Site of Tokyo’s liveliest street parties, and most embarrassing drunken mayhem, will be a soft drink-only space on New Year’s Eve.

Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood has always had a reputation as a party town, thanks to the area’s high concentration of bars, pubs, and clubs. In recent years, though, the district’s streets themselves have regularly turned into party venues, especially the one that flow into and around the world-famous Shibuya Scramble intersection that opens up right outside Shibuya Station.

The most famous (and also infamous) Shibuya celebrations these days are the ones on and around Halloween, but revelers also gather on the nights of important matches for Japan’s soccer team and other national athletic squads, as well as on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, Shibuya is simultaneously welcoming some New Year’s Eve partiers with one hand while pushing some away with the other.

Starting at 9 p.m. on December 31, and lasting until 2 a.m., both the Scramble crossing and the surrounding streets will be shut down to vehicle traffic and turned into a massive pedestrian space. Not only should this help prevent domino-toppling chain reactions as people unable to see the signal lights through the crowds bump into the people in front of them, it’ll also allow groups of friends to take group-shot photos from ordinarily impossible angles (or at least impossible without getting hit by a car a second later).

However, while this makes the streets of Shibuya a great place for shutterbugs and selfie-snappers to ring in the new year, the neighborhood isn’t going to be as enjoyable for outdoor alcohol enthusiasts. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police will be dispatching hundreds of additional officers to the area on New Year’s Eve, and in addition to regular crowd control, they’ll be enforcing a ban on public drinking.

▼ Hey, lady, take it inside!

The ban goes into effect at 6 p.m. on December 31 and lasts until 5 a.m. The alcohol prohibition echoes one enacted at Halloween, and while a specific map of the restricted areas has yet to be distributed, it’s safe to assume that at the very least pounding booze on the streets that are shut down to vehicle traffic, plus their sidewalks, will be prohibited. The authorities are also asking local convenience stores to voluntarily suspend alcohol sales during the ban, though restaurants and bars in the area will be pouring adult beverages as usual.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News/Kyodo via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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