January 28, 2013

The Crossing

One of the iconic destinations in Tokyo is not a temple or park, nor a palace or museum, but a street crossing in Shibuya. What makes this intersection such a fascinating sight is that when all the vehicular traffic comes to halt, hordes of pedestrians stream across in all directions at once.

A solid contender for the "World's Busiest Crossing" award, the excitement level at the intersection reaches a crescendo as the traffic signal turns yellow. The anticipation in the air is palpable. When the crosswalk indicator changes to "walk" a thousand bodies step onto the junction. The foot traffic follows a steady flow, as if everyone had years of practice. Collisions are slickly avoided by a slight alteration in each pedestrian's gait.

It is a magical sight that is best experienced while in the fray, but best viewed from one of the many coffee shops located in adjacent buildings. These are usually packed to the brim by crosswalk aficionados from far and wide. I was lucky to get a seat with a decent view at a second floor Starbucks, where two hour waiting times were once the norm.


"Until you reach the end of the road, there is still time to change the path you have chosen." ~ Susan Gale