everyone scrambles across the roads to get where they need to be.
The crossing has made a huge reputation across the world and it is now extremely famous. Thousands of tourists over the world visit Shibuya Crossing every single year when visiting the city of Tokyo. It would make sense if you wanted to visit it on your travels as well. After all, it is very hard to avoid anyway, with it adjoining roads to many popular areas of the city.
But, what are the best times for you to visit?
Well, that depends on you and your visit!
I say this because if you are wanting to see the crossing at its very busiest to ensure you get the maximum viewing experience, then you’ll undoubtedly want to go on a Friday night. However, if you are someone who wants a slightly more chilled out experience, or you are not staying in Tokyo on a Friday; then any evening after 7 pm would be best.
Why is the evening such a good time to visit, I hear you ask? Put simply, it’s just the busiest time of the day for the crossing. This is the time when people usually finish work and are either heading home, getting something to eat or going to participate in an evening activity.
Now, on a Friday night, this is multiplied even more. This is due to the fact that the amount of people going out at night and crossing the streets is much larger.
Obviously for the best viewing of the crossing you want to be on higher ground. On a Friday night, the best viewing spots can become extremely packed with people who have the same aim as you, seeing the busiest time of the week for the crossing.
This is why I strongly recommend that if you wish to have a much more chilled out experience when viewing the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, avoid visiting on a Friday night (at prime hours anyway).
So, How Busy Is Shibuya Crossing?
On average, the crossing has around 2000-2500 pedestrians crossing it at each time. However, at the busiest times, the crossing can see an astounding 3000 people crossing at a single moment.
In fact, the Starbucks that is one of the viewing points listed later on in this post, is also the worlds busiest Starbucks.
With over 2 million people crossing every single day, Shibuya Crossing is truly remarkable.
Why Is Shibuya Crossing So Busy?
So, why is this intersection so busy? For starters, Tokyo being the worlds most populated city may be a good initial thinking point. The city is home to over 37 million residents which is extraordinarily higher than any other city in the world.
Shibuya Crossing links a few of Tokyo’s most famous spots all together on one intersection.
Now, imagine it’s Friday or Saturday night, everyone has finished work. This intersection has some people crossing to the station to get home, and others are on their way to their weekly weekend activity.
This, mixed with the most popular districts of the city and the pure astounding population of Tokyo itself, provides for an immense crossing that never sleeps.
The Best Places To See Shibuya Crossing
When visiting Tokyo, it is inevitable that you will end up at Shibuya Crossing at least once or twice. And, while this will be an amazing experience in itself, you may be left wanting a slightly better view from above.
Well, fear not. I’ve done some research and I have put together a list of the best viewing spots of the scramble crossing. Whether you take a bite to eat or drink coffee while gazing down on the thousands of people walking simultaneously; these spots are the best of the best!
Starbucks (Shibuya Tsutaya)
This is not only probably the best up-front and close-up view of the crossing, but it is in fact also the busiest Starbucks in the world!
The coffee shop stays busy all day long and finding a seat can prove to be difficult. It is even harder to get a window seat due to the amazing view of the crossing. So, if you are visiting based on the aim of sitting right at the long glass windows to get a good view, I would probably lower your expectations.
After all, it is the busiest Starbucks in the world!
This doesn’t mean you won’t get to see the view at all though, so don’t worry. People gather up behind the window seats to get pictures until their heart’s content. You may just have to wait your turn to get to the windows, as there is usually a queue.
Dealing with the huge amount of people within the coffee shop will all be worth it. As this Starbucks has a truly amazing view of the Crossing that does not put you too high up. This spot is ideal if you want an up-close and personal view of the crossing. Also, it’s great for those that are scared of heights but still want to see it!
Located in the Shibuya Scramble Square building (the tallest building in the Shibuya area), is the Shibuya Sky observation deck. The building includes many shops and restaurants on the 47 floors.
However, the Shibuya Sky deck is the most important thing here.
Almost 230m above ground, is the observation deck for the building. It provides amazing views of various landmarks around Tokyo such as the Skytree, Tokyo Tower and more importantly, Shibuya Crossing.
When entering the sky deck for the first time, you will be greeted by many futuristic lights and patterns that are a whole separate experience in themselves.
Shibuya Sky is a great spot to have a look at the crossing in action. However, be aware that it is very high up and the view will be a much more distant one compared to other spots on this list.
The Shibuya Station Bridge
The cheapest and easiest way you can view the busiest intersection in the world! When exiting Shibuya Station, you can find a bridge that leads the station to the Mark City Shopping Centre.
The bridge has long vertical glass windows going along it so that you can see the crossing clearly. It can get very busy as everyone passing by will want to take a look or get a picture, but if you wait your turn and aren’t in a rush for a train, you can make it work.
Shibuya Crossing is a remarkably busy location that will have you feeling like you are in a movie. Walking across the roads that were featured in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift is an amazing experience and I truly recommend it for anyone visiting the city.