Thursday, January 01, 2015

Tokyo: Shibuya Scramble Crossing and Neon Lights at Dusk

Shibuya is a ward (district) in Tokyo that is widely famous for shopping, its legion of crowds and the Shibuya Crossing on Hachiko Square in front of the Shibuya Station.

Now you would probably ask—What makes this Shibuya Crossing so special and popular that every travel blogger who has been to Tokyo and travel guide out there recommend that we visit?

shibuya crossing

Shibuya Crossing.

shibuya crossing

A taxi that got caught in the middle of the scramble crossing.

I also had the same question. I mean, a crossing is a crossing, what could be so difficult about it? Why the fuss? However, it was only when I looked closely into it that I had one of those light bulb ‘a-ha’ moments. OK, I got it.

You know, sometimes I cannot help my blonde side surfacing =)

So here it is. The SCRAMBLE, DIAGONAL or X crossing is a type of pedestrian crossing that stops traffic from all directions to allow pedestrians to cross over. The system was first invented in the US in the 1940’s and was mainly adapted in Northern America. It hasn’t been much of a success though, and the reason is because it completely stops the flow of vehicular traffic from all directions, which can, at given moments, lead to congestion in the busy city centres.

And this is where the Shibuya Crossing story comes in. Because in Shibuya, the number of pedestrians does not come in the tens and twenties, but by the hundreds. The multitude scenario makes the scramble system a much easier and safer alternative to use. There are actually scramble crossings in the US, Canada, Australia, UK and New Zealand, but it is not popularly used compared to in Japan where the system has been adapted in many cities.

Now this is to say that the Shibuya Crossing is the biggest and busiest scramble intersection in Japan, and I guess in the world.

Trivia: Did you know that there are over 300 scramble crossings in Japan? Now you know!

We also noticed that the crowd in Shibuya is younger and hip. There are lots of neon signs on the buildings and streets which makes the place very lively. Although we have not gone out here in the evening for fun, the area is famous for its night life, most often targeted for the younger group.

Moi here in Shibuya, not on Shibuya Crossing though, but somewhere in Shibuya. This was taken 2 days after I visited the doctor's clinic and had antibiotics. Still sick here but dragged myself to go out to see a bit of the city, even for just a few hours.

This is by the way our subway route. From Kodenmacho station we took the Hibiya Line and then changed and hopped over to the Ginza Line to reach Shibuya station:

You can move the map by holding it with your mouse, as well as zoom it in and out by clicking on the + and - signs on the lower right hand side.

shibuya neon lights

I love this picture. The neon sign lights just makes me smile.

scramble crossing

This is another scramble crossing in Shibuya, a smaller one though adjacent to the busy Shibuya Crossing on Hachiko Square. Scramble (diagonal or X) crossings are very popular in Japan.

shibuya pedestrian intersection

Shibuya Crossing in action.

shibuya crossing

It is always busy at the Shibuya Crossing no matter what time of the day. During peak hours, the crossing is the busiest though.

 Just like Times Square in New York, you will be inundated with many glaring LED screens on the wall facades of the buildings in the intersection.

Crowds in Shibuya Crossing waiting to cross over.

Ah finally, time to cross over!

Always, always a very busy intersection, this Shibuya Crossing.

Travel Period: November 2014
Destination: Shibuya (Shibuya – Tokyo), Japan

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