28 12 2015


Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most iconic districts with its world-famous scramble crossing, the epicentre of Japanese young fashion at the 109 building and Tower Records, which during my Tokyo years was a must-visit location at least once every weekend for its top-knotch selection of Brazilian and Asian, as well as Japanese and Western, pop music. In addition to this are its house and hip hop music shops, the Parco department store, Tokyu Hands and recently a slew of Western hipster-style bars, craft beer halls and cafes in the Tomagaya area, tucked behind Yoyogi Park.


Shibuya is currently in the middle of a great transition. Its station is under re-construction and several huge new skyscrapers are on the way. If the plans are to be believed, being spruiked under the banner of “Vivid Shibuya!” the area is to be completely transformed.


The first stage of this redevelopment was the Hikarie building, a shopping mall skyscraper connected to the station, opened just after I left Japan. Its top floors boasts a free public observatory and the interesting d47 design exhibition, shop and restaurant. The d47 ethos is to celebrate quality craftsmanship from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, hence the name. It displays a revolving selection of crafts and foodstuffs, elegantly displayed, and also produces its own bilingual English-Japanese guidebooks to different parts of Japan. The effect is something like Muji-goes-to-an-ethnographic exhibition.


After my trip to Hikarie  I wandered back down to the “old” Shibuya, where on the fringes of the city’s “Love Hotel Hill”, in a quiet nook amid the neon glow, stands a small and little visited fox shrine, quickly bypassed by the furtive scurrying couples and opposite what is one of the city’s very few art deco buildings, now a wine bar called “Peace”.





2 responses

6 01 2016
Adventures in (straight) art | ilbonito blog 2007

[…] to find a small mini-exhibition of the work of Sadao Hasegawa in a commercial gallery next to the d47 space in Shibuya’s Hikarie building […]

21 05 2017
How | ilbonito blog 2007

[…] How Department was a surprise – a spacious, concrete-floored old factory space in Kwun Tong converted into a chic (and well-attended) cafe and clothing and homewares store. They also carry a full range of the d47 guidebooks for prefectures of Japan. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: