Shibuya Station is Japan’s fourth largest transit station and sees 2.4 million passengers on any given weekday. While it may be one of the busiest places in Tokyo, the real star is actually located by the Hachiko exit. It’s a popular meeting place for many people and upon our arrival was crowded with tourist groups and locals relaxing in the shade by the trees.
The Hachiko exit is one of the station’s five exits and is distinguished by a tall bronze statue of a sitting dog. The dog, Hachiko, is a beloved character across the world as he is known as the world’s most loyal dog.
Hachiko was an Akita born on a farm in Ōdate, Japan. He is known in Japanese as chūken Hachikō or “faithful Hachikō.” His owner, Professor Ueno would commute to work each day and Hachikō would come to greet him in Tokyo at the station when he returned. They did this every day until May of 1925 until one day, Professor Ueno did not return.
While he was teaching, Ueno suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and did not return to the station where Hachikō sat waiting. Each day for the next nine years, Hachikō would continue to arrive at the station exactly at the time the train was due to wait for Professor Ueno’s return. This is why today he is held up in Japanese culture as an example of loyalty.