Shibuya has long been a hub in Tokyo for entertainment, nightlife, and shopping, especially among young people in Japan. The area is iconic as the home of Hachiko the dog and the always-bustling Shibuya Scramble Crossing, and recently new developments have made the area an even more popular spot to spend a day in.
In recent years, new or renovated shopping centers like Hikarie and Parco have popped up, as well as a swanky new Ginza subway line platform, new restaurants and parks, and more.
Now is the perfect time to visit Shibuya, watching as the once young and party-heavy neighborhood develops and grows up. And with endless options for food, shopping, and more, it’s a hot spot even if you’re on a budget.
Spending a Day in Shibuya on a Budget
Here’s how to spend a day in this cultural mecca in central Tokyo:
Casual Food With a View
Newly opened in 2020, Miyashita Park is more than just a park. It’s a shopping and restaurant center, topped with a green roof space with a skate park, a bouldering wall, and a grassy lawn perfect for relaxing.
If you’re on a budget, Miyashita Park has several casual food options: think fast food, quick bites, and affordable lunch sets. To make the most of your time at this Shibuya spot, bring your food up to the rooftop to get a nice view of the area.
If you prefer an izakaya-style meal and a few drinks, head outside to Shibuya Yokocho, nestled right next to Miyashita Park. Here you can find udon, gyoza, yakitori, and plenty of alcoholic beverages, and the alley is outfitted with traditional paper lanterns and simple outdoor tables.
Big Stores, Low Prices
Shopping in Shibuya has recently gotten better than ever with several new and renovated department stores recently opening. But if you’re looking to shop on a budget, try out some of the area’s big box stores. The Shibuya location of Tokyu Hands is several stories of hobby items, interesting souvenirs, practical home goods, and more. Don Quijote also has a large, multi-storied location in the neighborhood, packed full of unique snacks, affordable beauty products, cheap gadgets, and everything in between.
Another large and well-known shopping center in the area is Shibuya109, famous for its trendy youthful clothing stores. While some shops inside can be a bit pricey, others have inexpensive (often kawaii) clothes and accessories.
One more spot perfect for ¥100 shop lovers: Daiso’s new Muji-esque Standard Products. This shop, located on the first floor of Shibuya Mark City, has minimalist general goods, with everything costing only a few coins or less. Shop here for simple home decor, practical stationery, and sleek kitchen items.
Passing Time in the Park
The best way to save money may be by getting some fresh air in one of the city’s parks, and what better place to do this than in Shibuya?
Shibuya is home to Yoyogi Koen, a massive park right in the middle of the city. Spend nothing and relax in nature, people watching and enjoying the greenery. Be on the lookout for the rockabilly dancing crew, people hanging out with exotic pets, and perhaps a few sleeping salarymen on their lunch breaks.
Also watch out for the festivals and events that often take place in the park. It’s especially common to find a festival with food trucks, music, and stalls on the weekends. Attending these festivals is free, though you may choose to splurge on the fun foods.
Bottomless Drinks in the Sky
Before finishing up your day in Shibuya, head to the 11th floor of the Shibuya Scramble Square building for a unique place to rest: Tsutaya’s Share Lounge.
The Share Lounge is a co-working space, but surprisingly, it’s the perfect place to get a lot of bang for your buck. For one, many people don’t come here to work, but rather to relax, lounge with friends, or hold small meetings. In fact, the Share Lounge feels a lot like an airport lounge, with freely flowing snacks and an option to even get limitless alcoholic drinks.
Plus, the view from the lounge’s floor-to-ceiling windows offers a stunning look at Shibuya and beyond. When you’re done taking in the view, grab a magazine (including many foreign and English choices!) from the lounge’s bookshelves to read for free in the lounge.
If you choose to purchase a snack, some drinks, a ticket to a viewing spot, and even a magazine or two, the cost will easily add up. However, for an hour in the Share Lounge, you can have all of that for ¥1,000 (expect to pay a little more for the alcohol plan).
Experience the Variety of Shibuya, Even When on a Budget
Shibuya offers a little bit of everything, and as the area continues to develop, it’s proving to be more than just a chaotic nightlife-heavy district. From shopping to nature to food, there’s a lot to see and do, and all without having to spend much money.
Planning your day in Shibuya? Read this article next on the newly opened IKEA right in the heart of Shibuya:
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