Shibuya is instantly recognisable worldwide for its famous landmark, the scramble crossing known as the Shibuya Crossing. Every tourist seems to find it mandatory to take a picture or video of the crossing. But after that Shibuya Crossing shot is taken and you have one tick off your bucket list, what should you do next in Shibuya?
Shibuya is the epitome of bustling Tokyo, and is where the young and hip fashionistas head to for serious shopping, especially in Shibuya 109, the epicentre of Tokyo’s young fashion culture complex. I myself do have a weakness for shopping there.
But besides some fabulous places for shopping, there aren’t many other places of interest there. Though sometimes if you are lucky, you might be able to catch actual Mario karts racing across the Shibuya streets! They do look rather adorable, but I think I’d most likely give it a pass, I am not a fan of ingesting carbon monoxide from the cars around me, thank you very much.
While there may not be much to do in Shibuya besides shopping, there are tons of yummy food places to be found here, and I wanna share some great finds I’ve discovered!
Most Authentic Izakaya
Maishin (米心) is a must-go place for both an authentic and an incredibly contemporary fusion Japanese food experience, and finally, not forgetting, premium sake at low prices in the busy streets of Tokyo.
The menu is unfortunately entirely in Japanese, so it would be inadvisable to go if your knowledge of Japanese is basic. Even I struggled to read the words, if not for my bae, I would never enter this shop on my own. Actually, I wouldn’t even have found it. The izakaya is located at the basement level, so you would first have to go down a flight of stairs to reach it.
Finding the stairs would be your first challenge, for there is no indication of the shop anywhere on the streets. The next challenge is the door leading to the izakaya. There is no sign above the wooden door of the shop, and curiously, the door opens at my chest level. You would have to duck down to enter, it is as if it is a shop for dwarves and hobbits. But once inside, you’d be relieved to find that the izakaya isn’t quite as small as the door, though the bar area may be a little snug as it is situated right at the entrance.
Every single thing I ordered here was so wonderful, that I simply wasn’t looking forward to return home though it was my second last day in Japan.
I fell in love with the tamagoyaki. It was unlike any other tamagoyaki I had, and it wasn’t because of the stuffed mentaiko in the tamagoyaki. It is because it was made with dashi stock. The richness of the dashi not only added a more complex dimension of flavour to the tamagoyaki but also made it bouncier and fluffier.
Address: Suyama Bldg. B1F, 2-10-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-10-12 道玄坂スヤマビル B1F
Nearest station: Shibuya
Opening hours: 5~11:30 p.m.; weekends, holidays 4~10:30 p.m.
Price : 4000~6500 JPY (plus drinks)
Soba Lovers Unite!
If you are a soba lover like me, you would definitely love this shop, Shirou (しろう), for its soba is not only good, its soup really can lift any dampened spirits up. Shirou is a no-frills soba shop, small and unpretentious, strictly for soba lovers. I am a huge fan of zaru soba (cold soba), which is a go-to dish in summer, and it is summer, so I ordered zaru soba. Eat up your soba, and savour the broth at the end by adding the hot water used to cook the noodles into the soba dip. The tempura is nothing to shout about, but the soup alone can take you to heaven and back. The dip tastes like usual soba dip, a mix of mentsuyu (Japanese dipping sauce), wasabi and spring onions, but once you add the hot water into the dip, the flavour changes, perhaps it was the taste of the soba noodles that makes it so light and refreshing despite its savoury taste.
Address: 3-5-1 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo
Nearest stations: Omote Sando exit A2 , Gaienmae exit 3
Opening hours: 11:30〜22:00(L.O.21:30) closed on Thursdays
Price: [Lunch] 1000-1999 JPY, [Dinner] 4000-4999 JPY
Best Japanese Dessert, Crepe!
Now moving on to sweet delights. I love Japanese dessert, especially their crepes and ice-cream. There was this one weekday evening while I was strolling in the streets of Shibuya, that I came across this crepe shop, Dipper Dan Crepe, with a one day 300JPY offer for all crepes, and surprisingly, no queue. If this had been Singapore, I would probably have to wait for half an hour to get my order.
Being the cheapskate that I am, I was more than happy to get my hands on a lovely baked apple crepe with an ice-cream topping. Two of my favourites made me very happy even though I was all alone. This is one of the few times I can bear to be out alone for long, when I have a sweet treat, or when I am looking at accessories (less likely to be disturbed by shop attendants as compared to shopping for clothes), or being in a library surrounded by books. Yes I’m a solitary being.
Dipper Dan Crepe
Address: Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawacho, 31−2, 渋谷ＢＥＡＭ
Tel: +81 3-6416-3773
Nearest station: Shibuya
Best Cafe for A Girlfriends Outing
On another day, I found this sweet little shop that is made for ladies, Shibuya Coffee. The name is kind of uncreative, and clashed with the shop’s pretty garden interior, but who am I to say anything when they offer my favourite ice-cream, Cremia. Cremia is a brand of soft-serve ice-cream (also known as “softcream” in Japan) filled with 25% Hokkaido fresh cream and 12.5% high milk fat content, touted by some (including me) as the BEST soft-serve in the world. I can never get enough of its creamy and velvety-rich indulgence.
Cremia can be found in many places across Japan, and I was seriously tempted every corner I turned. Though the Cremia in this shop doesn’t come with its unique buttery wafer-like cone which tastes very much like Shiroi Koibito, it is complemented by various other desserts which serves as a good substitute for the cone. But the cone still tops as the best combination for the soft-serve.