Warning: Shibuya’s mayor has strongly discouraged people from coming to Shibuya this Halloween, citing serious safety concerns.
Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing, which in recent years has become a hub and the go-to spot for younger generations — both local residents and tourists — for boisterous Halloween celebrations with thousands of costumed partiers congregating that see massive crowds pack the area and at times making it almost impossible to move.
The mayor of Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward has a message for any would-be revelers this year: don’t come.
“Shibuya isn’t a venue for Halloween events, please don’t gather around Shibuya Station for Halloween purposes (during this period).”
— Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe, during a press conference on 9/12
Hasebe expressed concerns that a crowd crush like the one in Seoul in October could happen in Shibuya. More than 150 people died in the incident, which saw massive crowds gather in narrow alleyways in the city’s Itaewon nightlife district.
Watched by millions, Halloween in Shibuya has become famous (or we could say, infamous) around the world. There is no actual organizer for the event; it is an unregulated meet-up of Halloween lovers across Tokyo (and Japan). An array of costumes from the disturbing to the hilarious are typically on display, although recently, there have been more onlookers than cosplayers.
Regulations and rules
Authorities have tried to cut down on the debauchery by banning street drinking, not allowing convenience stores in the area to sell alcohol, and keeping the roads closed to pedestrians.
Shibuya Ward is set to ban outdoor alcohol consumption from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, around the station, specifically in the areas of Dogenzaka and Center Gai, as well as other public places. The measure is aimed at curbing incidents of vandalism by intoxicated individuals during Halloween celebrations. The ordinance is also applied to New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The times of the ban are:
- October 27: 6 p.m. to midnight
- October 28 to October 31: Midnight to 5 a.m. and again from 6 p.m. to midnight
- November 1: Midnight to 5 a.m.
Alcohol will likely not sold in most stores in the area (particularly from convenience stores) on the 27th and 31st from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
There will be extra security guards in the area, and like in previous years, there will not be any temporary toilets or changing spaces — as it is not an official, organized event.
If you want to help out Shibuya City with cleanup activities, there are usually many volunteers on the streets in the early morning from October 29 to Halloween. They are very efficient and the streets are almost spotless by 8 a.m.
Organizers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.