Armand Vaquer

Shibuya: Where Monsters Meet

Trendy shopping district and battleground of kaiju

Armand Vaquer
Armand Vaquer   - 3 min read

Starting with 1999's Gamera 3, the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo has been one of the most-used locations in kaiju movies.

In Gamera 3, the district is the battleground between several Gyaos birds and Gamera. Various landmarks are decimated during the melee, including Shibuya Station, the Shibuya 109 building and the Hachiko statue, which is engulfed in an enormous fireball.

Besides Gamera 3, other films include Godzilla x Megaguirus (2000) and Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001). Shibuya was also prominently displayed in the racecar flick, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006).

The Shibuya shopping district found itself totally flooded in Godzilla x Megaguirus.

Though Shibuya is the trendy shopping and entertainment district for Japan's youth generation, older people can still find the area enjoyable. Department stores include Tokyu, Seibu and Tower Records. Shibuya also has a Mandarake store for anime and kaiju items. A bird's eye view of Shibuya Crossing can be obtained at Starbucks while you are sipping on your latte (the view from the Starbucks dining room was used in Lost In Translation). The district also is home to many restaurants, clubs and boutique shops that cater to Tokyo’s youth culture.

Younger women generally shop at the Shibuya 109 (one of Shibuya's landmarks that had also been destroyed in Godzilla x Megaguirus, as well as in Gamera 3).

There are several theaters in the district including the Bunkamura entertainment and retail complex. The 2001 Tokyo International Film Festival premiered Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-out Attack in 2001 at Orchard Hall in the Bunkamura.

Shibuya kaiju landmarks include (besides the Shibuya 109 building) Shibuya Station, Shibuya Crossing (where huge video screens show music videos, news items and advertisements), the Hachiko statue and Ceulean Tower. The Hachiko statue, which sits outside of the Hachiko exit of Shibuya Station in Shibuya Crossing, is a popular meeting place for Tokyo residents and foreigners.

Every location is within easy walking distance from Shibuya Station, which is easy to reach in Tokyo’s transit system. It is one of the major stops of the JR Yamanote Line, which encircles central Tokyo. The subways that feed into Shibuya Station are the Ginza and Hanzomon Lines.

Armand Vaquer

Armand Vaquer @armand.vaquer

Armand Vaquer is the author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan." He has visited Japan eight times researching locations and landmarks used in Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies and kaiju-related attractions. He has spoken on the subject at Monsterpalooza, G-Fest, Mad Monster Part...