The New Banks of Shibuya-gawa
Shibuya Stream is a 180-meter high skyscraper located in the south of Shibuya station in Tokyo. The complex was inaugurated on September 13, 2018, and mainly shelters offices, restaurants and a hotel. It is part of a larger urban design project set around the station and Shibuya River.
The large urban renovation project involving Shibuya station, named "Greater SHIBUYA" has begun in the area several years ago already. Many places are currently accessible thanks to building sites’ footbridges offering an unobstructed view on the cranes working in the loud noise of concrete breakers. Five high-rises have already been completed or will be soon, with the objective of improving Shibuya’s attractiveness in the prospect of the 2021 Olympics 🏅 on the one hand, and the direct competition of Tokyo’s other wards on the other hand. The completion of the works is scheduled for...2027!
Shibuya Stream building opened in September 2018, to the south of the station, at the former location of Tokyo Toyoko railway (which is now underground) and not far from its counterpart Hikarie, inaugurated in 2012. In the same area, another tower, the Shibuya Scramble Square East Tower, was completed in autumn 🍁 2019. On its rooftop at 230 meters above sea level, Shibuya Sky offers a new panoramic observatory on the district.
The cuisines of the world on display
Shibuya Stream is constituted by thirty five floors and four underground levels, that are divided between :
- About thirty restaurants on the first three levels,
- Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel 🏨 Tokyu whose lobby is on the 4th floor and the rooms located from 9th floor to 13th floor,
- An event venue, a sport venue and offices occupy the other upper levels. Shibuya Stream’s professional space is by the way mostly occupied by Google’s Japanese head quarters.
The food court section is accessible from the ground floor. It gathers on three floors a large array of foods of the world : Japanese, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, French, American, etc. The most popular is surprisingly the restaurant serving paella ! There are also many cafes, such as Torque Spice & Herb and Table & Court themed on cycling, where regulars share their passion for bicycle around a drink. A delicatessen shop, which is quite expensive, completes the food offer. Note however that there is no retail or fashion shop in Shibuya Stream.
Promenade along Shibuya River
Beside the urban development entailment, the "Greater SHIBUYA" scheme also aims at "greening up" the area with a revitalization of Shibuya River’s surroundings. Shibuya-gawa, once buried under several layers of concrete, was recently excavated thanks to the works for Stream that brought back the natural water-stream to the view. A walking promenade was constructed on the riverside from the entrance of Stream and continues towards south to Ebisu, in a fifteen minutes’ walk.
It is in fact one of the best ways to enjoy the promenade, for its convenience rather than for the landscape. The vegetation is indeed still meager and what stand out are the buildings’ vertical walls and the not really attractive backdoor facades, rather than the efforts made to create an oasis in the urban jungle. It will probably take time before nature takes its place.
However, the terraces along the Shibuya-gawa banks – a type of installation that are still scarce in Tokyo’s touristic center – help enjoying the place as well. Visitors and employees meet there at the end of the day for an after-work drink and to unwind in this new outdoor space. Moreover, two small plazas are frequently used for small events, such as live concerts, markets and other local events. A little bit further, a recent building, Shibuya Bridge, was inaugurated at the same time as Stream. It shelters offices, restaurants and cafes, one hotel and a kindergarten, in a lovely village-like atmosphere.
The "new Shibuya" is gradually appearing and extends beyond the station and the famous crossing. This area is still under construction and yet to be embraced by the Japanese, but it aims at rejuvenating the area and bridge all the smaller districts constituting the ward.