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101 things to do in Shibuya

The best places to eat, shop and play in Tokyo’s buzziest neighbourhood

Unmissable things to do in Shibuya: see the scramble crossing

Shibuya: it's the 'hood with everything. Cutting-edge fashion boutiques, world-class nightclubs, unbeatable record shops, hip bars, dining options ranging from fancy washoku eateries to dirt-cheap diners – if you want it, you can probably find it here. But with so much to choose from, where on earth should you start? Read on for Time Out's 101 essential Shibuya tips: the best places to shop, eat, drink and party in Tokyo's most iconic neighbourhood. They're all taken from the latest edition of our 101 things to do in Shibuya, a pocket-sized guide that comes complete with a detailed map to help you find everything...

1
Brave the scramble...

Brave the scramble...

It ranks among the busiest pedestrian crossings on Earth – yet you may feel a strange sence of solitude descend as you make your way through the crowds. Scramble Crossing

2

Accept the curry challenge...

Aficionados of Japanese-style curry ‘n’ rice still flock to this Shibuya institution, which has been serving Everest-shaped portions of the stuff since 1951. Murugi

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4

Get lost in time...

Wander around the ramshackle street of Nonbei Yokocho ('Drunkard's Alley’) where you'll find rows of tiny bars – some so small that they only fit four or five people at a time. Nonbei Yokocho

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5

Get your fromage fix...

Housemade mozzarella and ricotta occupy pride of place at this cheesy eatery, which also does a nice line in sandwiches. Shibuya Cheese Stand

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Shibuya
6

Step into a fairytale world...

Antique dolls, chandeliers and ornaments make up the decor, setting the scene for Grimoire's girly vintage gothics and cutesy dresses. You can also find pieces such as decorative cabinets and lampshades. Grimoire

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Harajuku
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7

Sip seasonal cocktails...

Award-winning bartender Shinobu Ishigaki wields an array of fresh fruit and vegetables when creating his seasonal cocktails at Ishinohana, Shibuya’s answer to the high-end bars of Ginza. Ishinohana

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Shibuya
8

Read up on fungi...

A used bookstore also selling secondhand CDs and records. What sets it apart from the bookshop stack is its mushroom book collection – dedicated entirely to books about fungi in a variety of languages. Rhythm and Books

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9

Bite into a gluten-free cookie...

Celiacs with a sweet tooth can rejoice at the gluten-free baked goodies available here. Split into a ground-floor bakery/deli and a full-scale second-floor restaurant, Elle Café Aoyama also does healthy(ish) lunches and dinners. Elle Café Aoyama

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Aoyama
10

Go izakaya-hopping...

Built on the remains of the old Yamashita shopping centre in 1998, this lively izakaya arcade has plenty to offer for courageous diners, including western-style wine bars, sushi shops, oden, grills and even oddities such as horse or whale meat (at Jun-chan). Ebisu Yokocho

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11

Power up with a flower

Need a special bouquet for a special occasion? Find it at this pretty flower shop that also carries a wide range of potted plants and cactuses. Habana

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13

Conquer the monster...

It's not a particularly intimidating monster; in fact you should have no trouble devouring the shaved ice dessert by Taiwan's popular Ice Monster chain. Head over for authentic Taipei-born flavours such as milk tea and mango, with a texture like powder snow. Ice Monster

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Harajuku
14

Flick through magazines, 24/7...

Discover the time-honoured Japanese art of ‘tachiyomi’ (standing and reading) at this 24-hour bookshop, which lures the hip crowd with its horde of magazine back issues. Yamashita Shoten

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15

Munch on Kiki's choco cake....

The walls at this café-come-library are lined with books, while the menu features dishes and treats that have appeared in literature – including a chocolate cake from 1985 novel 'Kiki’s Delivery Service', later made world-famous by the Studio Ghibli movie. The table fee is ¥500, and you'll need to order at least one drink. Mori no Tosyo Shitsu

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Shibuya
16

Appreciate some eclectic film...

Showing a fascinating mix of movies, particularly indie productions from both Japan and abroad with lots of experimental and short work thrown in as well, Uplink also holds events like talks and live performances. Uplink

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17

Do Turkish for lunch...

This venerable Turkish restaurant does good, filling lunch sets (including vegetarian options), while you can catch belly dance performances on Friday and Saturday nights. Ankara

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18

See cutting-edge art...

