The vibe around Shibuya is tense right now, as the city attempts to abolish “the craziest Halloween in the world”.

It’s not easy to be number one in the world at something, but according to YouTube channel Japan ON, which provides information about Japan to English-speaking viewers, Halloween in Shibuya is “the craziest Halloween in the world“.

It’s a statement many would agree with, given that the city, or more specifically the area around its famous scramble crossing, becomes inundated with people in cosplay on the night of Halloween, and the weekend before if it falls on a weekday.

▼ Halloween in Shibuya

Despite the huge crowds, this is an unofficial street party, and because incidents of violence, thefts and vandalism spike on the night, mostly due to alcohol consumption, the city has been clamping down on the celebrations in increasing force every year.

This year, the city is trying to do away with the celebrations altogether, amping up its messaging by simply telling people to “Stay Away! From Shibuya“. The city released a new video in Japanese and English through its official Twitter account on 17 October, outlining the restrictions and requests in no uncertain terms.

▼ Japanese video

▼ English video

According to Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe, the strong messaging is down to several factors, including the increase in visitors from abroad, the increase in the number of people drinking on the street, and the increasing number of crowds gathering in such a small area during the non-official event. Concerns about the potential for a fatal disaster like the one that occurred in Itaewon, South Korea on Halloween last year, where 159 people were killed and 196 people were injured, also played a major part in prompting the city to strengthen its requests for people to stay away from the area during Halloween.

The city isn’t just relying on Twitter to get the word out, as a walk around Shibuya yesterday showed giant signs have been set up around the area.

▼ This sign is located right outside Shibuya Station’s Hachiko exit.

In a prime spot where stylish ads featuring famous stars like Ayumi Hamasaki and Korean artists are usually posted, there’s now a huge billboard featuring text in both Japanese and English, which simply reads: “No events for Halloween on Shibuya Streets“.

▼ Drinking alcohol in public spaces is prohibited during 27-31 October, from 6p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

As the video says, “some people live in Shibuya”, and not only do they have to put up with the inconvenience of drunken revellers during Halloween, their taxpayer yen is likely being used to pay for these huge posters.

The “no events” message, with the highlight being on “no” in English and Japanese, is also displayed on a banner at the entrance to Center-gai, a cramped road that fills with crowds during Halloween.

▼ The message is also posted on lights along the street.

The vibe around Shibuya right now, in the lead-up to Halloween, feels tense, especially with all the strong messaging on the streets.

The message for Halloween this year is definitely clear — Stay Away! From Shibuya. Here’s hoping people heed this message, so we don’t see a repeat of the dangerous events that occurred in 2018, when a group of people tipped over a truck, which led to the public drinking ban being introduced in 2019.

If you want a taste of “crazy Japan” there are plenty of other ways to experience it, without endangering your safety or the safety of others. And the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival is another option available at this time of year, where you can freely let your hair down!

Related: YouTube/Japan ON, Tokyo Shimbun
Photos ©SoraNews24
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