Best Photo Spots: Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

As weird as it sounds, one of the absolute best things to do in Tokyo is taking part in the craziness that is the Shibuya Crossing. I know... how can a simple crosswalk be fun. It just is. It's the largest in the world and the organized chaos is something you have to see to believe.

Read on: Everything else you can't miss on a trip to Tokyo

Viewpoint 1: Street level

 Shibuya Crossing at Street Level  |  Tokyo, Japan

Shibuya Crossing at Street Level  |  Tokyo, Japan

The first thing you should do is take part of it. Head down and wait for the lights to change, then race across with the rest of the world dodging and weaving between people walking every which way before the lights change again. 

After you take part in it you'll want to view it, and probably photograph this insane crossing. There are many different vantage points to choose from though and one secret one that I've included that requires some stealth. Ok, a lot of stealth.

Viewpoint 2: Second floor of Starbucks

 Shibuya Crossing from Starbucks  |  Tokyo, Japan

Shibuya Crossing from Starbucks  |  Tokyo, Japan

This is the most popular place to watch the crosswalk. Mostly because even if you don't buy anything from Starbucks no one will kick you out. Although many guides say it's impossible to get a seat here I visited twice and both times found that if you're patient you'll get a seat.

Viewpoint 3: L’Occitane Café

 Shibuya Crossing  |  Tokyo Japan Source:   The Whole World is a Playground

Shibuya Crossing  |  Tokyo Japan
Source: The Whole World is a Playground

This one requires that you buy something, and you'll probably have to wait for a table since the window seats are highly coveted. That being said, it's the best way to enjoy the view without a huge crowd pushing you.

Viewpoint 4: 25th floor of the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyo

 Shibuya Crossing from above  |  Tokyo, Japan

Shibuya Crossing from above  |  Tokyo, Japan

This is the super secret place that is only two minutes away from Starbucks or L'Occitane Cafe. The view is by far the best because you are viewing it from above. Although technically it is open to the public the hotel has become very annoyed with people hanging out for the view and will kick you out almost immediately. I went and even though they asked me to leave they were nice about it. I just played dumb and was able to get a few shots in before we left. 

To get there...

  • Cross the street and enter into Shibuya Mark City
  • You'll find a small elevator
  • Enter and take it to the 5th floor
    • Do not go directly to the 25th floor on this elevator. There is usually a guard and you won't even be able to exit the elevator without a reservation.
  • Once you reach the 5th floor, transfer elevators and take the guest elevator to the 25th floor
  • The elevator will open to a large glass window
    • I suggest getting your camera ready on the elevator ride. When I went we literally only had enough time for about 4 photos before we were asked to leave. 

One last thing...

Even though researching your Japan trip ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. Here are some books I recommend...

Also, a super common question I get is what camera do I use for my travels. The body is a Nikon D3300 and I mostly use this wide angle lens made by Sigma. It's awesome for travel photography - I am seriously obsessed with it.

Here is my full guide that includes ALL the camera gear I take on every trip.

And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette@gmail.com). 

For Your Pinterest

 If you’re heading to Tokyo one of the best things to do is take part in the craziness that is the Shibuya crossing. There are a couple of spots to take pictures of this cool event and this article even includes a secret one that is BY FAR the best view.

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