The iconic streets outside Shibuya Train Station have become symbolic of the sorts of places you shouldn't go during the coronavirus. However, from May 19th, Shibuya Ward is officially opening a 3DCG recreation of those famous streets.
"Virtual Shibuya" is an online space where people can gather, similar to the renditions of Shibuya people have made in games such as Minecraft and Animal Crossing.
It will use the 3DCG virtual event platform "cluster," which is funded by KDDI. The virtual streets of Shibuya can be accessed through the "cluster" smartphone app, or via a PC with a VR headset. You can make an avatar and walk around Shibuya with your friends, or perhaps take a selfie in front of the famous Shibuya crossing.
The goal of the creation of "Virtual Shibuya" is to create an online space where events can be held, as real events can't be held currently due to the coronavirus. The main sponsor is the "Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project," which is backed by organizations such as KDDI, Mirai Design, the Shibuya Tourism Association, and Tokyu.
Ghost in the Shell event on May 19th
Famous fans of Ghost in the Shell will appear in Virtual Shibuya as avatars, including DJ LOVE from SEKAI NO OWARI, the virtual idol Ange Katrina, Chinatsu Wakatsuki, and the lead host of Super Dommune, Naohiro Ukawa. The event will also be livestreamed on YouTube and Twitter.
Moving forward, there are plans to host various seasonal events and content in "Virtual Shibuya." This will be done through collaborations with the sponsors who are part of the "Shibuya 5G Entertainment Project." Also, although it's only possible to explore the streets near Shibuya Train Station at the moment, they are also considering adding a way to experience content inside buildings too.
For now, you can only access "Virtual Shibuya" when an event is underway. As the online space is only temporarily available, you'll have to keep up to date if you want to participate.
This article was originally written in Japan. The images and content are as they were in Japan at the time of writing.