The pounding heart of Tokyo
THIS ARTICLE IS STILL BEING (RE)WRITTEN, AND I’VE STILL GOT TO REINTEGRATE ALL ILLUSTRATIONS, BUT THE CONTENT IS THERE SO I THOUGH I MIGHT AS WELL MAKE IT AVAILABLE ASAP 🙂
Shibuya is one of the most famous places in the whole of Tokyo, as shown by its cultural influence: the clip of Panic Station (Muse) was shot there, the French band Louise Attaque named a song Shibuya Station and The Boy & The Beast is one of many films, manga and other video games to have chosen Shibuya as their setting.
Although it tend to be reduced to the surroundings of the eponymous crossing, Shibuya is also a very large district comprising areas such as Harajuku, Omotesando and Yoyogi-koen. In the end, Shibuya is known as a haven for fashion addicts, creativity and shopping, but it also host a very dynamic nightlife.
Bathe in the crowd of the Crossing
The Shibuya Crossing is one of the most frequented place on earth. In fact, after recording a whole day of activity, researchers found that the Crossing only remained empty for 9 seconds out of the 24 hours !
The expression "to be bathing in the crowd" takes a whole new dimension there, strangely making the crossing a unusually interesting experience.
The Japanese usually being careful, you should not get pushed around at all however densely populated the area might be, but beware of the umbrellas if the weather is rainy as they can do a lot of damage !
Meet the most loyal dog ever
In 1924, Ueno Hidesaburo, a professor from the University of Tokyo, got an akita dog as a pet and named him "Hachiko". As he lived nearby, he would take Hachiko to the station every morning as he went to work, and the dog would come back in the evening, waiting for him at the station's gate. This routine went on for a year until Ueno Hidesaburo died from a stroke at work. Unaware of his master's demise, Hachiko kept on going to the station every day at the time his master's train used to arrive. His dedication was eventually noticed and Hachiko earned the nickname "Chūken" (literrally loyal dog). People also started feeding Hachiko, which allowed him to continue his watch for more than seven years, until he was found dead and buried alongside his master. Today, a statue in his name stands at the gate where he used to wait. Mind blowing, right ?
Grab a mike in a karaoke booth
There are multitudes of Karaoke parlors in Shibuya, which is not surprising as they are much appreciated by group of friends or colleagues who book them to have fun and a drink in the evening. Karaokes are not public in Japan, instead, you rent soundproof booth fitted with everything you need: microphones, a TV screen and a pad to select the songs. You can usually order food and drinks directly from your booth, but you might wanna consider sneaking in with a few drinks of your own if you're on a tight budget. Culturally, karaokes are intended to have fun, and locals will usually sing terribly to make their friends laugh, so don't try singing too hard as it might be considered a lack of self-derision and somehow rude. Given my love for singing, you can trust me on this, I learnt it the hard way ^^'
pick any building and go shopping
Shibuya, the neighborhood, comprises many high end fashion shop, many of which are crammed into the Shibuya 109 Tower and in the surrounding buildings. As a district, though, it includes Harajuku, a neighborhood known for its youthful, colorful and cute fashion trends, and Omotesando, yet another neighborhood sometime referred to as "Tokyo's Champs Elysées" ! In short, if you're looking to shop for anything related to fashion, you'll probably find whatever you seek and more in Shibuya !
dine ... in prison
Themed restaurants are a HUGE thing in Tokyo ! Alcatraz ER or the Lockup restaurant are good examples of such wacky establishment. They will take you on a wacky adventure in a prisoner hospital, where you can order crazy looking food and drinks. There are plenty of different themes if you're interested in that kind of attractions, amongst which are the Kyoumachi Koi Shigure (Old-Kyoto-themed one), also in Shibuya, the Alice in Wonderland chain and many others in other districts. Although many serve succulent food, keep in mind that people visit Tokyo's themed restaurants for the experience, primarily, and that dishes might not be the best you'll ever taste. If you like the idea of eating into a scary or funny setting, themed restaurants are the way to go !
party hard in the trump room
The Trump Room's my favorite place for a night out in Tokyo, it effortlessly built a reputation as a haven for Tokyo's cool kids, even though the door is pretty much hidden behind a flight of stairs and the club only got a website (with literally nothing on it yet) recently, which is quite telling of the quality of the place.
Featuring three different floors & the same number of DJs, the club plays everything from hip hop and rap to techno and dubstep, so there'll most probably be something playing for you anytime. The floor aren't very wide but they are quite long and the booth make it so that it's actually surprisingly easy to socialize. It's also the perfect place to showcase those new clothes you've been getting, as the crowd's usually laid back but stylish.
Last time I was there, the entry was ¥2000 (with a ¥500 discount if you managed to get your hands on a invite), which is lower than the standards for clubs in Shibuya, but I'd still recommend you get a few drinks down that throat before you step into the club 😉
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