Wherever you go in the world, chances are you’ll be able to find a McDonald’s. Some branches are greater than others, though, and in Japan, one branch worth visiting is the one in Shibuya’s Center-gai, according to users on the English-language forum Reddit.
Our reporter Seiji Nakazawa recently learned about the branch’s popularity with foreign visitors after reading the comments on Reddit, when a photo taken on the second floor of the restaurant attracted attention from other users.
The photo appeared with the caption, “View in McDonald’s, Shibuya, Japan“, and while it was a nice photo, Seiji couldn’t quite understand why it had attracted so much attention. To him it was an ordinary Shibuya street, after all, so to find out if it felt more impressive in real life, he headed down to Center-gai to see it for himself.
Center-gai is a busy thoroughfare located just off the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, which has become a tourist hotspot over the years. While it’s become quite common for tourists to take photos from the Starbucks that overlooks the intersection, tourists wanting to share a different view of Shibuya on their socials will no doubt appreciate the different outlook at McDonald’s, because from up there on the second floor (the ground floor is known as the first floor in Japan), you’ll see..
▼ …this view.
If he’s being honest, when Seiji plonked himself in a seat in front of the window, he didn’t see what all the fuss was about. This was the same spot and the same view as the photo on Reddit that had everyone swooning over Japan, but for him, this was just an ordinary view of a street in Tokyo.
Checking Reddit again to see what made it so appealing, he re-read the comments:
“Looks like you live in Blade Runner.”
“All you need is some flying cars and huge chimneys in the background belching fire and we in Blade Runner yo.”
“Looks like Cyberpunk vibes.”
“It’s just Cyberpunk”
“Looks like the entrance to the side street that Vic and Misty are on in Cyberpunk 2077. That just happens to also have a McDonald’s. I love it!”
“I’ve also played Cyberpunk.”
Judging from the comments, the reason for the excitement was because the scenery resembled something out of a cyberpunk fantasy world. It’s true that Japanese neon signs are often a feature of these cyberpunk worlds, and looking around him, there was a giant cluster of them in this area.
However, Seiji isn’t a fan of cyberpunk films like "Blade Runner," so he still didn’t get it. However, after leaving the store and walking the streets of Shibuya in the rain, he looked up, and that’s when he felt it.
▼ Shibuya really did look like a sci-fi world.
The low clouds shrouded the nearby skyscrapers, and the misty evening added to the otherworldly atmosphere. Even the 109 building looked like it had leapt out from a film or video game.
Seiji always tends to look down at the ground on rainy days when he’s sheltering beneath his umbrella, but on this evening in Shibuya, he was reminded of the beauty in stopping to look up. This was the moment when his perception changed, as if he’d taken the red pill in "The Matrix," and it’s all thanks to the users on Reddit…and the journey that began at McDonald’s.
If you too would like to take the red pill and open your eyes to the real Shibuya, a seat at the McDonald’s in Center-gai will definitely help you get there.
McDonald’s Shibuya Center-gai /マクドナルド 渋谷センター街店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho28-15
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