Shibuya's famous scramble crossing is packed with revelers last New Year's Eve. Photo: YOUTUBE

Police ask train operators to shut some exits at Shibuya station during New Year countdown

By Koh Ruide, SoraNews24

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24

-- Shibuya Station 2019: one step closer to the Neo-Tokyo of our dreams

-- Our reporters search for the spirit of Halloween in Shibuya and make some new friends

-- Commuter chaos around Tokyo during peak hour after Typhoon Trami hits Japan 【Pics & Video】

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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horrifying behavior witnessed during the recent Halloween.

Seems a bit strong. People had a good time - nobody got murdered. I suspect certain factions would prefer to make Kohaku Uta Gassen a mandatory observance.

Not while there is red blood in my veins will I be watching that crappage.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

People shouldn’t be allowed to have fun. Soba and Mikan, boring tv and mochi in the morning. If you want to go out and drink a lot, drive your car. Don’t use pubic transport. If you are too drunk to drive all the way home, just stop at a combini and drink more while resting.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

What if there is a fire and all the exits are shut? what are they trying to achieve here? Closing exits does not help anything.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

"TOP TIP" don't take your mini van into this area! it might get turned over! why can't the gate be left open people need to get home? they could partially open the gate with a couple of security guys to regulate the flow so there is not a massive stampede.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It may be a bit early but I wish every one on here a very happy new year! in 2019 stay safe every one!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I was planning on spending New Year's in Shibuya but forget it now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm all for people having fun, but who in their right mind would want to get squashed like that? I can do that 5 days of the week every morning on trains going toward central Tokyo.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What if there is a fire and all the exits are shut?

Indeed. My college job was a theatre usher. If a fire inspector discovered a single exit shut while a single member of the public were inside, he'd shut us down and heads would roll.

The Japanese cops do the same insane thing at Yoyogi Park during hanami. The smaller exits along the fence are locked, creating hideous bottlenecks at the main entrance. Otherwise, those smaller exits would be a great way of easing the crowd pressure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Another reason why the police wants some transit station exits closed: the continuing rebuilding of the entire Shibuya Station area--a construction that may last well into the 2020's! As such, due to construction zones in and around the station, that could cause major bottlenecks in terms of pedestrian movement, hence the restrictions mentioned in the article.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So I did wind up going there. They herded us like sheep away from the station. There were no instructions or signs in English so if you didn't speak Japanese, you were stuck following the crowd not knowing where you are going. After twenty minutes of squeezing my way through the crowd I decided to walk to another station. Im on my way back now. The police made this so much worse than it had to be. I probably won't go next year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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