The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be nearly 20 months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.
Looking to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo? Head straight to Shibuya, where you can find the two busiest train stations in the world, some of Japan’s most heavily trafficked restaurants and a world-famous intersection to rival Times Square in New York City.
Shibuya’s history dates back to the 11th century, and as a key stop on Japan’s Yamanote Rail Line, it began to cement itself as a hub for shopping and entertainment as early as the 1880s. The district soon exploded in both development and population, becoming a destination for young people in the 1980s and an IT hub in the 1990s. Today, its population density exceeds 38,000 people per square mile.
When you think of Tokyo, the image that likely pops up in your mind before any other is that of a famous scramble crossing in front of Shibuya Station’s Hachikō exit, so named for a faithful dog who waited for his owner to return via train every day for nine years after his death, which cemented him as a national symbol of loyalty. The crossing halts all vehicle traffic to allow upwards of 1,000 pedestrians to travel in five different crosswalks at the same time, making the Shibuya intersection one of the busiest in the world, and its Hachikō statue is a popular meeting place.
But the crossing is far from the only packed place in Shibuya. Shinjuku Station and Shibuya Station are the world’s busiest, and Shibuya 109 is a notorious shopping complex in the district that houses more than 100 popular boutiques. Shibuya also offers dining options that span from local to international—but be ready to wait a little longer for your meal during rush hours.
You can’t miss Shibuya’s famous city center: It’s less than three miles southwest of Japan National Stadium and accessible by the Oedo Line, the Hanzomon Line and the Ginza Line. Be prepared for potential heavy traffic that fosters an experience like no other.
An aerial view of the Shibuya district on Sept. 4, 2014 in Tokyo.