Considered as a shopping and fashion mecca, Shibuya is a fashionista haven, home of numerous department stores and entertainment hubs. It is the birthplace of Japanese fashion, a crossroad that meets the latest trends of east and west.
Literally, Shibuya is a home to one of the busiest pedestrian section, the Shibuya crossing. It is a feast to people watch as pedestrians strut along the crossing with their shopping bags at hand or tourists simply trying the Shibuya crossing experience. Another icon synonymous to Shibuya is Hachiko, the famous Akita dog known for his loyalty to his master. He waited at the Shibuya train station 9 years even after Professor Ueno’s death.
Of course, any trip would not be complete without exploring the food options that Shibuya has to offer. The culinary scene in Shibuya is as busy as the scramble crossing, with the fusion of both local and international flavors, making it a melting pot of flavors. Here is the Shibuya food guide for making your Tokyo trip delicious.
Mouthwatering dishes in Shibuya include Oyakodon at Hashidaya, Hoshino’s Souffle Pancakes, shoyu-based ramen and gyoza at Kiraku, and Tonkatsu Ramen at Ichiran Ramen, and Japanese-style curry at Murugi. For meat lovers, head on to Reikyo and munch some juicy pork sausages. You can also visit one of the many izakaya places in Shibuya.
Something Fishy (and Oishii)
Shibuya houses the Standing Sushi Bar Uogashi Nihon-ichi, and as the name suggests, you’ll have to stand while eating. This is where most locals satisfy their sushi cravings. The house offers various types of sushi ranging from the usual offerings such as ika (squid), tuna, otoro (Bluefin tuna belly), engawa (flounder), aji (horse mackerel), ebi (shrimp). Moreover, there are seasonal and unusual offerings such as hotategai (scallop), kuruma-ebi (prawn), and shirako or cod sperm/milt, which is only offered during winter.
Fugu fish, anyone? While this fish is only found in Yamaguchi and Oita prefecture and may cost one a fortune for a dish, Narumi offers affordable fugu fish dishes. This flavorful rarity is abundant from September to March. Highly recommended is the Fuku course set which contains fugu sashimi, fried-chicken, orange-flavored stew, rice porridge, and dessert.
Furthermore, to taste the freshest catch of the sea, Kaikaiya by the Sea offers various seafood dishes, which it has perfected for years. Bestsellers include Senyo no Carpaccio (raw fish in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sweet basil), sashimi, grilled fish, and cherry blossom ice cream to name a few.
Select and Slurp
Shibuya also has Kamukura, a ramen place for to those who need a quick fix. This ramen house has an unconventional way of ordering your ramen. First, select the kind of ramen you want from a huge menu. Once decided, you can approach the vending machine, which dispenses a ticket that corresponds to your order. Present the ticket to the staff inside the store and in a few minutes, your ramen will be served.
Get Drunk (But don’t Drive)
And while Shinjuku has Golden Gai, similarly, Shibuya has Nonbei Yokocho or the “Drunkard Alley”, which showcases the calm and old-school Japan feel at the heart of the busy district and is a home to several mini watering holes.
In addition, quench your need for alcohol at Fujiya Honten, a 130-year-old basement bar that keeps the traditional practice of ordering: place your money at the bar, order and enjoy your drink. Don’t worry about your change, it will be returned once you leave.
And if you love seasonal cocktails, Shinobu Ishigaki’s creations at Ishinohana is a must-try. Each drink is infused with either a fruit or vegetable for that unique kick.
Feed the Tummy (and the Mind)
Meanwhile, for those who are fond of reading manga, Shibuya has several manga cafes wherein you can stay and browse through an extensive collection manga and anime books. Additionally, to those would love to get lost in the pages of novels and books over a hearty meal or dessert with names inspired by novels, Mori No Tosyo Shitsu is the best place for you.
Shibuya, with its bright neon lights and an endless array of trendy shops, is truly a happening fashion and food arena in Japan. Its food stops and drinking joints reflect the Shibuya lifestyle: hip and trendy while still embracing the traditional Japanese culture.
Aleli is a wanderlust whose main itinerary is to culture soak in the places that she sets foot on, sinking her teeth in the gustatory offerings that the place has to offer and knowing the story behind it. Food for her is a marriage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the rich history of every city she explores and uses the pen as her tool to share to the world each unique experience she unravels.