Spike Jonze, Chen Man and Rolland Berry have all had shows at Diesel's dedicated exhibition space, whose basement gallery hosts four exhibitions each year. Diesel Art Gallery

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20

Buy souvenirs from a vending machine

Run by the same family for three generations, Maruara Watanabe is a good place to pick up traditional Japanese souvenirs, but the quirkiest attraction has to be the pair of vending machines outside that dispense tourist trinkets 24 hours a day. Maruara Watanabe

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21

Expand your record collection...

This atmospheric Shibuya record store focuses on genres such as house, disco and Balearic house at reasonable prices, with shipments of new stock every week. Lighthouse Records

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23

Wait longingly for someone...

Faithful mutt Hachiko spent nine years waiting for his master outside Shibuya Station, and is commemorated in a memorial service every April 8 at this still-popular meeting spot. Hachiko Square

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Shibuya
24

Feel the ocean vibe...

Owner-chef Teruyuki Tange combines his love of the ocean (that’s his surfboard on the wall) and cooking to offer an excellent seafood menu, plentiful sake and reasonable prices. Kaikaya

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26

Devour gourmet French toast...

This is the Tokyo branch of Fukuoka's French toast specialist Ivorish. Famed for their excellent toast, created especially for the purpose, these fellows top all orders with ample fruit garnish or delicious meat and vegetables. Ivorish

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27

Admire some contemporary art...

Although contemporary art is its main focus, this Tomio Koyama-curated gallery also hosts exhibitions of modern, ancient and ceramic works. 8 / Art Gallery/ Tomio Koyama Gallery

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29

Drink the world on tap...

Like a craft beer bar on steroids, the awkwardly named Goodbeer Faucets has over 40 microbrews on tap, served in a slick chrome-and-concrete setting. Goodbeer Faucets

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Shibuya
30

Pick up knitting necessities...

Its walls covered with countless varieties of colourful yarn, ribbons and beads stuffed into glass bottles, this Paris-born handicraft shop is where to stock up on both materials and inspiration. La Droguerie

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31

Tuck into some nasi ayam...

Recommended by the former Malaysian PM, this Malaysian restaurant is bang on in the flavour department, with both firm favourites and lesser-known staples featured on the menu. Malay Asian Cuisine

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33

Swig some sake...

This narrow, standing-only bar hidden away on the second floor on a side street is a little gem for those looking to immerse themselves in the world of sake. Sakestand Shibuya Dogenzakaue

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Shibuya
34

Catch a cinematic concert...

The tiered floor is a dead giveaway: WWW was an arthouse cinema before it found its current vocation as a gig spot. Sister venue WWW X upstairs boasts an even more powerful sound system. WWW

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35

Appreciate drinks with a view...

The menu features a frankly terrifying list of expensive tipples from all over the world, but the enormous glass windows, which offer views of the entire Shinjuku skyline, make the 40th-floor Bellovisto well worth checking out. Book ahead for the best seats. Bellovisto

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Shibuya
36

Write yourself a letter...

Steeped in the atmosphere of a bygone era, Postalco is proof that good taste never goes out of style – and the stationery and accessories on sale here are very stylish indeed. Postalco

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37

Try the tastiest latte...

Produced by Hiroshi Sawada from Sawada Coffee in Chicago, Lattest draws crowds with its eponymous drink, a single shot of espresso topped with a splash of ice cold milk. Lattest

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Harajuku
38

Turn your nails into a canvas...

Most of what passes for nail art in Tokyo starts to seem very wan indeed after you’ve encountered the work of Nagisa Kaneko. The owner of Disco acts like a graffiti artist working in miniature. Reservations essential. Disco

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39

Snack the French way...

Peckish? Pick up homemade crepes and galettes at this relaxing café where the menu offers over 30 different types of toppings and even a dabble in French alcoholic apple cider. Au Temps Jadis Creperie

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40

Shop, chew, and sip...

In addition to a shop, this quirky spot boasts a sandwich joint and a bar that stays open until 9pm, while also exhibiting and selling pieces by artists who’ve worked closely with the eponymous brand’s designers. Buy Me Stand (Son of the Cheese, Son of the Bar)

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41

Dig for funky tunes...

Technique is the purveyor of all strands of dance-music vinyl – from techno and house to nu-jazz. Several listening decks and knowledgeable staff make this the store of choice for many local DJs. Technique

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Shibuya
42

Go on a vintage hunt...

