36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo

36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo

SURPRISE! Hello again, friends! Happy Sunday! How are you? I know it’s literally only been three days since I last dropped in to post something, but I was really feeling the momentum and I am so psyched to share again with you today!! I am thrilled to present *cough* drumroll, please! *cough*: 36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo! My third and final city guide for the world’s most populous metropolis! I know what you’re thinking: two guides in one week; who even is she!? Well friends, the urge to blog was strong and you gotta strike while the iron’s hot and all that – so I’m riding this wave while it lasts! Shall we delve into all things Shibuya together? But first! In case you missed my other two Tokyo city guides: Four Days in Shinjuku, Tokyo / A Morning in Asakusa, Tokyo. Now, let’s delve!

As I mentioned in my Japanese Itinerary post, Shibuya is at the very centre of tourist Tokyo. And for good reason – experiencing the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, below, first hand is indescribably joyous and I truly believe it rightfully deserves to be at the top of every Tokyo bucket list. However! Once you’ve tired of the Scramble, which takes one or two more crossings than you might think(!), the district can become overwhelming – or at least, that’s what we thought. It’s super busy, extra touristy, more expensive than other districts, and did I mention SO BUSY. After we ticked off the Scramble, we hightailed it out of Shibuya’s epicentre and spent our remaining time finding the quieter nooks. I’m pleased to report, the back streets and side alleys of Harajuku and Omotesandō – two sub-districts within Shibuya – offered us exactly the solace we were seeking.

My guide to Shibuya is below, filled with everything we got up to during our 36 hours in the city. For ease, I’ve divided it up into easy-to-read sections: getting there / where we stayed / where we had coffee + pastries / where we ate lunch & dinner / where we drank / and where we tourist-ed.

• we made our way to Shibuya hot off the Shinkansen from Osaka. Full and exact details about that part of our journey can be found here.

• after our Shinkansen journey, which delivered us to Tokyo Station, we walked 7-minutes to the nearby Kyobashi subway Station.

• from Kyobashi Station, we took the ‘Ginza Line Local’ to Shibuya Station. The journey took 17-minutes and cost us ¥210 each.

• from Shibuya Station, our hotel was a convenient 5-minute walk away. I believe it could have been 2-minutes if we’d come out at the right exit, but oh well. Sigh.

• if you’re heading to/from Haneda airport, there’s a ‘Limousine Bus’ stop at Shibuya Station. Full and exact details about that part of our journey can be found here.

36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo

all day place shibuya // … wouldn’t necessarily recommend. For full and exact details, please see our Japan itinerary here.

The Little BAKERY Tokyo // the most adorable little cafe! Hidden in the back alleys of Harajuku – which, btdubz, is a semi-hidden foodie’s paradise! – this is a seriously great pastry place. We nabbed the last available table inside and enjoyed breakfast together in our little nook: a croissant and a pain au chocolat to share, and a hot coffee each. Now, while I stand by my opinion that the best pastries we had in Tokyo were in Shinjuku, these pastries were a close second! Super flakey, delightfully buttery, and very light. Added bonus: the place is so cute! The branding, the retro-ness, the display case, everything! A must visit. Address: 6 Chome-13-6 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001

Krispy Kreme // sorry/not sorry. Of course we went to Krispy Kreme in Japan, it was too good an opportunity to pass up! The base doughnut deliciousness is the same as ever – thank the lord! – but the flavours and toppings were totally different! I opted for a highly unusual custard dipped ring doughnut covered in sprinkles, while Husband went for a chocolate dipped ring doughnut – which, though regular as it sounds, you can’t get in Ireland!? Both were delicious, as expected. Fun fact: the sprinkles in Japan were different colours than the sprinkles we have here! Our sprinkles are more pastel in colour, but in Japan they were vibrant, like dark greens and blues etc. Wild! Would recommend. Address: 150-0043 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Dogenzaka, 2 Chome−6−17 渋東シネタワー 1F

36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo

Tonkatsu Maisen Aoyoma // one delicious word can describe our feelings about the tonkatsu here: unchhhg. After queueing for about 15-minutes, we were seated and ordering the same thing: set lunch menu and a Suntory PREMIUM MALT’S beer. The lunch set came with miso soup, unlimited cabbage + rice, and, most importantly, the pork tonkatsu of our dreams. It was the crispiest, most perfectly fried, juicy-in-the-middle, downright mouth-wateringly delicious pork we’ve ever had. I’m actually salivating thinking about it! Fun fact: Maisen’s tonkatsu is famous for being so juicy and tender that it can be cut with chopsticks. After our visit, we are pleased to confirm: it’s true! Added bonus: there are a couple different locations around the city; the Aoyoma location was the nearest to us, but you do you! A must visit. Address: 4 Chome-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001

