Shibuya (Kanto Area)
|• Mayor||Ken Hasebe (since April 2015)|
|• Total||15.11 km2 (5.83 sq mi)|
(May 1, 2016)
|• Density||14,679.09/km2 (38,018.7/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|• Tree||Zelkova serrata|
|• Flower||Iris ensata|
|City office||Shibuya 1-18-21, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8010|
Shibuya (渋谷区 Shibuya-ku) is a special ward in Tokyo, Japan. As a major commercial and finance center, it houses two of the busiest railway stations in the world, Shinjuku Station (southern half) and Shibuya Station.
The name "Shibuya" is also used to refer to the shopping district which surrounds Shibuya Station. This area is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan, particularly for young people, and as a major nightlife area.
Shibuya was historically the site of a castle in which the Shibuya family resided from the 11th century through the Edo period. Following the opening of the Yamanote Line in 1885, Shibuya began to emerge as a railway terminal for southwestern Tokyo and eventually as a major commercial and entertainment center.
The village of Shibuya was incorporated in 1889 by the merger of the villages of Kami-Shibuya, Naka-Shibuya and Shimo-Shibuya within Minami-Toshima County (Toyotama County from 1896). The village covered the territory of modern-day Shibuya Station area as well as the Hiroo, Daikanyama, Aoyama, and Ebisu areas. Shibuya became a town in 1909. The town of Shibuya merged with the neighboring towns of Sendagaya (which included the modern Sendagaya, Harajuku and Jingumae areas) and Yoyohata (which included the modern Yoyogi and Hatagaya areas) to form Shibuya-ku suburban ward upon being absorbed into Tokyo City in 1932. Shibuya became an urban special ward under the Local Autonomy Act in 1947.
The Tokyu Toyoko Line opened in 1932, making Shibuya a key terminal between Tokyo and Yokohama, and was joined by the forerunner of the Keio Inokashira Line in 1933 and the forerunner of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line in 1938. One of the best-known stories concerning Shibuya is the story of Hachikō, a dog who waited on his late master at Shibuya Station every day from 1923 to 1935, eventually becoming a national celebrity for his loyalty. A statue of Hachikō was built adjacent to the station, and the surrounding Hachikō Square is now the most popular meeting point in the area.
During the occupation of Japan, Yoyogi Park was used as a housing compound for U.S. personnel known as "Washington Heights." The U.S. military left in 1964, and much of the park was repurposed as venues for the 1964 Summer Olympics. The ward itself served as part of the athletics 50 km walk and marathon course during the 1964 games.
Shibuya has achieved great popularity among young people since the early 1980s. There are several famous fashion department stores in Shibuya. Shibuya 109 is a major shopping center near Shibuya Station, particularly famous as the origin of the kogal subculture. Called "Ichi-Maru-kyū," which translates as 1–0–9 in Japanese, the name is actually a pun on that of the corporation that owns it — Tōkyū (which sounds like 10–9 in Japanese; this is numerical substitution, a form of goroawase wordplay). The contemporary fashion scene in Shibuya extends northward from Shibuya Station to Harajuku, where youth culture reigns; Omotesandō, the zelkova tree- and fashion brand-lined street; and Sendagaya, Tokyo's apparel design district.
During the late 1990s, Shibuya also became known as the center of the IT industry in Japan. It was often called "Bit Valley" in English, a pun on both "Bitter Valley", the literal translation of "Shibuya", as well as bit, the computer term for binary digits.
Shibuya Stream, a skyscraper and retail complex, was completed in 2018.
The East Wing of a mixed-used skyscraper Shibuya Scramble Square was completed in August 2019.
During the early morning of January 1, 2019, a 21-year-old man named Kazuhiro Kusakabe drove his minicar into a crowd of pedestrians celebrating New Year's Day on Takeshita Street. The man claimed his actions were a terrorist attack, and later stated that his intention was to retaliate against the usage of the death penalty for Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult members. The man attempted to flee but was soon apprehended by authorities in a nearby park.
Shibuya is run by a city assembly of 34 elected members. The mayor is Ken Hasebe, an independent.
