Huge sign of the times for Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya pedestrian crossing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2014, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2014, 6:41pm


Tokyo’s thunderously busy Shibuya pedestrian crossing, where up to 3,000 people merge into a seething mass of humanity whenever the lights change, is to get a huge new advertising screen.

The crossing, a visual shorthand for crowded Tokyo beloved of documentary makers and movie directors, already has several big screens.

But the new one will dwarf them with a whopping 420 square metres of moving pictures, the same size as a basketball court.

“It will be the largest LED ad screen to be set up outside in Japan” said a spokeswoman for operator Hit Co. “It was made possible by reducing the weight to about three-fifths of a conventional screen.”

The screen will sit opposite the statue of the dog Hachiko, a popular meeting place for Tokyo’s young and trendy.

It will be 17.3 metres tall and 24.3 metres wide and will go into service on June 1 after a ceremony next week.

The Shibuya scramble crossing, allowing pedestrians to cross in every direction, including diagonally, is outside a busy train terminus in the capital’s fashionable west and is one of the city’s best-known landmarks.

About 500,000 people use it every day, with as many as 3,000 people there during peak hours.

Among its famous cinematic appearances was when a young Scarlett Johansson wandered through the crowds there in the 2003 film Lost in Translation .