It’s lucky the name is stencilled over the main entrance, otherwise you might mistake the unassuming exterior for a private apartment. Inside, however, is a treasure trove of Japanese vintage items. Boy

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43

Read between the wines...

Music, literature, art, philosophy and culture are among the many subjects covered at this book store. Flick through the archival design books while enjoying a glass of wine at its four-seat bar space. Flying Books

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44

Get to know Mr Nemeth...

One of the most iconic stores in the Omotesando/Harajuku area, this highly conceptual space shows off pieces by the late fashion designer and artist Christopher Nemeth. Christopher Nemeth

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45

Devour some world-beating chocolate cake...

Bubó's pastry artisans peddle their usual lineup of sweets made with fresh ingredients sourced from Spain, plus chocolate crafted from French ingredients. Don't miss the show-stopping, 'world's best' Xabina chocolate cake. Bubó Barcelona

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Omotesando
46

Go (model) train spotting...

Who needs a bar with a view when you’ve got a bar with a diorama? Here, you can sip cocktails while gazing at an N scale model train wending its way around a miniature Shibuya. Ginza Panorama Shibuya

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47

Gaze at the stars...

The high-tech digital projector isn’t the only modern convenience at this planetarium: some of the seats also rotate individually, allowing you to behold the cosmos at your own leisure. Cosmo Planetarium Shibuya

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48

Hang out, Oslo style...

Bringing some Norwegian flair to a remote corner of Shibuya, this bar and café serves top-notch coffee by day and classy cocktails at night. Like the retro furniture? You can buy that, too. Fuglen Tokyo

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49

Stock up on sounds...

One of Japan’s largest music stores, Tower Records has a whopping 5,100 square metres of floor space, including performance spaces and a café, and carries releases from practically every genre out there. Tower Records Shibuya

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50

Get your coffee bean fix...

Koffee Mameya is the reincarnation of the beloved Omotesando Koffee. Set in the same building, the shop is primarily a bean specialist, and although there's no seating, espressos and regular coffees are sold at the counter. Koffee Mameya

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Harajuku
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51

Have a pancake Sunday...

Once a pancake shop, now a reborn café and diner with a revamped dinner menu focusing on meaty Italian fare and wine. They still do pancakes on weekday afternoons and Sundays. Scotchbank

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Shibuya
52

Party hardy...

The spiritual successor of storied Tokyo clubs like Yellow and Eleven, this new venture provides much-needed relief for the city's more discerning friends of electronic tunes in a basement on Dogenzaka. Contact

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53

Feed your mind with some arty reading...

Once one of the city's best places for foreign books and magazines, Aoyama Book Center drastically scaled back its international section a few years ago, but it's still good for artistically minded tomes. Aoyama Book Center

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Harajuku
54

Listen to the Liquid...

Recommended

The reincarnation of a legendary Shinjuku music venue, this is one of Tokyo’s top gig spots – and an occasional nightclub, to boot. Head upstairs to our very own Time Out Café & Diner, a dapper lounge with free Wi-Fi. Liquidroom

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Ebisu
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56

Sip rum, munch meze...

The rum selection and Caribbean soundtrack would be reason enough to visit this bar, but it also offers good, vegetarian-friendly menus of African and Middle Eastern food. Los Barbados

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57

Get down with the underground...

With drinks for ¥500, an impressive sound system and a normal closing time of 8am on weekends, there are only two words to describe what you need to survive a night at Oath: club stamina. Oath

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Aoyama
58

Indulge in craft beer and vinyl...

There's nothing ersatz about this British pub: from the no-smoking policy to the 3,000 slabs of vinyl and 21 draught microbrews and hand-pumped ales, it's like a little slice of Old Blighty in the heart of Shibuya. The Aldgate

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59

Step into a VR world...

This 'virtual reality experience' is located inside the Shibuya Adores arcade. With seven different VR games to play, from competitive baseball to the 'Ghost Attackers' shooter, there's enough to lose yourself in another world. VR Park Tokyo

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Shibuya
60

Browse books until midnight...

The staff at this ultra-hip bookshop are more interested in encouraging new discoveries than hawking the latest bestseller – and they stay open until midnight, too. Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers

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62

Scope out the latest styles...

Boutiques don’t come much more bleeding-edge than this. Check the latest gobsmacking street fashion at the ground- and basement-floor Candy shop, then head upstairs for the girly (though no less edgy) Sister. Fake Tokyo

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63

Munch on tonkatsu in a basement...

