Shibuya Crossing
Photo: Caleb Smith/UnsplashA stock photo of Shibuya Crossing at night

Shibuya is looking to ban public drinking on streets at night

If approved, Shibuya will crack down on street drinking after dark year-round – not just on Halloween

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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Walk through the streets of central Shibuya on any given night and you’re bound to see clusters of people sipping beer in front of konbini or chugging cheap chuhai before entering nightclubs where they’ll need to pay double for drinks. For better or worse, Shibuya becomes all the livelier – or rowdier, depending on your point of view – when locals get off work and tourists finish their sightseeing itinerary for the day, to revel in Japan’s relaxed attitude towards public drinking. 

The area gets particularly unruly during Halloween and New Year’s Eve, which has prompted the local council to place temporary public drinking bans in the areas surrounding Shibuya Station in recent years. Now, however, Shibuya ward is preparing to expand these occasional restrictions into a year-round ban of public drinking after dark. 

According to Asahi Shimbun, the proposed ban is expected to be approved on June 17 and come into effect on October 1 2024. This means street drinking will be prohibited in a number of busy or popular areas in central Shibuya from 6pm through 5am every day.

Asahi Shimbun reports that target areas include Miyashita Park, the ward office neighbourhood and the Maruyamacho district, which has a high concentration of nightclubs. Though violators will not be penalised, the ban will give local businesses and ward patrol officers more power to reduce public intoxication. Officials hope that this will help mitigate the number of cases of littering, vandalism and altercations in the area.

The impending ban is part of a wider crackdown local governments have been imposing across Japan to alleviate overcrowding and reduce public misconduct. A town near Mt Fuji has recently installed fences to deter people from illegally running across a busy highway overpass, while earlier in the spring, Kyoto’s Gion district began imposing fines for people caught trespassing on private roads.

The article was published on June 11 and updated on June 13.

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