In 2015, as the council passed "Ordinance for Promoting Respect of Gender Equality and Diversity in the Ward", Shibuya Ward became the first Japanese municipality that issues same-sex partnership certificates According to this ordinance, same-sex couples who live in Shibuya are allowed "to rent apartments together, and have gained hospital visitation rights as family members". Shimizu expects the ordinance to bring three benefits to same-sex couples: "(1) rental housing within the ward (co-signing of tenancy agreements for municipal/public housing), (2) medical institutions within the ward (hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights as family members), and (3) employment conditions within the ward (e.g. family benefits, congratulations and condolence leave)". In order to apply for the certificate, couples must be 20-years-old or older residents of Shibuya Ward and have to state that "their relationship is based on love and mutual trust" in a notarized document. Koyuki Higashi (a former member of the Takarazuka Revue) and Hiroko Masuhara (an entrepreneur), a lesbian couple, were the first to receive this certification. Since the Shibuya Ward passed the ordinance, seven other municipalities in Japan have begun offering similar certificates.
The BBC notes that the ordinance has little binding legal force, saying it "amounts to a moral obligation on Shibuya businesses, which will not be penalised if they do not recognise the certificate", though their names will be posted on the ward's website if they violate the ordinance. Shimizu says the system "is not equivalent to marriage, as it does not accord same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to inheritance, joint filing of taxes, or social welfare". As it requires at least a hundred thousand yen to apply for the certificate, it can be restrictive to some couples. Shimizu argues that Shibuya Ward has been criticized for pinkwashing as "while passing this ordinance, the administration also moved to expel the homeless in Miyashita Park and other parks in the ward". Pointing out that the mayor of Shibuya Ward in an interview stated that this is not a matter of human rights, but of diversity, Yuri Horie claimed that the term of diversity seems to be used to divide citizens into the good and the bad; it raises only the ones who contribute to the consumeristic society as representer of "diversity of sexuality" while excluding the useless ones. Yuki Tsuchiya, a lesbian activist, also argues that LGBT individuals are used to promote the ward.
Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing, called Shibuya Crossing. 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. Shibuya Crossing is the "world’s busiest pedestrian crossing", with upwards 3,000 people at a time. The statue of Hachikō, a dog, between the station and the intersection, is a common meeting place and almost always crowded.
On the southwest side of Shibuya station, there is another popular meeting place with a statue called "Moyai". The statue resembles a Moai statue, and it was given to Shibuya by the people of Niijima Island in 1980.
Several companies are headquartered in Shibuya.
Calpis, Casio, Mixi, Niwango, Nihon Dempa Kogyo, and Tokyu Corporation have their headquarters in Shibuya. East Japan Railway Company have their headquarters in Yoyogi, Shibuya. 81 Produce has its headquarters in Tomigaya, Shibuya.
At one time Smilesoft had its headquarters in the CT Sasazuka Building in Shibuya. In May 1985 the headquarters of Bandai Visual moved to Shibuya. In March 1990 the headquarters moved to Shinjuku.
A.D. Vision - Tokyo, Y.K., the Japanese subsidiary of A.D. Vision, was in Shibuya. Acclaim Entertainment once had its Tokyo office in the Nomora Building. The Japanese subsidiary of Titus Interactive, Titus Japan K.K., had its head office on the eighth floor of the Kotubuki Dogenzaka Building in Dōgenzaka. The former animation studio; Group TAC was also located here.
The Shibuya Ward (The Shibuya City) operates public elementary and junior high schools, while Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education operates public senior high schools.
Shibuya operates several public libraries, including the Central Library, the Nishihara Library, the Shibuya Library, the Tomigaya Library, the Sasazuka Library, the Honmachi Library, and the Rinsen Library. In addition, the Yoyogi Youth Hall houses the Yoyogi Library Room.
Shibuya crossing at ground level
View from the Sky View observation deck
Shibuya crossing at night
Streets of Shibuya at night
"The Iceberg", building in Shibuya
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shibuya.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Shibuya.|