This old-school basement restaurant feels surprisingly spacious once inside, and is distinguished by the stone lantern outside. Katsukichi is primarily a pork place – go for the tonkatsu, katsudon, or other deep-fried teishoku set meals. Katsukichi

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64

Devour some buri-daikon...

Pretty much everything on the menu is worth sampling at this 50-year-old seafood restaurant, but the buri-daikon – yellowtail and daikon stewed in soy sauce – is an undisputed classic. Sangyodo

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65

Treat yourself to an egg tart...

Once you’ve tried an authentic Portuguese pastel de nata, there’s no going back – and this shop run by Yoyogi restaurant Cristiano’s does them better than anywhere else in town. Nata de Cristiano’s

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Shibuya
66

Take a whirlwind tour of Japan...

This novel museum in the towering Hikarie building is all about spreading the love: each exhibition is devoted to showcasing a particular design theme, as represented by all 47 of Japan’s prefectures. D47 Museum

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67

Have a rooftop kick-around...

There’s no beating the location of this singularly picturesque football pitch: it sits atop the Tokyu Toyoko department store, right next to Shibuya Station. Adidas Futsal Park

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Shibuya
68

Discover the wonders of sesame ice cream...

This sesame ice cream purveyor does some seriously smooth scoops. Besides the popular kuro (black) and shiro (white) sesame, they also offer flavours like goma-shio (sesame salt) and tsubutsubu zakkoku (chunky mixed sesame). Gomaya Kuki

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69

Play ping-pong all night long...

When you’ve missed the last train home and don’t fancy drinking, EST has the answer. Take your pick from billiards, bowling, karaoke and table tennis – all of them available until dawn. EST

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Shibuya
70

Bounce to the beat...

Standing out with its minimalist interior and plant-heavy décor, this mid-sized space is one of the better (and better-sounding) clubs to open in Tokyo in the past few years. Their bookings tend to be skewed towards the alternative, with international techno and house artists particularly well represented. Vent

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Aoyama
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71

Go bouldering with a view...

This urban climbing gym overlooking Meiji-dori in Shibuya is spread over three floors with beginner-intermediate, advanced, and children's areas, making it the perfect place for family bouldering. Bouldering Studio Peki Peki

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74

Fill your wardrobe with feminine pieces...

Dealing mainly in domestic brands like Mina Perhonen and Sina Suien, this H.P. France-run boutique caters to 'girly but feminine' (read: not overtly kawaii) fashionistas and hosts regular exhibitions at the in-store gallery. Lamp Harajuku

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75

Catch an arthouse flick...

Cutting-edge contemporary films, classics, avant-garde features and experimental work are all on the menu at this cozy arthouse theatre, found up on Miyamasuzaka in the direction of Aoyama. Theatre Image Forum

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Shibuya
76

Get into the Brazilian spirit...

A colourful churrasco eatery that's remained a local favourite for years, the spacious Tucano's serves up authentic grub and steamy samba shows, held three or four times weekly at 7.30pm and 8.30pm. Tucano's

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77

Have your tea with milk...

This venerable tea house has been serving up aromatic drinks – often with a side of milk – for more than three decades now, and it shows in both the tea quality and the slightly worn interior. Kenyan Shibuya

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79

Rock out ’80s-style...

This basement DJ bar attracts hipsters and music aficionados in equal measure. It's small and smoky, features quirky decor like animal heads on red walls, and is popular amongst expats who mingle to an ’80s rock soundtrack. Beat Cafe

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Shibuya
80

Sample Vietnamese delicacies...

Chefs flown in from Hanoi prepare a selection of Vietnamese meals that you’ll have a hard time finding elsewhere in Tokyo – don’t miss the chicken pho and the bánh xèo. Hoang Ngan Shibuya Bunkamura-dori

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81

Spice up your style...

Toted as a purveyor for celebrities, it’s not hard to understand why Toga has been turning heads, with its sophisticated yet avant-garde garments and accessories for both men and women. Toga Harajuku

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Harajuku
82

Feast on beer and sausages...

When nothing but the heartiest food and drink will do, this is the place to head. Tuck in to the housemade sausages and bacon, washed down with wine and Belgian beer. Hemel Miyamasu

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83

Shop for funky wallpaper...

