Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, officials have been making extensive efforts to overhaul the city not only to be more tourist friendly, but also to beautify and restore. For example, smokers are facing tighter restrictions, and older places like Harajuku Station are getting a remake. Of course, if you’ve spent much time in Shibuya, you’ll know that it’s one of the dirtiest places in Tokyo, and although that admittedly isn’t saying much, since the city is generally pretty spic-span, it’s still deserving of a nice makeover.
In addition to a revamp of old buildings like the iconic Shibuya 109, major changes are being made to the famous shopping area to bring about a new, more pleasant shine in Shibuya. One such change is a new building called “Shibuya Stream," which appears to be intended to refresh the formerly boring south side of the station.
▼ The exterior of the building while under construction
Shibuya Stream sits in the former Shibuya Southern District, at the point where the Shibuya River emerges from its underground flow. The complex is built with the riverside in mind, and the theme of the first three floors is “Shibuya Style: Custom Shibuya“. They have recruited 30 businesses that target “adults who have their own style and live their life their own way”; twenty-one of these places are new to the area, the city, or the country, so visitors have plenty to look forward to.
The first floor will be called the Riverside Market, and is intended to resemble a large riverside area where guests can take their time and relax. This area will feature a restaurant from Osaka that’s making its Tokyo debut, Bokkoku Kaiten Tori Ryouri, which appears to have a Mexican menu. Shibuya-ites can also look forward to a branch of the popular Japanese burger shop The Great Burger Stand, among five other businesses.
The second floor, meant to mimic the streets of Shibuya, will be called Shibuya CustomStreet, and will feature 15 other shops, including two new restaurants by bakery connoisseur Shuichiro Omura, as well as a French restaurant with a completely open kitchen that will serve authentic French cuisine in tapa-size portions.
Shibuya Court, the third floor, will feature nine more shops with more open spaces, including restaurants that serve additional cuisine options like Japanese and Spanish. Here, for the first time in Japan, guests will be able to taste Barcelona-style paella and Spanish seafood at Xiringuito Escriba.
Two large plazas will make up the ground floor of Shibuya Stream. The first will face the great stairs leading up to the first floor as well as the Inari Bridge, which is the first point where the Shibuya River emerges from underground. It will serve as Shibuya Stream’s connection to the south side of Shibuya while also giving guests a chance to look over the river. There are already plans in the works for various promotional events to occur here.
The second open space will stretch along the river to Kanno Bridge, and is intended to be host to markets, beer gardens, festivals and other community events. Though there didn’t used to be much of a river to enjoy, this riverside area will also be landscaped and lined with green, and the river will be given a boost to its image with new water treatment projects. The hope for Shibuya Stream is that guests will be able to enjoy the experience of a pleasant, relaxing riverside area, which is as-of-yet unavailable in the Shibuya area.
▼ The concept design, including the riverside landscaping
In addition to shopping, the new Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyo will take up the ninth to thirteenth floors; it is intended to be an internationally geared hotel for foreign and foreign-minded guests. Reservations for the hotel will start on June 1, while the shops downstairs will be open for business from September 13. Higher floors will be reserved for office spaces, while floors four through eight will host conference halls and other features.
Shibuya Stream, which is directly connected to Shibuya Station and which is related to efforts to improve pedestrian traffic on the south side of Shibuya station, is likely to become a new and more sophisticated area of Shibuya for adults to enjoy. While the Hachiko side is great for students and young adults, its chaotic and dirty feel can be unpleasant for some, so perhaps Shibuya Stream will show a more universally appealing side of Shibuya.
It seems like this new mall is one of a set of high-rise buildings and renovations to open up not only in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics, but also as part of an enormous plan to completely redevelop Shibuya by 2027. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Sources: PR Times, Shibuya Stream
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