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Source: Gaijin Pot

One of the best-known symbols of Tokyo is the busy pedestrian scramble outside Shibuya station. Virtually anyone who’s ever come to the capital has probably been drawn to it at some point. People refer to it variously as Hachiko Crossing, Shibuya Crossing or the Shibuya Scramble. Whatever you want to call it (for the sake of convenience, we’ll follow the example of local businesses here and call it the Scramble), it’s a true tourist magnet.

The chaotic free-for-all of foot traffic, with people zigzagging every which way to get across the street, almost seems tailor-made to form an establishing shot of the metropolis on film. In our Lost in Translation guide to Tokyo, we looked at one well-worn spot for watching the Scramble: namely, the second floor of the Starbucks in Shibuya’s Q-Front building. To encourage a high turnaround of customers, the ubiquitous coffee chain only serves “Tall” size drinks at this location.

Photo: Joshua Meyer
People crossing the Shibuya Scramble with umbrellas in the rain, as seen in Lost in Translation.

This is one of the busiest Starbucks franchises in the world, with a view that overlooks the second busiest train station in the world. With every over-caffeinated shutterbug and their grandmother vying for a window seat, however, the place is already crawling with camera buzzards and it isn’t always the most relaxing nor even the best spot for watching the intersection anymore.

A new, open-air observation deck is just one of the lesser-known alternatives that will allow you to get a bird’s-view of the Shibuya Scramble. …continue reading