Halloween is a massive thing in Japan. This may seem strange, as it is a traditionally western event and doesn’t have historical significance in Japan or much of the rest of Asia. But over the last decade October 31st has become a great excuse for wacky costumes, street parades, Halloween parties, and all the other things associated with Halloween!
I want to tell you about my experience of being in Osaka for Halloween. If you are in Japan at Halloween time, you might be tempted to head over to Shibuya in Tokyo where thousands and thousands of people gather in the most amazing spooky costumes and walk the streets like zombies!
As fun as this is, however, many people have stopped going to Shibuya for Halloween because of the sheer crowds. There are so many people packed into the tiny area, and you will likely spend at least an hour trying to get to a station when you want to go home.
If you are looking for a good street party but perhaps with less stress, Osaka could be the perfect Halloween destination for you!
I’ve been living in the Kansai area of Japan for a few years now and one of the yearly highlights for me has definitely always been Halloween! Back when I was living in England there’d usually be a few people out on the town dressed up and maybe the occasional party but nothing to compare with the celebrations in Japan!
I think one of the big reasons Halloween is so much fun in Japan is the sheer number of people you see out in costume. I’ve been to Halloween parties here on Halloween itself as well as the weekends on either side and every time nearly everyone has made the effort to don an outfit for the occasion.
Another great thing on Halloween is that no one is shy about approaching each other and posing for pictures! Don’t be surprised if random people approach you on the street and ask you to pose for them, and feel free to do the same, too! You can get some amazing pictures because people really make an effort with their costumes here!
There are parties organized in most of the bigger bars around Osaka and Kyoto, but for me, the best place to be for Halloween by far is Triangle park (or Sankaku Koen) in Shinsaibashi, Osaka.
On the weekends surrounding Halloween, especially the Saturday closest to the 31st, the park and the streets around it fill up with hundreds of people out in full costume to celebrate! One of the extraordinary things is that there is no organization or planning seemingly involved, at least I’ve never seen an announcement or poster advertising it, everyone just turns up!
There’re a few convenience stores by the park to keep everyone stocked up with reasonably priced beer and snacks, so as well as being one of the biggest Halloween parties it’s also probably the cheapest!
The array of costumes on display is unbelievable! Popular anime and manga characters are a popular choice alongside the most traditional selection of monsters and ghouls for Halloween. Unsurprisingly in a country famous for its cosplaying, some of the outfits are frighteningly realistic while others are simply great fun!
Last year I saw the whole One Piece crew, zombie brides and pieces of sushi all drinking together!
The Halloween party at Osaka Triangle Park usually takes place on the last Saturday before Halloween, so the actual date varies. People usually begin gathering in the main square within the park from around 7 pm onwards, and things start getting pretty lively by 9 pm.
There is no entrance fee or other charge, but you should make sure you bring along your own drinks because shops and nearby bars are likely to have huge queues.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Kansai at Halloween time don’t miss all the fun! Get yourself down to triangle park for a great night!