Follow the cherry blossom with your JR Pass
Itinerary tip: Shibuya, Tokyo
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears…in rain
Shame on you if you don’t recognise those words as the last of Rutger Hauer’s replicant in Blade Runner. Now seen as a noir/cyberpunk classic (that is if you’ve seen the one without the dodgy voiceover), a lot of the visual richness of the movie was said to be inspired by the streets around Shibuya.
Now nicknamed “bit valley”, Shibuya is the home of many tech-related companies. This neon wonderland also houses some of the top shopping centres and boutiques in Tokyo. It’s also a place where Tokyo youth congregate, so it’s a great place to grab a coffee and people watch. You’ll see all the latest Japanese fashions …and a variety of hairstyles. Be warned though, if you are over 30, the ‘youth scene’ may be slightly…ahem…overwhelming. Shibuya is also the location of the famous, and the busiest crossing in the world as seen in “Lost In Translation”.
If you have the time, the JRPass.com team also recommend that you check out the EPCO Electric Energy Museum (open Thursdays to Tuesdays from 10 am to 6pm). It has 8 floors of electrical gadgets for curious adults and children to handle and play with, and can provide a calming and enlightening break from the teeming hordes of Shibuya.
How to get there
Shibuya is serviced by the green JR Yamanote line on your Japan Rail Pass. Remember to say hi to the faithful dog Hachikowho who stands guard as a statue outside.
Ps When you get there if you get caught in a crossfire between replicants being chased down by Harrison Ford, or accosted by old street pedallers selling robotic snakes, please don’t blame us!
Picture taken by Jorge Lascar.