Come nightfall, and especially Friday and Saturday evenings, the area around Shibuya’s Center Gai becomes a hot spot for rowdiness as well as overflowing trash cans. Local shopkeepers and businesses, it seems, have had enough. As a result, Shibuya ward has proposed a year-round no-drinking measure, aiming for October this year.

Street Drinking Becomes a Problem

In September 2023, following reports of loudness and littering near Shibuya Station, police patrols were set up around the vicinity. They began recording the number of people drinking on the streets. Compared to normal weekdays, around weekends and before public holidays, the number increased by 150%.

Logs were also made regarding how many people were approached by the police. In March, around 100 people were logged, but come April the number increased to 158 drinkers. According to Yahoo News, the officers should be able to speak English, as over 70% of the street drinkers are reported to be either foreign residents or tourists.

Shibuya Street Drinking Ban

The proposed ban, which takes its blueprint from similar bans enforced around Halloween and New Years periods, puts forward specific times during which drinking on the street will be prohibited. The tabled timings are 6 p.m. through to 5 a.m. every day. The ban will cover the area from the north exit of Shibuya Station to Miyashita Park.

“If we make it a rule in this town to prohibit drinking on the streets, it will carry more weight when we warn people,” said Mayor Ken Hasebe. “We want to pass the ordinance and convey the ward’s intentions, including patrols. When people do drink, we want them to enjoy themselves inside bars.”

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