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Shibuya

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Shibuya is one of the most-visited areas of Japan, and with good reason – it’s the birthplace of much of Japan’s youth culture, offering some fantastic shopping, dining and entertainment options. It is easily accessed directly from Tokyo – look for Shibuya Station, and follow the crowds of people out onto the street. The bright and colourful outfits of the teenagers, and the serious lack of elbow room on the street, will let you know you have arrived.

The first sight most visitors will encounter is the famous Shibuya Crossing. The massive pedestrian crossing just outside of the station is flooded with pedestrians as vehicles in all directions come to a halt, all beneath massive video screens and advertisements. It’s an iconic sight of bustling Tokyo. If you manage to make it through the crowds, it is best to head straight to Centre Gai, a narrow street leading away from the crossing. This street is the birthplace of many youth fashion trends, offering cutting-edge fashion boutiques, underground music stores and a plethora of video game arcades. Even if you aren’t a big shopper, it’s worth going just to have a look at some of the crazy fashion of the local teenagers. If you are keen to shop, this is the place to do it – everything imaginable is on offer, and the area caters to all kinds of shoppers, even if you have to dig through some crazy styles to get to what you want.

Larger Shibuya has something different on every street – anime and manga is a big part of the cultural scene here, and plenty of books and movies are on offer. The local music scene is prominent and this is a great place to pick up a few albums from the next start of Japanese pop and rock music. Foodies will be delighted with the array of options. Everything from dirt cheap street noodles to gourmet lunches are on offer – the local specialty is a mountain of rice piled with Japanese curry, a delicious meal to relax with on a shopping break. The area is also a major centre for nightclubs, live music, pubs and, of course, karaoke – the streets are alive at every hour of the day and night, making it a fascinating place to explore and take part in Japanese youth culture.