There’s no way to be prepared for the tsunami of humanity that hits you as you step out onto Hachiko Crossing, the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection. There seems to be no way to survive the avalanch of people approaching from all sides. Yet, somehow, in a dance that can only be described as well-orchestrated chaos, you somehow emerge unscathed on the other side.
Welcome to Hachiko, the famed intersection just outside of Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. Hachiko is a fascinating sightseeing spot in Japan for a number of reasons: the exciting crosswalk dance described above; its function as Tokyo’s most popular meeting spot and the entranceway into the trendy youth district of Shibuya; and last but not least, the statue in the square commenorating the heartwarming story of a loyal dog.
Brief History of Hachiko
Hachiko is the name of the Shibuya Station exit leading out to the world’s busiest crosswalk. Hachiko got its name from the dog of the same name that became known throughout Japan for its unyielding loyalty to its departed master.
In the 1920s, Hachiko, a purebred Akita dog, was brought to Tokyo by its owner, a professor at the University of Tokyo. The dog and owner had a routine whereby the dog would wait to greet the professor near the entrance of Shibuya Station at the end of each day.
One day, the owner failed to appear. He had suffered a stroke and died, never again to return to the station to meet is dog. However, Hachiko continued to show up at the station for over 10 years, faithfully awaiting his master.
A student of the professor wrote articles about the dog, and in 1932, the dog’sremarkable story was featured in a major newspaper and Hachiko became a symbol of faithfulness.
Hachiko died in 1935, and a statue was erected at the dog’s waiting place in his memory.
Hachiko Points of Interest
Statue of Hachiko
The actual statue of Hachiko is located at the end of the square opposite the station’s exit bearing the same name. The statue functions as both an obligatory photo spot, and an extremely popular meeting place. It is also an ideal spot from which to check out the trendy youth fashions of the moment.
A few yards away from the statue is Hachiko Crossing, the world’s most human- congested crosswalk. The crosswalk is busy at all hours, but reaches critical mass in the early evening hours during the weekend. Show up around this time if you want to become one with the massive wave of people, or avoid these hours if the prospect of doing so is intimidating.
Directly across the street from the square, you’ll see a stretch of buildings with massive video screens projecting various entertainment and adverstising. Smack dab in between screens, you’ll also see what is said to be the world’s busiest Starbucks cafe.
Cross the intersection to explore Shibuya Center Town (Center-Gai), a popular strip of shops and restaurants, and the rest of the lively Shibuya area.
If you’re the type of person who believes that the best way to learn to swim is by jumping right into the deep water, then Hachiko Crossing is as good a spot as any to plunge right into the heart of the Tokyo Experience!