Photo/Illutration A screen displaying "Virtual Shibuya," a digital reproduction of the Shibuya Station area (Ayumi Sugiyama)

KDDI Corp. and Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward are promising this year’s online Halloween events through “Virtual Shibuya,” a digital space where the Shibuya Station area is visually reproduced in detail, will be bigger and better.

The idea is to encourage Halloween partyers to enjoy events online so that they do not form the massive crowds seen in the past in downtown Shibuya while the pandemic is still ongoing.

This year’s big selling point is that visitors can make their avatars look and move just like they do in real life, and use them to join various events by virtually walking around in the downtown area.

If people use Avatarium, a system developed by 3-D-technology company Pocket RD Inc., they can scan their faces and bodies to create virtual avatars. If a user inputs their data into the app, they can make their avatars walk around or dance while wearing their favorite clothing.

The scanners will be installed at four locations, including the Shibuya Ward office.

Virtual Shibuya will run from Oct. 16 through Oct. 31.

“I hope people will enjoy Virtual Shibuya,” said Ken Hasebe, the ward’s mayor, at an Oct. 12 announcement.

KDDI and Shibuya Ward jointly created Virtual Shibuya, unveiled in May 2020, to promote safe partying.

The platform can be accessed on smartphones and other types of computer devices free of charge. 

The online Halloween events held last year attracted about 400,000 people over six days.

Like last year, this year’s events will be held in collaboration with popular anime and singers. Online visitors can buy original goods and watch music live. The proceeds will be donated to the ward.

In recent years around the Shibuya Station area, some Halloween partyers have gotten drunk and become rowdy and even violent, causing a spate of problems for local businesses and law enforcement.