Shibuya Crossing, or Shibuya Scramble Crossing, is a famous scramble crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. It is located in front of the Shibuya Station Hachikō exit and stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection.
The statue of Hachikō, between the station and the intersection, is a common meeting place and almost always crowded.
Three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings overlook the crossing, as well as many advertising signs.
The Starbucks store overlooking the crossing is also one of the busiest in the world.
Its heavy traffic and inundation of advertising have led to it being compared to the Times Square intersection in New York City and Piccadilly Circus intersection in London.
Shibuya Crossing is the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing, with as many as 3,000 people crossing at a time.
Tokyo-based architecture professor Julian Worrall has said Shibuya Crossing is “a great example of what Tokyo does best when it’s not trying.”
Shibuya Crossing is often featured in movies and television shows in Tokyo, such as Lost in Translation, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Resident Evil: Afterlife, as well as on domestic, international news broadcasts.
The iconic video screen featured in the above movies, Lost in Translation with its ‘walking dinosaur’ scene, was taken down for some time and replaced with static advertising.
However, it resumed operation in July 2013. Contemporary British painter Carl Randall (who spent ten years living in Tokyo as an artist) depicted the area in his large artwork ‘Shibuya’, exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London 2013.
Scramble Crossing is a significant location in the video game The World Ends With You, which is set entirely in the neighbourhood of Shibuya.
The Shibuya Crossing was featured in the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony to promote the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Since the late 2010s, it has become a popular place for young people to gather at Halloween, some in cosplay costumes.
Increasingly large and chaotic crowds led in 2019 to Shibuya Ward adopting an ordinance banning alcohol consumption in the area at the end of October.
Foot traffic of Shibuya Crossing
This intersection is frequently called “the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world”, and there is almost no loss of foot traffic at midnight or early morning.
Road traffic jams rarely occur here, even during rush hours.
In 2016, the number of pedestrians crossing Shibuya Center Street was as high as 3,000 per green light (every two minutes).
A 2014 flow measurement survey by the Shibuya Redevelopment Association estimated 260,000 pedestrians per day on weekdays and 390,000 pedestrians on non-working days.
Others estimate as many as 500,000 people on the busiest days.
The 2012 SOTO Outdoor Media Survey estimated 1.5 million pedestrians per week.