In the age of attention, there is constant one-upmanship to get noticed. This often inspires creative solutions. In the world of public advertising, 3D billboards have been all the rage in the past few years. Social media sites are filled up with realistic and impactful 3D ads playing on the streets of Chengdu, Seoul, London and Tokyo, to name but a few. We’ve seen giant waves, pandas, dragons, golden bulls, but most adorably, a calico cat in Shinjuku. Here’s where you can find Tokyo’s internet-famous 3D billboards.
Shinjuku 3D Billboard: Calico Cat
The 3D calico cat on the east exit of Shinjuku Station debuted in the summer of 2021 to everyone’s delight. After all, this isn’t your ordinary advertising billboard. It’s a giant curved LED screen that displays 4K images and achieves that 3D effect where you feel like whatever is on there is almost real. So, when the cat meows, swats at passersby, jumps, plays or naps, it feels like she’s really a giant cat living on top of a building. The speakers add to the realism, as the video is accompanied by sound. This 3D billboard has also won awards, notably taking the Outdoor Gold Spike at the Spikes Asia 2022 advertising awards.
In the months since, the Shinjuku Cat has shown us new tricks, such as floating in zero gravity. She also appeared donning a police officer’s hat in November 2022. The cat shares the spotlight with other characters, as the company offers 3D ads. For a limited time, anime characters from One Piece, Pokémon, Dragon Ball and Spy x Family have appeared too. In other limited-time and popular appearances so far, the Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton collaboration video drew a lot of attention.
If you want to go see the cat in Shinjuku, it “wakes up” at 7am and “goes to sleep” at 1am (the sound is turned off at 11pm). You can also check what the cat is up to at all times from anywhere. Cross Shinjuku Vision, the company behind this 3D billboard, is streaming a view of it live on YouTube all day, every day.
Shibuya 3D Billboard: Shibuhachi
Similar to the 3D calico cat in Shinjuku, Shibuya Crossing has its own realistic-looking 3D cyber-pet to wow passersby. Hachiko, the Akita dog that has become the symbol of Shibuya, now has a 3D version frolicking around eight rooftop billboards. The building in front of Shibuya Station has the most prominent rooftop billboard, with the rest of them spread on the surrounding buildings. The official name of the 3D video display is “Shibuhachi Hit Vision” by the advertising company Hit Vision. After debuting in late July 2022, this 3D Hachiko has been playfully appearing every hour. The adorable 3D puppy peeks behind a clock, announces the time, plays with a frisbee and jumps from screen to screen. Sometimes it’s one puppy, sometimes it’s more. Either way, it’s delightful and the company behind it stated that the intention is to lift people’s spirits.
You can see these 3D billboards from various points: Shibuya Station, Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya Scramble Square, Shibuya Hikarie and more. The videos play between 7am and midnight. You can also see one video of it on YouTube.
Shibuya 3D Billboard: Panda
The multiple screens with the Akita puppy resembling Hachiko at Shibuya Crossing grab most people’s attention, but there’s another 3D billboard in Shibuya just a few steps from the crossing. It’s a single 3D screen on Shibuya Center Gai Street, on top of the Yamashita Honki Udon shop. It displays a short animation of a casino slot machine and as it hits the panda jackpot, the 3D panda is revealed. We’re more used to seeing the adorable animal as a mascot for everything and anything in Ueno, but it’s a nice surprise to see it in Shibuya. The panda fiddles with a control stick clumsily and eats bamboo leaves. It looks cute and a bit confused in a really adorable way.
Harajuku 3D Billboard: Town Musicians of Bremen
After the 3D Calico cat sensation in Shinjuku and the 3D billboards in Shibuya, Harajuku was the next Tokyo neighborhood to join the ranks. This 3D video billboard features a whole host of adorable animals, namely a cat, a dog, a donkey and a chick. It’s a take on “Town Musicians of Bremen,” a German folktale. Sponsored by apparel company Beams, it began showing on November 1, 2022. This 3D billboard was created by the company Change Vision, now renamed Be-All.
The billboard is at the intersection of Takeshita Street and Meiji Street in Harajuku, not far from where Beams was founded. You can catch broadcasts daily from 10am to 9pm or watch a video of it on YouTube.