JR Shibuya Station: A Convenient but Complex Transportation Hub
It is not uncommon to find public transportation in urban areas difficult to use. Major stations in Tokyo can be especially difficult to navigate, as they are huge, with multiple train, subway, and transportation lines intersecting and merging together.
In addition to navigating around inside, exiting from the station itself is also complicated. This article is a guide to the JR Shibuya Station, a station that is indispensable for travelers in Tokyo.
The Major Gates of JR Shibuya Station
There are five entrances/exits in total. Most of the sightseeing spots in Shibuya can be reached from the Hachiko Gate, so this is a convenient gate to use in many cases.
The following passes and tickets are convenient and will save yen on travel in and around Shibuya and the rest of Tokyo: Tokyo Subway Ticket (24, 48, and 72-hour passes available), Japan Rail Pass, Suica IC Card Reservation
**Click on the exit to skip to details.
|1. Hachiko Gate||First Floor||Scramble Crossing, Center Gai, Shibuya 109, Tokyu Hands|
|2. Central Gate/Tamagawa Gate||Third Floor/Second Floor||Shibuya Hikarie, Tokyu Department Store|
|3. South Gate||First Floor||Local Bus Terminal, Taxi Stand|
|4. New South Gate||Second Floor||Hotel Mets Shibuya|
The Central, Tamagawa, South, and New South gates are mainly used for switching to other railway companies.
Yamanote Line Platform
Multiple lines run through JR Shibuya Station. The Yamanote Line platform (platforms 1 and 2) is close to the Hachiko, Central and South Gates, so it will be the starting point in this article. The platform is located on the second floor, with the Central Gate on the third floor, and the Hachiko and South Gates on the first floor.
Narita Express, Rinkai Line, Saikyo Line and Shinjuku-Shonan Line all use the first floor platform, which is near the New South Gate. This platform is separated from the Yamanote Line, and is mentioned in the last section of this article.
1. Hachiko Gate
After getting off the Yamanote Line, look for the sign with the name of the stations. "Shibuya" will be written in the middle, and the neighboring stations on both sides. The Hachiko Gate is at the end of the platform, in the direction that Harajuku is written on the sign.
Go down the stairs.
The gate is at the bottom (see picture above). There is also another ticket gate located next to this gate which can also be used. The scramble crossing is just past these gates, and the statue of Hachi, the faithful dog, a popular meeting place, is also located nearby.
The Hachiko Gate Area
Many major destinations such as Shibuya 109 and Marui, izakaya (Japanese pubs) and restaurants are in this area.
Han no Daidokoro and Jiromaru Shibuya, restaurants to enjoy Wagyu Beef (Japanese beef), are also nearby. Genki Sushi, a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant with menus in English, original and simplified Chinese, and Korean can be found in the middle of Shibuya Center Gai.
The quiet neighborhood of Oku-Shibuya is only a short walk away from here. Here you can find elegant select shops such as Archivando, and cafes, making it is an ideal place to take a relaxing break from the lively main area of Shibuya.
|Shibuya 109||A shopping mall specializing in items targetted towards young women. There are also several cafes and restaurants inside.|
|Tokyu Hands||A store selling a wide variety of merchandise, including cosmetics and stationery. There are 25 different store sections total, from the second basement to the seventh floor.|
|Shibuya Center Gai||A shopping district with dining options, apparel shops, and video game arcades. The entrance across the scramble crossing by TSUTAYA.|
2. Central Gate/Tamagawa Gate
To reach the Central Gate, use the stairs or escalator located in the middle of the Yamanote Line platform. Keep in mind that all the ascending stairs lead to this Central Gate.
The gate is located at the top of the stairs. There are many ticket gates so it is easily found.
Tamagawa Gate can be reached from platform 1, which is a platform for trains bound for Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. This is also a convenient gate to use if you are going to Tokyu Department Store. However, you can also reach the department store after exiting from the Central Gate, by descending the stairs on the left.
The Central Gate Area
A walkway leading to Shibuya Hikarie from the station.
The third floor is connected to nearby shopping and commercial facilities. The stairs on the right lead to Shibuya Hikarie, and the stairs on the left lead to Tokyu Department Store and Shibuya Mark City. Both routes go through an indoor walkway, so you won't need an umbrella on a rainy day.
|Shibuya Hikarie||A large shopping facility with a wide variety of fashion brands. Hikarie also contains general merchandise and cosmetic shops, cafes, and restaurants.|
|Shibuya Mark City||This facility is divided into East and West malls. Numerous cafes, shops, and convenience stores are inside.|
|Tokyu Department Store||This department store handles accessories and food, and spans from the basement to the ninth floor. It also has Itoya, a stationery store, and a tax-free booth on the fifth floor.|
3. South Gate
The South Gate on the first floor connects to a corridor which runs east and west. There are several stairs you can take from the Yamanote Line platform, so be sure to take the stairs that do not lead to the Hachiko Gate.
After exiting the gate, turn left to go west and turn right to go east.
The South Gate Area
The local bus terminal is directly in front of the Nishi-guchi (west exit). The road on the right leads to the Hachiko Gate, and dining and drinking establishments are to the left. Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is a short walk away on the left side.
It is a ten-minute walk to Tokyo Kenkyo, a cafe which serves sandwiches along with onigiri (rice ball) and Japanese-style set meals. The cafe opens at 8:00, making it an ideal place to enjoy breakfast.
Higashi-guchi (east exit) leads to the other stations, but the route is complicated, so we suggest avoiding it.
4. New South Gate
New South Gate is about 400 meters away from the Yamanote Line platform and is past the platform for Narita Express, Rinkai Line, Saikyo Line, and Shinjuku-Shonan Line.
You can head to the gate from the central ticket barrier area, but access may be limited due to construction scheduled to last until spring 2020. Follow signs for platforms 3 and 4.
From the platform, go up the middle escalator, which will have New South Gate sign above it. There is a Green Car Ticket vending machine with a four-leaved clover logo near this escalator.
The ticket gates are located at the top of the escalator.
The New South Gate Area
This is a very quiet area which contrasts with the image of lively Shibuya held by many. Hotel Mets Shibuya is located nearby, along buildings filled with dining options.
Head to this gate if you want to savor a meal peacefully, away from the bustling pace of Shibuya.
Check the Signs
There are other stations with the name "Shibuya Station" serving the private railway companies and subways, which can make it difficult to navigate through this area.
If you happen to become lost, look again at the signs, or ask the station staff members for assistance.
We hope that reading this article will also help you have a smooth and fun time in Shibuya.
Original article by: ochiai keiichi
** This article is a revised version of the original, which was published on September 26, 2015.