Practical Tourism Study and Field Trips
Report on First Practical Tourism Studies Tour / Shibuya Stream
On October 24, with the cooperation of Tokyu Corporation, we toured Shibuya Stream, a facility that opened recently in September. The tour began with a description of Shibuya's history and a vision of its future, along with an overview of Shibuya Stream provided by Deputy General Manager Masafumi Ota of the Shibuya Strategy Department in Tokyo Corporation's Urban Creation Division and General Manager Toshiyuki Tanaka of Shibuya Stream. Mr. Tanaka then led us on a tour of the Shibuya Stream facility itself.
Shibuya transformed into a community for the young after World War II
Located along the Shibuyagawa River, the Shibuya Stream complex includes a retail zone, a hotel, a conference hall, offices, and other facilities. Inaribashi Square and Konnobashi Square are located on the area above of the Shibuyagawa River. These facilities are capable of hosting a diverse range of events. The development has become a new symbol of the area on the south side of Shibuya Station.
At the start of this tour event, Deputy General Manager Masafumi Ota of the Shibuya Strategy Department in Tokyo Corporation's Urban Creation Division described Shibuya's history and strengths, urban tourism facilities, and a future vision for Shibuya (by 2027).
Following the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, he said, with the construction of the NHK Broadcasting Center and the opening of retail facilities like Parco, Tokyu Hands, and Shibuya 109, Shibuya evolved into a community for the younger generation. The opening of Shibuya Mark City and Cerulean Tower further enlivened the district still further. This young peoples' community of Shibuya hosts a wide range of events, including countdown parties and Bon Festival dances, seeking to attract not just Japanese participants, but overseas travelers.
Shibuya's special strengths and appeal
One sign of Shibuya's strengths is its current status as an urban tourist attraction, ranking fourth behind Shinjuku/Okubo, Ginza, and Asakusa in a FY2014 ranking of destinations for foreign travelers.
In addition, the Shibuya+Fun Project uses public spaces to enliven the Shibuya community. This public-private partnership makes arrangements and identifies course of action to ensure the community remains vital, even during construction work. The partnership also enhances international competitive strengths and strengthens disaster-prevention functions.
In particular, leading up to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 and the 2027 completion of a series of development projects, the Shibuya+Fun Project is currently considering various community management schemes for Shibuya including facility management, use of public places, disaster prevention, signage, and integrated management of parking facilities.
Shibuya's path forward
According to Mr. Ota, movement along Shibuya's chosen path forward will require adding to the area's vitality through
new cores beyond the original core as an urban subcenter, each core with its own distinct identity.
Becoming an area preferred by office workers and IT firms
Next, Shibuya Stream's General Manager Toshiyuki Tanaka gave an overview of the facility and related projects and its tourism strategy.
According to Mr. Tanaka, Shibuya Stream opened on September 13, 2019, on the site of the former platform and rails of the Tokyu Toyoko Line and vicinity. The area on the south side of Shibuya Station (known as “Shibunan”) had not attracted many visitors before, he noted. Since Shibuya Stream opened, the number of visitors has roughly tripled compared to initial forecasts.
The project, he says, is based on three concepts: (i) creating a business environment preferred by creative workers; (ii) creating new traffic flows by developing pedestrian networks; and (iii) creating an attractive and distinctive urban environment by reviving the Shibuyagawa River through a public-private partnership.
Specifically, the plan was to develop offices that would attract IT firms to an attractive, distinctive urban environment through various initiatives, including a public-private partnership to revive the Shibuyagawa River, and to create new traffic flows for people along the Shibuyagawa River, in addition to the area's existing centers of Hachikomae and Dogenzaka.
Shibuya Stream's tourism strategy
Plans call for completing Phase One (the East Building) of Shibuya Scramble Square and Shibuya Fukuras in 2019 and for the redevelopment of the area around the Sakuragaoka Exit of Shibuya Station in FY2023. The projects have the following goals under the Entertainment City Shibuya vision: (I) to realize an urban theme park drawing people from around the world; (ii) to establish a hub and industrial ecosystem for ICT and creative industries; (iii) to create a cultural, collaborative, creative environment; and (iv) to expand opportunities to create content to draw attention from around the world and media for interactive expression and communication.
Through a public-private partnership, this urban development project has resulted in the construction of a pedestrian walkway extending approximately 600 meters along the Shibuyagawa River toward Daikanyama on the old Tokyu Toyoko Line route, patterned after examples such as New York's High Line.
Touring Shibuya Stream
Mr. Tanaka leads us on a tour of Shibuya Stream.
The Shibuyagawa River previously flowed in the shadows of the Toyoko Line. Now, Mr. Tanaka says, a public-private partnership seeks to restore the waterway as a clear stream. In addition, setting up scenic wall springs along the embankment will create spaces that bring people closer to this natural water feature, transforming the stream and nearby areas into new places where people gather.
The Urban Core achieves smooth pedestrian traffic by creating new flows connecting Shibuya's stations and streets, underground and above. The interior has a very bright, open feel, with natural sunlight streaming through the glass facade.
Apparently, this series of redevelopment projects around Shibuya Station will continue until FY2027. What kind of community Shibuya will become? The potential and the possibilities are exciting.