Shopping Shibuya 109

Published on September 22nd, 2014 | by shibuya

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Shibuya 109

Shibuya 109 is the name of a huge departmental store famous for its extensive range of fashion shops, in the beautiful and fashion-loving district, Shibuya, in the lovely Japanese capital Tokyo. It is operated by the Miura group.

Shibuya 109 being a famous landmark in Tokyo, its entrance is a popular meeting place. It is the most photographed building in the country.

The iconic building of Shibuya 109 is famous as the starting point of the kogal subculture. Kogals are famous for sporting platform boots, heavy makeup, miniskirts, colored hair (normally blond), designer accessories and artificial suntans.

Shibuya 109 is standing just across the street from Shibuya station in form of an enormous silver-colored cylindrical tower. It was inaugurated in April 1979. The architect to this wonderful building was Minoru Takeyama. The owner and former operator Tokyu designed the building to house small retail shops which targeted the female consumers in their early 30s.

The name Shibuya 109 of the departmental store is a type of word play and is derived from the Japanese characters To and Kyu, meaning 10 and 9 respectively, thus it is Shibuya To Kyu, from the owner Tokyu. It is also known as “Ichi Maru Kyu”. The idea of 109 gave inspiration for the opening of seven more shops with the same name (109) in Japan, with 3 (including Shibuya 109) in Tokyo itself. These are 109Men’s (Shibuya), Kohrinbo 109 (Kanazawa, Ishikawa), 109 Machida (Machida, Tokyo), Shizuoka 109 (Shizuoka), Minatomirai 109 (Yokohama) and Shibuya 109 (Abeno, Osaka).

Though originally targeted at female consumers in their early 30s, Shibuya 109 later turned to be more famous as a hub for young ladies from the gyaru (“gal” in English) subculture.

Upon the building of Shibuya 109, you can see photos of all the stores inside the shopping complex. Though the language is Japanese, you can also find a good navigation in English. The 10 floors of Shibuya 109 contain about 110 shops selling women’s clothing, bags, shoes and other accessories. Along with plenty of fashion shops, Shibuya 109 also hosts a number of restaurants where you can refresh yourself with some delicious foods and take some rest during a heavy shopping.

Shibuya 109 is unique in offering an extensive range of the hottest trends and brands. It also presents reasonably priced fashion goods. Therefore, it is a popular tourist spot for local as well as international tourists, especially women and teenagers.

If you want to enjoy the real fun of shopping at Shibuya 109, you should come here on the occasion of New Year. On this occasion, majority of Japanese shops operate the Fukubukuro tradition. What is this tradition? Fukubukuro means “Lucky Bag” which contains items about which you don’t know, but they are incredibly cheap. It’s a fun event, when you can get to see long lines before Shibuya 109 at wee hours. And the real fun is on the next day, when girls gather at Shibuya 109’s entrance to resell items in the bag which they don’t want, in exchange of goods they want. Whether you participate in the hullaballoo or play the role of just a spectator, you are sure to enjoy the scene.

Shibuya 109 is thus a fun place to visit and should be an important sight on your Japan itinerary.


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