If you're looking for wallpaper, there's no better shop in Tokyo: this Ebisu import specialist stocks a wide range from all over the world. Buy some (from 1m) or attend one of their workshops for plastering help. Walpa Store Tokyo

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Ebisu
84

Ogle at yourself while dancing...

Trump Tokyo's entrance is rather inconspicuous, but enter and you'll find yourself in a kitschy-come-luxurious room filled with antique chandeliers and mirrors – presumably set up so that the crowds can admire themselves. Local star DJs often stop by for a spin. Trump Tokyo

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85

Eat up or else...

The set meals ('teishoku') are the draw at this no-frills eatery specialising in seafood – raw, fried, steamed, boiled and so on. Extra bowls of rice are free, but do note that not finishing your meal may lead to a fine. Uoriki

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Shibuya
86

Find beauty in simplicity...

Imagine a place where all is calm, beautifully designed with clean lines and a neutral palette. This is Muji. It stocks everything from home and office accessories to crafts; check out their in-store café too. Mujirushi Ryohin

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87

Share in the joy of pancakes...

The name alone forces a smile, but luckily the flavours are good enough for you to keep grinning at this pancake shop, which uses neither additives nor baking powder. A Happy Pancake Shibuya

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Shibuya
88

Try macrobiotic fare...

On offer at Hanada Rosso is ‘Hanada-style brown rice and vegetables’, meaning some very intense macrobiotic fare. Everything on the menu is handmade, and free of refined sugar and additives. Hanada Rosso

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89

Try tantalising tofu...

Tofu is the speciality at this hotel restaurant, which serves up a variety of rich soy offerings. The fish – selected daily from Tsukiji by the chef – is also sublime. Nigome

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Shibuya
90

Stop and stare...

Lost for decades in Mexico, Taro Okamoto's 30m-long, nuclear-themed mural was recovered and moved to a new home in 2008: the station concourse inside Shibuya Mark City. The Myth of Tomorrow

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91

Take a culinary trip to Bangkok...

This aptly named Thai eatery does a good job at maintaining a proper Bangkok vibe. Besides staples like tom yum goong and green curry, they also offer many original dishes created by the Thai chef. Bangkok Night

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Shibuya
92

Run with the wolves...

While it’s busiest during its annual September festival, this neighbourhood shrine is worth visiting year-round to see its handsome wolf statues – a genuine rarity in Japan. Miyamasu Mitake Shrine

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93

Sit down for an old-school cuppa...

Take a break from Shibuya’s 21st-century bustle at this time-warp of a café just across the road from Hachiko. Top out-charms Starbucks with its old-school siphon coffee and retro food offerings like oysters on toast. Top

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Shibuya
94

Stop by for brunch...

Serving wholesome, home-style cooking, using vegetables grown at a private farm at the foot of Mt Fuji, Good Honest Grub has been a popular weekend brunch stop for expats for over a decade. Good Honest Grub

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95

Slurp some udon...

Yamacho's udon noodles, available either 'thin' or 'fat' and good value at mostly under ¥1,000 a bowl, are cooked al dente and served with dashi stock courtesy of the restaurant's century-old namesake in Osaka. Ebisu Udon Yamacho

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Ebisu
96

Acquaint yourself with lesser-known brands...

Specialising in menswear, Time is on does a great job of introducing minor foreign brands to a Japanese audience. Reflecting the latest trends without going overboard, their selection is a tasteful take on contemporary styles. Time is on

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97

Sip on a quirky cocktail...

Bridging the gap between the Shibuya of old and the 'redeveloping' Shibuya of the pre-Olympic era is Legacy, a no-frills watering hole with a comfy atmosphere and individualist takes on many classic cocktails. Bar Legacy

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99

Pull out your best hip-hop moves...

Harlem has been a mecca of hip hop culture in Japan since its opening in 1997. With well-known Japanese DJs throwing out hip hop tunes mixed with a little R&B and reggae, it attracts more than 1,000 people on weekend nights. Harlem

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Shibuya
100

Feast on falafel...

There’s no sign outside, but that hasn’t stopped word spreading about this minimalist counter shop: the home of some of Tokyo’s best falafel sandwiches. Kuumba du Falafel

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101

Relax over a martini...

Caprice isn't exactly spacious, but the long, narrow space is comfy and makes for a great laidback sipping experience, while the cocktail menu is heavy on classics. Bar Caprice

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Swing over to Roppongi

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