Shibuya: Where Dogs Rule

Every day on his way home from work, Hidesaburō Ueno would step off the train at Shibuya Station and find his Akita dog, Hachiko, waiting for him.

Hachiko adored Ueno, an agriculture engineering professor at Tokyo Imperial University, now called the University of Tokyo.

Then one day Ueno was in mid-lecture in front of a class of students when he suffered a brain hemorrhage and died on the spot.

For the first time, Hachiko went to Shibuya Station and didn’t see his beloved human step off the train to greet him.

The little dog went back the next day. And the next. And the day after that.

Hachiko went to the Shibuya Station every day for the next 10 years, until he died of old age.


Today the world’s most loyal dog is remembered with a statue at Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest intersection.

It’s a place marked by impermanence — three thousand pedestrians traverse Shibuya’s scramble crossing during every traffic light cycle, and thousands of faces come and go on the array of massive video screens overlooking the intersection.

The one thing that never changes is Hachiko, standing in the same spot he returned to every day, eternally keeping watch for his buddy.


In 2015, the University of Tokyo unveiled a new statue on its campus, reuniting Hachiko with Ueno in the afterlife:


Photo credit: Joyce Lam/TimeOut Tokyo

Finally, who’s that dapper fellow pouring sake? That’s my man Satoshi, bartender at what he translated as a “little drink box” —- one of Shibuya’s tiny bars, dozens of which are packed into alleys between the main streets.


Satoshi’s bar seats five people, so we drank with two Tokyo natives who kindly humored me and my questions while my brother did his best at translating. He’s pretty good! I’m proud of him for learning the language so well, even though he insists he’s not very good.

Today I return to Shibuya to help my sister-in-law find a birthday present for my brother, and my next stop is Odaiba to meet a life-size Gundam RX-0 Unicorn.


Photo credit: Tom Roseveare

Note: All photos by Big Buddy unless noted. The photos of Shibuya Crossing were taken from an observation platform on the rooftop of a nearby building.


7 thoughts on “Shibuya: Where Dogs Rule”

  1. I cry every time I see the movie about Hachiko. The newer statue warms my heart.

    Sounds like you are having a lot of fun!


    1. Thanks, Yosey! It’s an adventure, that’s for sure. I’m having some trouble here replying to comments as WordPress logs me out as soon as I leave the CMS back end, so I have to comment as a user instead of admin, but it is me. Besides, who would want to impersonate me? lol


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