At first glance the pedestrian crossing outside Shibuya Station is just like any other. People stand quietly and wait for the crossing signal to light up. When the lights change to red, all the traffic halts and then the scramble crossing comes to life. It’s the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world and those who’ve been waiting patiently suddenly surge out across the road in all directions – up to 2500 at any one time.
After negotiating your way to the other side of the road and experiencing the crush of the crowd first hand, the best way to watch the hectic comings and goings is from Starbucks in the Tsutaya building on the corner. The coffee shop fits in well here; it’s one of the busiest in the world. You don’t have to buy a coffee. Just go up to the second floor and look down from the full length windows. It’s great entertainment.
At night brilliant neon signs and three enormous television screens illuminate the crossing, which seems just a little less busy.
Perhaps a few people have gone home for dinner!