[Update, Jun 24] It's now official. Public drinking is banned in Shibuya on October 31 and November 1, as well as Friday, Saturday and Sunday the week before, plus New Year’s from December 31 to January 1. The restriction is enforced across all public areas in the district, including roads, parks and open spaces. Here are the affected areas in Shibuya: Shibuya Itchome, Nichome and Sanchome; Sakuragaoka; Dogenzaka Itchome (Nr. 1-18) and Nichome; Udagawacho (Nr. 12-36); Jinnan Itchome (Nr. 20-23); Jingumae Rokuchome; the Hachiko area; Shibuya Center-Gai; and the surroundings of Shibuya 109. In addition, it is also an offence to climb up street lights, signs and roofs. The penalties for perpetrators have yet to be decided.
Sad news for Shibuya’s party crowd: the ward has decided to prohibit drinking alcohol on selected streets during the area’s immensely popular Halloween and New Year celebrations.
The outdoor areas surrounding Shibuya Station, including the iconic scramble crossing, has been the city’s best catwalk come Halloween as more than 300,000 locals and tourists seek to show off their quirky costumes during the October 31 event and the weekend prior. However, this new ruling, expected to be enforced in autumn pending legislature approval, could put a damper on all that.
After a series of complaints and incidents in the past few years – including one where a group of youngsters overturned a mini truck – a panel was set up by the Shibuya ward to discuss the appropriate rules and penalties to help decrease incidents of public nuisance, particularly during popular street celebrations. Just last year, convenience stores in Shibuya were instructed to limit their stock on alcoholic beverages throughout the Halloween period – but the approach failed to produce any positive results.
The new ordinance to ban drinking in public will come into force by Halloween this year. In the meantime, Shibuya ward’s mayor is also considering relocating the Halloween celebration to the nearby Yoyogi Park and turning it into a paid event.
We will keep you updated on this issue.