Tourist information desk inside of Shibuya Station

I had to get lost first...

Deep in the catacombs of Shibuya Station, somewhere between JR and the Hikarie Building is one of the most pleasant tourist information desks that I've seen in Tokyo. It is jointly operated by Tokyu Railways and Tokyo Metro, providing maps and information in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish.

The two women pictured here could answer questions in Japanese, English, and Chinese. One of the other attendants could speak some Spanish, but that person was not available. The desk has been in service for more than 6 months.

But while the desk is brightly lit and attractive, it is - most likely purposely - placed in a corridor that is not where the greatest traffic between the main lines passes, such as between JR and the Tokyu Lines. In that corridor, the desk would be a traffic hazard. I only came upon the desk since I had been walking with someone who wanted to avoid walking in the rain. He directed me through the maze of corridors going under and around the intersecting lines - Tokyu, Denentoshi, Fukutoshin, and JR - towards the Inokashira Line. In one of the less than packed corridors, I stumbled upon the desk.

Since many international visitors to Tokyo are likely to visit Shibuya, and since it is now getting very easy to get lost inside of the station, I think the information center is a wonderful idea. For the time being, the desk is intended to be a permanent service of the two rail companies. I certainly hope so. (But I might suggest that despite the spring hay fever season, the attendants would be a little less intimidating without the masks.)

by mikekato

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