Halloween in Tokyo Shibuya: Few Halloween Costumes in Shibuya

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police officers direct the crowd at Shibuya Center Gai in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday. Not many people are dressed up in costumes as a banner above reads “No events for Halloween on Shibuya streets.”

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, where local officials and police have been on high alert in anticipation of crowds for Halloween this year, saw drastically fewer people dressed up in costumes on Tuesday than in previous years.

There was no major confusion in the area around JR Shibuya Station, after Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe repeatedly discouraged people from visiting the area for festivities this year.

A large number of police officers monitored the area, urging people who stopped in the middle of Shibuya’s famous scramble crossing for pictures to continue moving.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Police officers guide the crowd in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Tuesday.

“I come to Shibuya every year, but I always try to not be a hindrance as much as possible,” said a 35-year-old man from Tokyo’s Toshima Ward who came dressed as a ghost.

“It’s strange that only Shibuya is the target of criticism” about Halloween crowds, a 51-year-old man from Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, complained. “Instead of just telling people not to come, there should be efforts to ease congestion.”

“We get more regular customers when there are no (Halloween festivities), so it’s better if things are as usual,” a 53-year-old employee of a fruit and vegetable store near Shibuya Station said.

Hasebe issued the warning out of concern that an accident similar to last year’s deadly crowd crush in Seoul’s Itaewon district could occur in Shibuya following the removal of COVID-19 restrictions.

The ward banned drinking on the streets near Shibuya Station between Friday evening and early Wednesday morning, and blocked off the area surrounding the Hachiko statue, a popular gathering spot, from Saturday.