There is nothing like being in Japan for Halloween, especially here in Tokyo. For a country that is world renown for both kawaii (super cute) things and anime/manga, this holiday holds a very special place in the hearts of people here both young and old.
For those wanting to participate and those wanting to get great pictures, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in both the Halloween spirit and Japanese culture. Here are the top 5 places to get your Halloween fix on in Tokyo.
For the kid in all of us, nothing beats Disney for an overall interactive experience. Luckily here in Tokyo there are two major theme parks, Disney Sea and Disneyland, each of which has their own special Halloween events:
Disney Sea – This year the theme and event features the evil Disney villains. Your favorite characters, including Mickey and Minnie will pay tribute to the villains by dressing up as them. Even all the food in the park will have a Halloween theme. There is also a spectacular firework show at night that is not to be missed. There are a lot of water themed events as well with floats going down waterways of the park.
Disneyland – Not to be outdone, Disneyland will have their own “Halloween Fair’ event. Your favorite characters will be in costumes and joined by the pumpkins from “Happy Halloween Harvest” with a parade including “pose off’s” between guests and their favorite characters. The whole park will be decorated in Halloween themes along with special food offerings in their restaurants. The Haunted Mansion will even host a special “Holiday Nightmare” that will be available through next year (1/4/16). which takes the well-loved Haunted Mansion and decorates it in the theme of Tim Burtons’ “The Nightmare Before Christmas” – be warned lines are quite long and the audio is in Japanese. There will be parades with multiple floats featuring the holiday theme and even shows and games for the young and “young at heart”. There will also be a fireworks display at night.
Growing up in the Philippines (and likely anywhere in Asia), Sanrio is a part of our childhood. It should really be of no surprise upon moving to the land of “kawaii” cuteness that Halloween here would involve Sanrio. Only at this event can one see and interact with your favorite Sanrio characters. From My Little Twin Stars to the infamous Hello Kitty, it is definitely a must see during Halloween. The place itself normally has multiple shows and rides to enjoy. From Hello Kitty’s house to a character boat ride, it easily provides entertainment for the whole family. This year for its 41st anniversary they have teamed up with Taicoclub to have an adults only themed night club complete with hello kitty DJ and multiple special musical guests! This year’s theme is Pink Sensation and starts at 10PM all the way to 5 AM! Like the theme states, the dress code is all pink, so come ready to party the night/day? away! Admission is 6000 yen at the door; 5000 yen with advanced purchase.
On the totally opposite end of the spectrum is the Kawasaki Halloween Parade. It is world renowned for its crazy costumes. This one is jam-packed literally with over 3,500 people in attendance. One can register and be part of the parade and there are monetary prizes for costumes up to 100,000 yen for the first prize winner alone, not to mention other gifts for runner-ups including vacation giveaways. The parade itself starts at 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM and is quite a sight to see. From 5 PM to 11 PM there is also a dance party open to anyone willing to pay a 1500 yen fee, though you do get a 500yen discount if you wear a costume. If you were lucky enough to register and be part of the parade though, the entrance is free. There even is a two-week series of events as noted on their website including (but not limited to) pumpkin carving, face painting, and a kids’ parade. This year has the added bonus of having the world horror short film festival along with a special Halloween edition of the rocky Horror Picture Show. Also because of the new Star Wars film release there will be at least 100 participants in Star Wars costumes and even a float designed by LucasFilm, Inc.!
Kawasaki Halloween Parade*Automatic translation
A two-day festival from 10/31/15 to 11/1/15, this festival is an anime/cosplay lover’s dream. This is the biggest mecca for fans with more than 50,000 people attending during their inaugural event last year alone! Sponsored by Nico-Nico, the event is live-streamed all over the world. It is no surprise that there is both a local and international mix of fans attending the festival. Imagine seeing all of your favorite characters from anime, manga, video games and movies; of course they would draw quite a crowd! In addition to the parade, there are live stage shows and even a Halloween fashion show to boot.
Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival*Automatic translation
The Omotesando Hello Halloween Parade is an annual parade geared towards children usually from 11 AM to 5 PM. Over 1000 children in their full Halloween outfits participate. The parade goes down a beautiful tree lined street and participants can get special sweets from specific stores shown on a Okashi rally map made especially for the event. The shops in the area have special events during the week of the event with restaurants having Halloween-themed menus. Usually there is a local celebrity in attendance as a special surprise.
So if you’re around Tokyo or Kawasaki for Halloween, be sure to check out the amazing offerings above. There literally is something for everyone! Have a happy and spook-tactic (but safe) Halloween!!! Ikimasho!