Japan: Shibuya

Shibuya  (渋谷) is a major commercial and retail hub, but also famous for 3 things: Shibuya crossing (the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing), Hachiko the loyal dog, and Shibuya 109 (a fashion mecca for young girls).

Most tourists think of Shibuya as the area around Shibuya Station, but in reality it is a special ward that encompasses Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen, and parts of Shinjuku Station as well. Shibuya (the ward) is a major commercial, technology and finance hub.

Near the station is the Shibuya Crossing, popularly cited as “the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world” (3,000 people per green light, or up to 500,000 a day). It has been featured in a few films (notably Lost in Translation and Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift).

Outside Shibuya Station is a statue of a dog called Hachikou (ハチ公). This is a poignant true story of a loyal dog that has been made into several films and written in books. Hachikou (the name loosely translates to “Prince Eight”) was an Akita dog belonging to a Tokyo University professor who lived near Shibuya Station. The professor would walk with the dog to the station each day at the same time, and in the evening always returned at the same time. One day, the professor died from a cerebral haemorrhage at university and never returned. Each day, for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachikou awaited the professor’s return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.

When we visited Shibuya in 2008, there was a museum dedicated to the life of Hachikou (appropriately located in a refurbished railway carriage).

Next to the Shibuya crossing is a tall thin building with a giant TV screen on it. This is the infamous Shibuya 109, a mecca for young girls (and boys) looking for the latest teenage fashions. I would have loved to buy some of the clothes, except I don’t think any of them would fit me.

Related Articles in this Series

Series: Japan 2008-2018 Retrospective

Series: Japan 2008-2018 Retrospective

Chris Tham2021-08-081 min read
This is a series of articles featuring photographs taken across several trips to Japan spanning 2008-2018.
Japan: Trains

Japan: Trains

Chris Tham2021-08-101 min read
Mention Japan, and a lot of people will associate it with Shinkansen (bullet trains). Trains of various kinds are a major mode of transport both within and across cities.
Japan: Hamarikyu Garden

Japan: Hamarikyu Garden

Chris Tham2021-08-121 min read
Hamarikyu Gardens is a special garden with a tidal pond and a chequered history, located at the mouth of the Sumida River as it enters Tokyo Bay.
Japan: Nikko

Japan: Nikko

Chris Tham2021-08-141 min read
Nikko is a small town about 2 hours from Tokyo that is famous for the UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of a complex of shrines, temples and shogun mausoleums.
Japan: Akihabara

Japan: Akihabara

Chris Tham2021-08-161 min read
In recent years, Akihabara has become infamous not only as a place where you can buy cheap electronic goods but an epicentre for Japanese otaku culture.
Japan: Yurikamome

Japan: Yurikamome

Chris Tham2021-08-201 min read
Yurikamome (Tokyo Waterfront New Transit Waterfront Line) is a automated guideway transit service travels across the Rainbow Bridge into the artificial island of Odaiba into a futuristic Tokyo.
Japan: Kamakura

Japan: Kamakura

Chris Tham2021-08-221 min read
Kamakura is a small town popular with tourists because of attractions such as the Hasedera temple located on a hill with great views of the town, the Great Buddha bronze statue and other temples and shrines.
Japan: Sasuke Inari Shrine

Japan: Sasuke Inari Shrine

Chris Tham2021-08-241 min read
We discovered the Sasuke Inari Shrine by accident while walking around in Kamakura. A set of bright red torii gates lead up a hill into a shrine full of statues of foxes and fox dwellings with families.
Power Ranger

Power Ranger

Chris Tham2021-08-261 min read
We captured a worker doing some maintenance on a power line in Kamakura, Japan.
Wassup?

Wassup?

Chris Tham2021-08-281 min read
This dog seems to be asking me if I have seen its owner. Captured near Kamakura station in Japan.
Japan: Nijo Castle

Japan: Nijo Castle

Chris Tham2021-08-301 min read
Nijo Castle is a “flat” castle containing Ninomaru and Honmaru Palaces. It is established in Kyoto by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of Japan.
Japan: Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)

Japan: Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)

Chris Tham2021-09-011 min read
Kinkakuji, or Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is one of the must see places in Kyoto. Most of the temple is covered in gold leaf, and it’s set next to pond and therefore extremely photogenic.
Japan: Nara

Japan: Nara

Chris Tham2021-09-031 min read
Nara is considered a small city today, but was once the capital of Japan and the seat of the Emperor.
Japan: Ghibli Museum

Japan: Ghibli Museum

Chris Tham2021-09-051 min read
The Ghibli Museum is a unique museum showcasing the work of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli. It is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka.
Japan: Sanrio Puroland

Japan: Sanrio Puroland

Chris Tham2021-09-071 min read
Sanrio Puroland (サンリオピューロランド) is an indoor theme park in Tama C
Japan: DisneySea

Japan: DisneySea

Chris Tham2021-09-091 min read
DisneySea is a unique theme park, intended as a nautical counterpart to Disneyland.
Japan: Universal Studios Japan

