Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward Asks Halloween Partygoers to Stay Away

“This year, we are making it clear to the world that Shibuya is not a venue for Halloween events. Please do not come to the Shibuya station areas for Halloween,” the mayor of Tokyo’s Shibuya ward told a news conference on October 6. 

Ken Hasebe, the mayor of the busy Shibuya shopping and entertainment district fears feared more people would gather at Shibuya Center Street on the night of October 31 than the nights when up to 40,000 visitors flocked there in 2019 before the COVID-19. He said that a crowd crash like the one that killed about 160 people on a narrow streets in Seoul’s Itaewon district could happen in Shibuya. 

Shibuya’s famed large intersection near its train station, nicknamed “scramble crossing”, where the large numbers of pedestrians can cross at once, has become a popular destination for young people. Many inbound visitors and Japanese young adults come to Shibuya to shop and have fun on the streets. Residents and shop owners have to clean the streets collecting a large amount of trash and empty cans every morning. There is often are rackets unruliness and sometimes vandalism at night on the streets and parks.      

The ward office responded last year by bunning drinking in parks and on streets near the station during Halloween. This year, expecting more visitors, the ward asked stores in the district to refrain from selling alcohol. They also feared that spectators who come to Shibuya to see people’s over-the-top Halloween costumes could be an element factor that causes a crowd crash. The ward officials issued stronger messages than in previous years telling people not to come to Shibuya for the Halloween purposes.      

During the last weekend of Oct. and the Halloween night Nov. 1, the ward officials asked people, holding sign boards in both Japanese and English, not to drink and litter on streets. Hundreds of police officers controlled the flow of pedestrians, making one-way corridors by drawing putting up plastic yellow tapes to walk along them. 

The statue of the loyal dog “Hachiko” in front of the station was surrounded by fences and sheets during the holidays period in order to conceal it from people who flock to take pictures of it.


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