The starting line for a tour of Shibuya
Shibuya is the youth mecca. And there is a scramble crossing right in front of the entrance that is Shibuya Station. In front of your eyes, a huge LCD screen soars on which ads endlessly get shown. Surrounding you are fashion buildings, CD shops and other structures that symbolize youth culture, along with the many garish signboards standing about, and the pop songs or commercials that keep getting played; all of these make up a vista that is characteristic of Shibuya.
Shibuya Crossing in front of Shibuya Station, which is the starting line for a tour of the area, can have as many as 3000 pedestrians walking on one green light. With the wave of humanity, the storm of ads and all of the hustle and bustle, Shibuya never goes quiet, day or night.
The streets that span out in all directions in front of Shibuya Station are connected to the area’s shopping avenues which include Center Gai, Fashion Building 109 and the Seibu Department Store. On weekends, there is a massive jumble of young people which can be seen crossing on the green light en masse all throughout the day.
The legendary Hachiko
However, just before that crossing, there is a small but important Shibuya landmark tucked into a corner of the plaza in front of the station. It’s the statue of the legendary dog, Hachiko. In 1925, without knowing of the passing of his master, Hachiko always waited for him to come home at the station. His appearance touched the hearts of the people, and after Hachiko’s own burial, a bronze statue of the dog was erected in 1948. It’s said that in the same year, Helen Keller came to Japan and also visited the statue. And then, his story was dramatized in Japan in 1987 and in the United States in 2008 as a figure who has become loved beyond borders.
Nowadays, many young people gather around the statue of Hachiko as a waiting area. It’s easy to lose sight of the dog since he is always buried in the sea of people. However, Hachiko is still a beloved landmark standing in the same spot and keeping watch over the ever-changing streets of Shibuya.