Japan: Universal Studios Japan

Chris Tham2021-09-111 min read
Universal Studios Japan was the third theme park opened after the original Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Orlando. It was the first park in the franchise to open outside the US.
Japan: Huis Ten Bosch

Japan: Huis Ten Bosch

Chris Tham2021-09-131 min read
Huis Ten Bosch is a gigantic theme park in Sasebo (near Nagasaki) that is intended to be a mini version of Netherlands, including famous buildings such as the Huis Ten Bosch palace, Stadhuis and the Domtoren.
Japan: Osaka Castle

Japan: Osaka Castle

Chris Tham2021-09-151 min read
Osaka Castle was destroyed (several times over the course of history), and the present building is a concrete reconstruction.
Japan: Okayama Castle and Korakuen

Japan: Okayama Castle and Korakuen

Chris Tham2021-09-171 min read
Okayama Castle is another reconstructed castle (the original was destroyed in World War II by air raids). Nearby is Korakuen which is regarded as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
Japan: Hiroshima Castle

Japan: Hiroshima Castle

Chris Tham2021-09-191 min read
Hiroshima Castle was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945 but has been reconstructed (in 1958) and now serves as a museum of Hiroshima history pre World War II.
Japan: Himeji Castle

Japan: Himeji Castle

Chris Tham2021-09-211 min read
Himeji Castle is the only castle we visited in Japan is a “real” castle, ie. it is the original castle (with some restoration work) and not a reconstruction.
Japan: Kurashiki

Japan: Kurashiki

Chris Tham2021-09-231 min read
Kurashiki has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period, when the city served as an important rice distribution center. In fact, “Kurashiki” roughly translates to “town of storehouses” in reference to the rice storehouses.
Japan: Miyajima

Japan: Miyajima

Chris Tham2021-09-251 min read
Miyajima (Shrine Island), is an island famous for the O-Torii gate seemingly surrounded by water.
Japan: Atomic Bomb Dome

Japan: Atomic Bomb Dome

Chris Tham2021-09-271 min read
The Genbaku Dome (aka Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or the Atomic Bomb Dome) is a former exhibition hall that somehow still stands as a ruin.
Japan: Hiroshima (Peace Park and Museum)

Japan: Hiroshima (Peace Park and Museum)

Chris Tham2021-09-291 min read
The Hiroshima Peace Park is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack.
Hotel High Up

Hotel High Up

Chris Tham2021-10-011 min read
This hotel almost seems like it could have been in a James Bond film starring Roger Moore.
Japan: Hiroshima at Night (Ekinishi)

Japan: Hiroshima at Night (Ekinishi)

Chris Tham2021-10-031 min read
Ekinishi (“west of station”) is a small neighbourhood just west of Hiroshima Station that is full of trendy bars and restaurants and really comes alive at night.
Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat

Chris Tham2021-10-051 min read
I saw this cute cat sitting in a hat in a shop at the Ekinishi area near Hiroshima Station.
Japan: Tomonoura

Japan: Tomonoura

Chris Tham2021-10-071 min read
Tomonoura is a small fishing village famous as the location for several films: notably Ponyo and Wolverine.
Japan: Canon Digital House Osaka

Japan: Canon Digital House Osaka

Chris Tham2021-10-091 min read
Canon has 3 camera showrooms and service centres in Japan. This is the one in Osaka, located in Umeda near Herbis Plaza in 2017.
Japan: Ginkakuji (Temple of the Silver Pavilion)

Japan: Ginkakuji (Temple of the Silver Pavilion)

Chris Tham2021-10-111 min read
Ginkaku-ji, or Temple of the Silver Pavilion, is officially named Jishō-ji and built for a Shogun who became a Buddhist monk.
Dried River Bed

Dried River Bed

Chris Tham2021-10-131 min read
I captured this near the remains of the Karesansui garden at Ginkaku-Ji in Kyoto, Japan.
Start of a Journey

Start of a Journey

Chris Tham2021-10-151 min read
This path is part of the remains of the Karesansui garden at Ginkaku-Ji in Kyoto, Japan.
Rickshaw

Rickshaw

Chris Tham2021-10-171 min read
The driver of this rickshaw carrying two girls looked up at me just when I took the photo.
Side Mirror Reflection

Side Mirror Reflection

Chris Tham2021-10-191 min read
Captured in Kyoto, Japan.
Twin Reflection

Twin Reflection

visualvoyager2021-10-211 min read
Captured at a narrow intersection in Tomonoura, Japan.
T Reflection

T Reflection

Chris Tham2021-10-231 min read
Captured near the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto, Japan.
Self portrait Reflection

Self portrait Reflection

Chris Tham2021-10-251 min read
Captured near the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto, Japan.

Posted by Chris Tham

Chris Tham is a co-founder of Visual Voyager Pty Ltd, the Principal Voigtländer Ambassador for Mainline Photographics and a Workshop Instructor for Mainline Photo Academy. She brings over 35 years of experience as a photographer to her role, starting with a Yashica rangefinder belonging to her dad, joining the Photography Club in school, and developing her own photos. More recently, Chris has been taking photos during her travels, and as a result has experienced some of the most interesting places in the world. Chris focuses on nature, street, and urban architecture subjects in her photography.