Han no Daidokoro Bettei // a Japanese BBQ – yakiniku – spot. Maybe it’s just because we had better/more authentic yakiniku in both Kyoto and Osaka, but this was probably my least favourite meal of our trip. We ordered a few bits & pieces: wagyu skirt, wagyu loin, pork loin, and the daily premium cut. To be honest, I just thought the whole meal was a bit meh? The quality of the wagyu wasn’t as good as elsewhere, tough almost, and the cuts of meat were overpriced. There was also a sneaky cover charge added to our bill for a miniscule “free” appetizer – something no other restaurant in 13-days was cheeky enough to do! – that really irked us. Ultimately, I’m sad this lackluster meal was the last dinner of the trip. Wouldn’t recommend. Address: 150-0043 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Dogenzaka, 2 Chome−29−8 道玄坂センタービル 7階

INC Cocktails // a really very good cocktail bar! We rounded out our final night in the city here, sitting stool-top at the bar, watching the cocktail masters at work. I had an espresso martini, and Husband had an old fashioned, both were expertly made: punchy yet smooth, strong yet so addictively moreish. Added bonus: the vibe in the bar is very cool! Low ceilings, dim lighting with seemingly hidden booths + table nooks, with vinyls being played over the sound system, selected by the staff in between cocktail duties. The only caveat I will add is that it almost-but-doesn’t-quite live up to the high standards of its Osaka counterpart – but more on that soon 😉 Be warned: this is a smoking friendly bar! Would recommend. Address: 150-0002 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Shibuya, 1 Chome−5−6 B1F

Shibuya Yokocho // cute spot for a drink. A yokocho is an alley – usually lined with heaps of micro-bars & food stalls – that you’ll find dotted all over the city. In full disclosure: we only stopped in here because we had an hour to kill between check-out and heading to the airport. However, it was rather cute! We had a beer each, which came with a moreish spicy nut mix, and people watched to our heart’s content. Address: 150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Jingumae, 6 Chome−20−10 South 1F RAYARD MIYASHITA PARK

Shibuya Scramble Crossing // two words: SO! FUN! Initially yes, I was totally overwhelmed and freaked out about the sheer volume of people at the crossing. But! Once you get into it and you’re actually walking across the scramble, it’s honestly so much fun!! I’d say we crossed it a dozen times before we eventually got a grip on ourselves, and honestly it was never not fun! Even crossing it the following day with our ridiculously large suitcases en route to the airport had us laughing! It sounds so dumb now that I’m sitting down to write about the joys of crossing a road back and forth, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. An absolute must visit. Address: 2 Dōgenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043

Hachikō Dog Statue // a sweet memorial. The statue is in place to commemorate Hachikō, a very adorable Akita-Inu, that lived in Tokyo around 90-years ago. The story goes that every morning, Hachikō would accompany his owner on his journey into work, stopping outside Shibuya Station; and every evening, when the owner came out of the station, Hachikō would be sitting in the exact same spot awaiting his return. Is that not the cutest dog story you’ve ever heard?! I don’t actually have a photo of the statue because there was a big queue to do so, but we thought the Hachikō manhole cover was pretty cute! Address: 1 Chome-2 Dōgenzaka, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0043

Tower Records Shibuya // so cool! Not technically a tourist attraction, per se, but definitely a place that left us with our mouths hanging ajar! It’s ginormous! There are seven – or more? Google has now confused me, but we counted 7! – different floors, filled with every conceivable music genre. We spent a while perusing the many many different aisles and titles; if you were really into music, you could easily spend a full day looking around! Address: 1 Chome-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0041

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Omokado // a fun photo-op stop. A mirrored entrance into a shopping centre, which creates a kind of kaleidoscope when you stand at the top of the escalators and look back. Fun, but if it hadn’t been on our way to The Little BAKERY Tokyo, above, we wouldn’t have gone out of our way for it. Address: 4 Chome-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001

And there we have it: 36 Hours in Shibuya, Tokyo! My third and final guide to the city! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, friends. As always, if I left any absolute must-visit spots out, hit me up using the comment box below! Kyoto guides coming next month!

Happy weekending,

Vicki xo

Four Days in Shinjuku, Tokyo
A Morning in Asakusa, Tokyo
Japan Travel Tips | Notes From Our Honeymoon

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