If partying all night is your idea of fun, then one of the most exciting ways to welcome the new year in Japan is to join the massive countdown event held at the Shibuya Scramble Crossing in Tokyo. This year’s event is called “You Make Shibuya Countdown 2018-2019”, and like most other countdown celebrations in large cities, the place can get so packed with people that it adversely affects surrounding areas for hours.
In an effort to limit the amount of people during its peak, Japanese police have teamed up with various companies to ensure that things run as smooth as possible from the eve into the first day of 2019. Aside from streets closing off to traffic, train stations have also been requested to shut their exits.
Railway train company JR East will be lowering their Shibuya Station exit shutters from 11 p.m. to 12:20 a.m., while Tokyu Corporation will be shutting exits 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7a and 8 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Pamphlets and station announcements will be reminding train passengers of the temporary closures, so that partygoers will not find themselves stranded with no way to get home.
As event attendees have risen sharply in recent years — 67,000 in 2016 and then over 100,000 people in 2017 — these measures will be strictly enforced for safety reasons.
This year’s countdown will probably see even more people squeezing cheek by jowl at Shibuya Scramble Crossing to usher in the new year, which may potentially amplify some horrifying behavior witnessed during the recent Halloween. Nevertheless, be sure to arrive ahead of time if you still plan to go or you will likely spend New Year’s eve staring glumly at a closed roller shutter.
Source: Asahi Shimbun, Livedoor News
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