Despite what the movies and vlogs show you there’s more to Japan than kawaii characters and idols. Japan also has a deep-seated relationship with horror. Japanese horror is lauded as some of the best in the world, giving us cult classics like The Ring, The Grudge, and Dark Water. Although Halloween is still a new celebration in Japan, the occasion is starting to catch on quickly with annual celebrations in Tokyo and other major cities. So get into the Halloween spirit with seven spooky places you can visit around Tokyo.
Literally translating to “The Graveyard Bar”, Akabane Reien is a true spooky gem resting in north Tokyo. The low lighting and skeleton heads falling from the ceiling create the perfect backdrop for a haunting evening out. Functioning primarily as an izakaya (Japanese pub), visitors here can enjoy all you can drink specials along with karaoke all night long. The menu has some special items to try including Medama Oyaji (Papa Eyeballs) or Nurikabe (a ghost known for leaving travelers astray). The izakaya will feel alive as you’ll quickly notice some hidden scares waiting for you as you eat.
A far cry from the high-class image Ginza is known for, the gothic appeal of the Vampire Cafe beckons visitors to take a break from the glamour of the city to enjoy a drink. Covered wall to wall with red velvet with a delicate touch of morbid flair. From the decor to the landscape every detail of the cafe molds an eerie atmosphere. Dinner can sip a red aperitif garnished with tiny skulls. As you’re dining you’ll quickly forget about the city’s flagship stores and high prices.
As one of the most unique dining experiences in Tokyo, The Lockup is two floors of booths set up like a haunted jail. Upon arrival, you a waitress dressed as a prison guard will arrest you and escort you to your jail cell. The food served to you also adheres to the spooky aesthetic. Some drinks come in test tube beaker sets. The food is also a prison and monster-themed with names like ‘zombie entrails yaki’, and ‘fried devil box’. Despite the popularity of the place, reservations aren’t necessary for a table.
Creepy Vending Machine Corner
Despite what the name suggests, there’s nothing creepy about what’s inside the vending machines. What’s actually unnerving about this area are the odd signs, random items, and eerie atmosphere, The signs are pretty ominous to idk. There are some strange items in the vending machines but compared to everything else they’re pretty tame. You can buy toy trains, candles, and mystery packages with short stories written inside.
Address: Near Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Suda-cho 2-19-7
In the daytime, Toyama Park is a great area to stroll through, but once nightfall comes that friendly atmosphere is quickly changed for a spooky vibe. Just a few decades ago the park was the sight of one of Japan’s most grizzly mass murders and human experimentation. During WWII the area was home to a number of medical facilities including the infamous Imperial Army’s Unit 731. Doctors here were rumored to have infected and dissected prisoners. Throughout the year’s visitors have reported a number of eerie occurrences at night including hearing disembodied voices near Hakone Yama.
Address: 169-0072 Tokyo-to, Shinjuku City, Okubo, 3 Chome-5-1
Thrill-seekers will be happy to find a haunted house that actually feels haunted. Obaken (Ghost house ) is a high-tech haunted house filled with timed challenges in each room. The location is in a sleepy residential area just outside of Honacho Station which really gives off the ‘grudge’ vibes. When entering the house requires advanced registration so be sure to book your ticket before making your way to the house.
Daiba Strange School
Another obakeyashiki can be found in Odaiba with the Daiba Strange School. Despite it’s in the middle of a mall, the house is set up as a decrepit abandoned school. There’s a storyline to follow and inside you’re given a torchlight as you try to rescue the spirits of the students and the headteacher who according to legend committed suicide. The soundtrack mimics that of a horror movie fit with creepy children laughing, sudden movements, and screams. While going through the maze only laughs about 15 minutes but if you’re prone to fright it can feel like a lifetime.
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