At first glance, it’s just an average bronze dog statue, but there’s something about Hachiko that makes it one of the most famous meeting spots in Japan. I sometimes see more than a hundred people milling around, making it really frustrating to find someone. And yet, I always find myself back there. It’s an unspoken rule of thumb: people with plans in Shibuya almost always meet up at the dignified Hachiko statue. The reason behind the choice of waiting spot speaks volumes about the Japanese people’s love of culture and history.
An Akita dog born in 1923, Hachiko is a well-loved figure in Japanese history and a national symbol of loyalty. The tale is, Hachiko would go to the Shibuya station to greet his master, college professor Hidesamuro Ueno, as he returned home from work. One day Ueno suffered a stroke and did not return, but Hachiko continued to make his daily trips to the station for ten years without fail until his death. When the statue of Hachiko was erected, it became a popular waiting spot among locals, keeping the spirit of Hachiko alive.