Shibuya Says Don’t Come to Halloween This Year

Looking forward to celebrating Halloween in Shibuya this year? Well, don’t be — the ward’s mayor says you’re not invited.

Unseen Japan


By Himari Semans

Shibuya Halloween

Nobody is welcome to Shibuya this year for Halloween. Referring to last year’s Itaewon Halloween crowd crush, Mayor Hasebe made the unprecedented announcement citing concerns over potential overcrowding accidents occurring in Shibuya. The city will ban public drinking and ask businesses to temporarily halt sales of alcohol during the week of Halloween.

Done being lenient

Crowds in Shibuya in 2018. (Picture: DepositPhotos)

Put Shibuya and Halloween together and what do you get? Chaos.

To be exact, we are talking about the kind of chaos that saw a total of more than 560 thousand people pass through the Shibuya crosswalk between October 28th and 30th last year, averaging nearly 190 thousand a day. That’s enough people to fill Tokyo Dome ten times over. And most of them are in costumes — –drunk.

And what do you do with this chaos?

In previous years, Shibuya City officials tried managing it with crowd control measures and increased security. Police forces had bomb squads on standby.

Even private businesses took steps of their own. Last year, convenience stores in Shibuya wrapped big blue tarps around alcohol aisles to deter drunken behavior.

Shibuya PARCO took a harsher approach and turned potential troublemakers away with a sign that read “We decline the entry of people wearing Halloween costumes.”

But this year is not about managing.

Boo! Bye!

Shibuya Halloween announcement
Shibuya’s mayor at least tried to have a little fun while dropping the “No Halloween” hammer at his press conference. The screen shows Shibuya’s 渋 character printed with a jack-o-lantern in the bottom right-half.

Until last year, Shibuya City had “stated that we wish people to enjoy Halloween in Shibuya” while “keeping manners and morals in mind” said Mayor Hasebe at a morning press conference on September 12th.