Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Organised chaos at Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing

On an impromptu business trip to Tokyo earlier this year, I had one precious Saturday to see the sights before heading home. Predictably, most of it was spent rather frantically dashing around trying to see as many of the sights as possible. So it was fitting, really, that Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world, was my last stop for the day.

I wait somewhat nervously behind a bunch of people for the lights – no way was I going to be at the forefront of this madness. As soon as the pedestrian lights turn green, the crowd surges forward, only to be met with another surging crowd from two directions at once. Somehow, using the people in front as a human shield, I make it across without being trampled. Surprisingly, the whole encounter was very civilised – organised chaos, really. No pushing and shoving in Japan, except on the subway, of course, where people are hired to literally push passengers onto the crowded trains. Seriously. Imagine the conversation:

Stranger 1: What do you do?

Stranger 2: Oh, I’m a subway people pusher

When I recover my breath, I head up to the Starbucks to crowdwatch. The Starbucks has the longest line I’ve ever seen at any of its branches, prompted, no doubt, by its prime position commanding the best view of the crossing. If you’re sneaky like I was, you’ll figure out a way to skip the queues and squeeze to the window for a peak (hint: go through the music store next door). Beneath me, the ebb and flow of people and cars alternate as the lights flick from green to red. The rhythmic dance is almost hypnotic, but all too soon, it’s time to head home.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Chaos.


If you’re at Shibuya, look at for the statue of Hachiko the dog, made famous by Richard Gere in the eponymous movie. The story goes that Hachiko used to greet his master at the Shibuya train station every day when his master returned from work. However, one day, his master died suddenly, and did not show up at the station. Not knowing what happened to his master, Hachiko continued to show up at the station every day for nine years, precisely at the time when his master’s train used to arrive.


Hachiko the loyal dog

One comment on “Organised chaos at Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing

  1. Pingback: Chaos: Painted Sky | What's (in) the picture?

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This entry was posted on November 9, 2016 by in Japan, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , .

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