Painting Shibuya Crossing with a camera

Vibrant, crowded, fast-paced and organized-yet-chaotic are some of the first descriptions that come to my mind when I remember Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing.

Call me a misanthrope, but I’m the kind of person to hate crowds. The mere thought of Christmas shopping at the mall or being in a stadium full of people gives me chills, and not exactly in a good way. However, I absolutely loved Shibuya Crossing. OK, don’t call me a misanthrope, call me tacky and stereotypical.

Shibuya Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is actually a group of pedestrian crossings that can be found in Tokyo, right in front of Shibuya Station, not far from the statue of Hachiko, the dog.

It is somewhat of a popular entertainment area in Tokyo, with lots of students and young people coming here for the nightlife and lots of tourists coming here for the sake of it.

The show begins when all the lights on every intersection around the crossing turn red (at the same time and for all lanes).

Then it happens.

Girl in the crowd

A tide of people, coming from every place you can think of, hits the asphalt like a bunch of marbles dropped from above. This flood of people becomes, through the camera, a kinetic, impressionist painting full of movement and everchanging forms.

The best place to watch the whole thing and get a glimpse of its magnitude is from the Starbucks across the station. On the upper level, there’s a glass window that allows you to watch the flow of people crossing.

Shibuya from Starbucks

Tips and tricks

You’ll get the best pictures if you go by night and bring your trypod. At Starbucks, just behind the columns, there’s a small space where you can easily deploy all your photo-gadgets.

Sibuya Crossing