Japan issues strict new alcohol rules for British tourists and ‘it’s regrettable’

A much-loved tourist destination is about to impose a major new booze ban on British tourists. The latest moves in Shibuya City come after similar restrictions were trialled in the Japanese holiday hotspot last Halloween, with tourists and holidaymakers warned.

From October, it will be prohibited to consume alcohol in public places and on the streets between 6pm and 5am in the iconic city of Shibuya, a self-governing district of the Japanese capital. Mayor Ken Hasebe explained: “By establishing the rule, we want to convey the intentions of the district, including during patrols – we would prefer people to enjoy their drinks in restaurants.”

The legal drinking age in Japan is 20 years old. Shibuya City, a self-governing district in Tokyo, can set its own local regulations. Mayor Ken Hasebe recently told reporters, “We’ve increased patrols and other efforts over the last year, but people said, ‘Well, the rules say you can drink, right?

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Speaking to Agence France-Presse, a Fujikawaguchiko official said: “It is unfortunate that we have to do this because of some tourists who cannot respect the rules.” Shibuya banned Halloween-related activities in the district, citing alcohol as the main reason behind the ban.

It included a ban on drinking alcohol outside bars and restaurants. Mayor Hasebe says local businesses supported the regulations in October 2023 and backed the push to make them permanent. “The damage caused by overtourism has become severe, resulting in property damage caused by drinking in the streets, altercations with local residents and the abandonment of large quantities of empty cans and bottles,” the city said in a statement last October.

Halloween is popular with young people in Japan and the Far East. Instead of going trick-or-treating or visiting haunted houses, it is seen as an opportunity to party and drink.

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