The Shibuya You Don’t Know

Stock photos and televised clips of Shibuya usually depict only the iconic scramble intersection, but there is a lot more to this central Tokyo neighborhood.

In fact, in Shibuya’s liveliest commercial districts, you never have to wait to cross the street (these are the “Nightlife Alleys” described in The Hierarchy of Japanese Streets).

The following screenshots from Walking in Shibuya at night by Rambalac reveal a true pedestrian paradise.

The first 5 minutes are spent strolling about in the station plaza, waiting at the scramble intersection, and enjoying some live music.

The car-free street begins at 5:47 (5 minutes 47 seconds into the video).  This screenshot shows the entrance to Shibuya Center Street (see Note 1), coming from Tsutaya/Starbucks:

Rambalac Shibuya 5 min 47 sec

Here is the entrance in daytime (click to open Google StreetView in new tab):

StreetView 5 min 47 sec

Google Maps 5 min 47 seconds

Center Street, one block NW from Tsutaya/Starbucks entrance :

Rambalac Shibuya 6 min 29 sec

And in daytime (click image to open Google StreetView in new tab):

StreetView 6 min 29 sec

20 seconds farther down Center Street:

Rambalac Shibuya 6 min 49 sec

In daytime (click image for Google StreetView):

StreetView 6 min 49 sec

Google Maps 6 min 49 seconds

27 seconds farther down Center Street:

Rambalac Shibuya 7 min 16 sec

Same location in daytime (click image for StreetView):

StreetView 7 min 16 sec

25 seconds farther down Center Street:

Rambalac Shibuya 7 min 41 sec

(click here for daytime view in Google StreetView)

23 seconds farther down Center Street:

Rambalac Shibuya 8 min 04 sec

And again in daytime (click image for StreetView):
StreetView 8 min 04 sec

Google Maps 8 min 04 seconds

Rambalac takes a left here at McDonald’s, but Center Street continues on (total length is 350 meters ~ 1,150 feet).  To see more of this street (and Inokashira Dori), please watch this walk-through video by Nippon Wandering, which also includes Nonbei Yokocho (see Note 2).

Another car-free street begins at 15:46 (at Lotteria):

Rambalac Shibuya 15 min 46 sec

And here in daytime (click image for StreetView):

StreetView 15 min 46 sec

In the map below, blue highlights Rambalac’s route from 5:47 to 15:46, with the car-free portion double highlighted in green:

Google Maps 15 min 46 seconds

After walking towards Mark City for 31 seconds, Rambalac turns left at Ministop:

Rambalac Shibuya 16 min 17 sec

The view in daytime (click image for StreetView):

StreetView 16 min 17 sec

Emerging from a bent alley next to Keio Shibuya Station:

Rambalac Shibuya 17 min 03 sec

Fairly bland in daytime (click image for StreetView):

StreetView 17 min 03 sec

Rambalac’s path from 15:46 to 17:03:

Google Maps 17 min 03 seconds

Walking under the Keio Inokashira line tracks:

Rambalac Shibuya 17 min 24 sec

Rambalac Shibuya 17 min 33 sec

Rambalac Shibuya 17 min 41 sec

Daytime (click image for StreetView):

StreetView 17 min 41 sec

Taking a left and walking alongside Keio Shibuya Station / Mark City:

Rambalac Shibuya 17 min 50 sec

Rambalac Shibuya 18 min 04 sec

Daytime (click image for StreetView):

StreetView 18 min 04 sec

Google Maps 18 min 04 seconds

 

Nonbei Yokocho (~100 meters ~300 feet east of Tsutaya)

Screenshots from this walk-through video by Nippon Wandering:

Nonbei Yokocho MapNonbei Yokocho Aerial View

Finally, while there are certainly many more Hokoten and permanently pedestrianized streets in the area, here is an approximate map of the ones shown/visible in the two walk-through videos [correction: Inokashira Dori, though highlighted in green, is not Hokoten-ized; it has a single one-way lane, which continues to carry buses and taxis thru the evening]:

Shibuya West Side Area Map

.

Note 1: “Shibuya Center Street” is actually a district comprised of two parallel streets and several connecting streets.  These two parallel streets are shown on Google Maps as “Shibuya Center Gai” and “Inokashira Dori”.  According to Wikipedia, “Shibuya Center Street” also includes Bunkamura Dori (not pedestrianized), Udagawa Dori, and Spanish Hill (car-free).

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