Shibuya Puts the Brakes on New Year’s Countdown Bash


A Departure from Tradition

Shibuya, Tokyo’s vibrant heart, breaks tradition this New Year’s Eve as the iconic scramble crossing’s annual countdown faces cancellation for the fourth consecutive year. Why the pause button? Shibuya Ward officials, wary of the lingering effects of COVID-19, fear massive crowds at the celebration and are emphasizing heightened security measures.


A crowded Shibuya crossing on New Years Eve.

Multilingual Announcement by Mayor Ken Hasebe

Mayor Ken Hasebe delivered the news in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean to ensure everyone got the memo. This marks the fourth countdown cancellation since the 2020-21 season, reflecting an uptick in international visitors and prioritizing safety over Shibuya’s rave tradition.

Alcohol Ban and Early Screen Shutdown

To keep things in check, public spaces near the station will temporarily ban alcohol from 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day – a 5-hour extension from last year. Additionally, the massive video screens at the intersection will shut down at 11 p.m. on Dec. 31, following an ordinance passed in 2019 that underscores Shibuya’s commitment to a safe environment. While the countdown is on pause, Shibuya gears up for a different kind of celebration. Stay tuned!

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