New Year’s Eve countdown event
Photo: Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited'You Make Shibuya Countdown 2018-2019'

Shibuya cancels New Year’s Eve event for 2020/2021 due to coronavirus

The annual NYE countdown is off and Shibuya’s mayor wants people to stay away on Halloween, too

By
Tabea Greuner
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Shibuya’s world-famous Scramble Crossing is one of the most popular spots in the city for Tokyoites to celebrate Halloween and welcome the new year. With the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, however, Shibuya ward has decided to cancel (in Japanese only) its annual New Year’s Eve countdown event, and is also asking people to refrain from gathering in the area on Halloween.

The highly anticipated New Year’s Eve event usually attracts 100,000 visitors from Japan and all over the world, who gather at Shibuya Crossing to watch the countdown on the surrounding big screens. Shibuya ward has decided it would be impossible to implement sufficient coronavirus safety measures and so is cancelling the event entirely.

Halloween is a slightly different story. Shibuya mayor Ken Hasebe is strongly discouraging young Tokyoites from donning costumes and gathering (in Japanese only) in Shibuya for Halloween on October 31. Past Halloween events in Shibuya have included arrests and minor vandalism. Last year, however, saw fewer visitors during the spooky season due to an implemented ban on public drinking during Halloween. As a socially distanced alternative this year, mayor Hasebe has revealed that he’s considering holding an online Halloween event called Virtual Shibuya instead.

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