Shibuya is the ultimate Tokyo district, a swirling dream of flashy neon lights, karaoke retreats, colourful shops and hidden eateries. It’s easy to get lost in this wonderland, so this is our guide to the local hotspots you shouldn’t miss.
Navigating your way through Shibuya, its picturesque streets, lined with surprises, are works of art in and of themselves. It’s almost impossible to avoid the huge crowds at its infamous crossing, but if you can bypass the major attractions and seek out its hidden gems, you’ll be rewarded with quaint little coffeehouses and underground dive bars, hidden sushi joints and beautiful coworking spaces like the Hive Jinnan. Here’s our guide to some of the charming places Shibuya has tucked up its sleeve.
Perched on a quiet street nearby the famed Shibuya Crossing is kissaten Chatei Hatou, a traditional Japanese tearoom and coffee house in one. As tradition has it, kissatens welcome smoking while patrons enjoy a cup of joe and sweets. Take a seat at the counter to watch your pour-over origin blend being made in front of you, and revel in the perfect combination of vintage decor and wooden furniture – and watch out for the chinaware your drink comes in. It’s supposed to match your outfit.
Insider Tip: Don’t leave without trying the homemade chiffon cake and Japanese-style chocolate latte.
Address: 1 Chome-15-19 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan
Open From: 11 am – 11:30 pm
Step into the welcoming atmosphere of the Hive Café, right in the heart of Shibuya – Tokyo’s neighbourhood that never sleeps. The spacious ground floor coffee house has an airy terrace that both members and passers-by can enjoy as they sip on a latte made with Tokyo’s best coffee beans, sourced from Streamer Coffee Company.
Insider Tip: Kill two birds with one stone and experience Try Out Tuesdays to get productive at Shibuya’s most beautifully designed coworking space for free.
Address: 1-6-5 Jinnan, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0041
Open From: 8 am – 8 pm
Stroll through bustling Shibuya and you’ll see it’s packed with ramen spots from chain eateries like Ichiran to small local restaurants. The innumerable options can be overwhelming, so head straight to where the locals flock to – Dogenzaka Mammoth. Here, you will find two types of ramen: tsukemen, a ramen dish where you dip dry thick noodles into a separate bowl of soup or broth, and a more traditional, soup-based ramen. And, come on an empty stomach because you’ll want seconds of those bouncy noodles.
Insider Tip: Once you finish your tsukemen noodles, ask them to dilute your broth with soup stock for you to drink.
Address: 2-1001 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
Open From: 1:30 am – 4 pm, 5:30 pm – 11 pm
Mainstay sushi spots in Shibuya are plenty, but Shunkashutou ticks all the boxes. Open since 1990, this establishment offers just 34 seats – a small number in contrast to the locals queuing up here during their lunch breaks. With seats for smokers and non-smokers at its sushi bar, opt for their extremely affordable Nigiri-Sushi Set Lunch.
Insider Tip: The horse meat sashimi is a local favourite.
Address: 2-6-15, Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Suzui Building 3F
Open From: Mon-Sat: 11 am – 2 pm, 4 pm – 11:30 pm, Sun: 11 am – 2 pm, 4 pm – 11 pm
Cossetted from the hustle and bustle of the main streets and a great option for those looking for a break from Japanese fare, Bistro Rojiura sits in an alley near the department store Tokyu Hands, just a stroll from the Hive Jinnan. There’s lots to love about this Michelin-rated Bib Gourmand French restaurant, but it’s only big enough for about 20, so try to make a reservation. The highlight here is the succulent Okinawa pork – soft and bursting with flavour – and the surprisingly lean yet tender lamb chops.
Insider Tip: Whet your appetite with the homemade ham and burrata cheese salad for a truly creamy burrata.
Address: 11-2 Udagawacho Shibuya-ku Tokyo-to
Open From: Tues-Sun: 8 am – 2 pm, 6 pm – 12 am
Dogen’s charming opaque entrance is amplified by its shabby wooden exterior and minimalist Japanese signage. Find your way to it by looking for the bright yellow lantern hanging by its door. Once inside, bear with the beer crates posing as chairs and table legs and you’ll be blessed with a quintessential yakiniku (grilled meat) meal. This is a great place to get your hands on some of the juiciest cuts drenched in ponzu broth.
Insider Tip: A fan favourite is the marbled beef sandwiched by julienne-cut apples.
Address: 2-20-9 Dogenzaka, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Open From: 6 pm – 12 am
Nagi Shokudo is not a gem you’ll stumble across unless you’re really combing the depths of Tokyo with Google Maps opened. Even then, you might still miss the stairs leading downstairs to this small, inviting oasis in the middle of Shibuya. Despite being challenging to find, it’s well worth the trip for a vegan fix. The restaurant is vegetarian-friendly, offering vegan selections and gluten-free options of its Asian fusion food. Enjoy fried tofu and mushrooms soaked in a tomato and coconut soup with stacked magazines and indie books for sale as the backdrop.
Insider Tip: Both the falafel with mayonnaise and deep-fried mashed potato fingers with chilli sauce are unforgettable.
