Announcement follows a number of recent closures in the Shibuya area. 

Something strange is happening around Shibuya’s famous scramble crossing right now. Just this year, there have been several big-name businesses shutting up shop in the area, namely Torikizoku’s Toriki Burger, the Wendy’s at Center Gai, and the Starbucks overlooking the intersection.

▼ This corner, which was once home to a busy Starbucks and Tsutaya, now looks deserted.

While building works and online streaming have been some of the reasons given for these closures, the future of businesses in Shibuya appears shaky at the moment, especially now that another closure has been announced, this time by McDonald’s.

Located a short walk from the intersection along Koen-dori towards Harajuku, this has long been a busy branch, given its easy access from Shibuya Station. It’s a place that holds many memories for our reporter Mr Sato, who once even stopped by during Halloween in 2016, back when Halloween at Shibuya was relatively tame compared to what it is today.

▼ Mr Sato (left) with fellow McDonald’s-loving reporters dressed as Donald (yes, Ronald McDonald is known as “Donald” in Japan).

Just as Halloween in Shibuya has changed over the years, so too have the businesses, so it was a sad day when Mr Sato stopped by the branch and saw this sign out the front that read: “Thank you for your patronage over the past 39 years”.

▼ According to the sign, this McDonald’s will be closing its doors permanently at 8:00 p.m. on 26 November.

Mr Sato had long taken the existence of this store for granted, so he took this opportunity to step inside for one last meal, ordering an N.Y. Deli Shrimp Tartar burger set, which came with fries and a drink.

▼ He opted for a coffee, spending 870 yen (US$5.84) on the entire meal.

Mr Sato only ordered three items, so he was surprised to see something else on the tray.

▼ What in the name of Donald is this!?

▼ A “Premium Roast Coffee (S) Special Invitation Ticket”?

Inspecting the back of the card, Mr Sato found that he could exchange this ticket for a free small-sized coffee as a token of gratitude to the customer. The nearest McDonald’s branches to this one were listed on the back, which was a nice gesture to help customers who might otherwise be left in the lurch by the closure, and he liked the fact that instead of calling this a voucher or free ticket, it had been dubbed a “特別ご招待券” (“Tokubetsu Goshotai-ken”) which means “special invitation ticket”.

The voucher can only be used at the three branches listed — Shibuya Center Gai, Shibuya Toei Plaza and Shibuya Miyashita Park — so the “invitation” was a clever way of getting people to try out the nearby branches without putting any pressure on them to do so.

For Mr Sato, the ticket managed to help heal the blow he’d received upon reading the closure sign at the front, but no number of free coffees would ever taste as bittersweet as the one he had on this day. Still, the McDonald’s at Shibuya Center Gai is a hit with foreign visitors for its sci-fi vibes, so at least he has something to look forward to.

Store Information

McDonald’s Shibuya / マクドナルド渋谷店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jinnan 1-23-13
Open: 7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Store will close permanently at 8:00 p.m. on 26 November 2023

Photos ©SoraNews24
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