Address: #103, 15-10 Uguisudanicho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0032, Japan
Open From: Mon-Sat: 12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm, Sun: 12 pm – 3 pm
Meat lovers will love the second and third floors of the Chitose Kaikan building, packed as it is with a noteworthy selection of meat restaurants. With 25 joints in total, visitors can find all types of meats imaginable, from yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) to yakitori (skewered grilled chicken). One that stands out is Niku Tenno Kuni, serving sushi draped with sirloin.
Insider Tip: If you’re indecisive, you can order take-out from any of the restaurants. Don’t be restricted to one menu!
Address: Chitose Kaikan 2F and 3F, 13−8 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
Open From: 5 pm – 5 am
Start your bar-hopping endeavour off strong with a drink at Goodbeer Faucets. The mastermind behind it is Teruya Hori, a key player in the craft beer arena, who built the bar’s tap system to serve over 40 kinds of draught beer – possibly the largest selection in Tokyo. Head here for predominantly Japanese and American craft beers to down with friends or sip on as you catch a movie playing on their screen.
Insider Tip: You won’t regret choosing the Belgium peach beer or the Suruga Bay Imperial IPA.
Address: 1-29-1 Shoto | Crossroads Bldg. 2F, Shibuya 150-0046, Tokyo Prefecture
Open From: Mon-Thus: 4 pm – 12 am, Fri: 4 pm – 1 am, Sat: 3 pm – 12 am, Sun: 3 pm – 11 pm
This underground dive bar just below Dance Music Records in Shibuya is worth investigating as it boasts an assortment of drinks and food starting from just JPY 300. And, if you need to line your stomach before getting started on the drinks, try their Tokyo Gratin, Gapao Rice, and Chicken Pizza. Match that with a Matcha Milk cocktail or Yaegerbom. It’s a place where you’ll see young Tokyoites tipsy against a backdrop of 90s Hip Hop, R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Funk at this New York-style waterhole.
Insider Tip: Go early to escape the cover fee, and get a party course coupon on their website to enjoy seven dishes and all you can drink for just JPY 2300.
Address: 36-2 Udagawacho | Ｂ1ＦNoah Shibuya Building, Shibuya 150-0042, Tokyo Prefecture
Open From: 4 pm – 11:30 pm
Don’t be fooled by its funky name – this quaint bar tucked in Shibuya’s backyard is a major player amongst regular bar-goers. Although they have a good range of whiskeys, darts, and a bunch of games, the owner, Satoshi, is the main draw here. Well-versed in English and extremely friendly, guests love to come and chat with him over a drink or three.
Insider Tip: Head up to the bar’s second level and sit on the tiny veranda to watch the world pass by below whilst you savour your sakura sake.
Address: 2 Chome-25-14 Dogenzaka Shibuya-ku Tokyo-to
Open From: 8:30 pm – 5 am
Shibuya is a pilgrimage site for the re-emergence of jazz cafes, known as jazu kissa in Japan, and Swing is one of the finest examples. The owner, Suzuki-san, is a professional musician keen on sharing his love for music who opened up Swing in 2014 to save Japan’s disappearing jazu kissa culture. Lining the walls with his personal collection of records and stereos, the cosy space sits on the fourth floor of what used to be an apartment. Stop by for a cup of dark, smooth, siphon-brewed coffee, surrounded by the soulful tunes of jazz records and performances.
Insider Tip: Don’t be shy, Suzuki-san is happy to play your requests!
Address: 4B, 16-4, Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0047, Japan
Open From: Mon-Wed & Fri-Sat: 12 pm – 11 pm, Sun: 12 pm – 8 pm
You can’t hit Shibuya and not try your hand at a song or two. Karaoke Kan is a great place to start. Try to snag rooms 601 and 602 if you want to relive Billy Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s scene in Lost in Translation while you lose yourself to the disco lights, drinks (ordered through an intercom), and the booming sound systems within the karaoke box.
Insider Tip: Raid the rack of costumes in the lobby to release your inner diva.
Address: 25-６Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan
Open From: 11 am – 6 am
As an alternative to the district’s 100 yen stores, Shibuya Loft is a quality-conscious Japanese variety store delivering everything from household items to cosmetics, spread over seven floors. Check it out for some of the most out-of-the-ordinary souvenirs and gifts – a perfect representation of Japan. Stock up on washi tapes, beautiful phone cases, pastel chopsticks, potted plants, bikes, figurines and endless other items you never even knew you wanted.
Insider Tip: Get your hands on some of the widely popular themed face masks, like Doraemon or One Piece, on the beauty products floor.
Address: 21-１Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan
Open From: 10 am – 9 pm
FB: @ Only.at.Loft
Housed in the cellar of fashion store Diesel, this two-room gallery showcases the works of well-known international artists such as Spike Jonze, Chen Man and Rolland Berry. With artworks representing different genres around the world, you’ll find a strong tribute to anime and pop-culture. The gallery only shows four exhibitions per year, so if you fall in love with an artwork, you might want to act quick.
Insider Tip: Admission is free, and there’s a great lounge in the front with free WiFi.
Address: Cocoti B1F, 1-23-16 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku Tokyo
Open From: 11:30 am – 9 pm