Although Halloween isn’t celebrated as a traditional holiday in Japan, influences from the west have ensured that each year this spooky day is pushed further and further into the limelight. As a result, with each passing year more and more Halloween events are beginning to take place in Japan. Being the metropolitan hub of Japan, Tokyo proudly hosts a large number of these exciting events. If you’re around Tokyo this spooky season and want to experience Halloween with a Japanese-twist, be sure to stop by some these fantastically frightening events. You definitely won’t be disappointed!
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The most well-known Halloween parade in Japan has to be the Kawasaki Halloween Parade. Taking place on a Sunday (normally prior to the actual Halloween), thousands of people donning all variety of costumes parade through the streets of Kawasaki. To ensure all of the little ones do not miss out on the fun, a smaller parade takes place on the day before, allowing younger children to join in on the Halloween festivities!
This year, to celebrate the anticipated release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a special Star Wars category has been added to the main parade. So if you do attend, don’t be surprised at the sheer amount of Luke Skywalkers, Darth Vaders and Chewbaccas you’ll see walking around! A special prize of ¥100,000 and a holiday for two to Italy was awarded to the winner at a Halloween costume awards ceremony taking place after the parade, and special categories such as the Star Wars costumes will also be awarded separate prizes.
As well as this, on the evening of Sunday 25th October (2015) a special event took place at Club Citta called Dancing Pumpkin, with acts such as Ryukyudisko and DJ Sodeyama taking the stage. All participants of the parade were granted free entry. Go to Kawasaki on the 31st October to take part in a costumed bar-hopping event, with the night finishing back at Club Citta.
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Hosted by moms, for moms, if you have a little monster of your very own then this is the place to be this Halloween. The Kichijoji Halloween Festival allows children and their parents to stroll through the streets of Kichijoji on Wednesday, the 28th October. There are three parades planned for the day: one for children still in strollers, one for toddlers, and one for children up to the third grade. A costume contest is also taking place with the overall winner receiving a ¥10,000 Tokyu Group gift certificate.
Local stores will be getting in on the spooky festivities and as well as plenty of free candy to get your hands on, participants in the parade will be able to receive special discounts and services. Don Quijote will be generously giving out stuffed animals to the first 100 participants who stop by their store, The Body Shop will be giving away free product samples, and the Mega Blue Bird English School plan on giving away a free English CD to the first 50 people. And if you’re worried about all of the free candy on offer, Watanabe Orthodontics will be gifting free toothbrush sets to the first 1000 people who visit!
During the Halloween season, Tokyo Dome City will be hosting a large variety of Halloween events, mainly targeted at children. If a child arrives at Tokyo Dome City in fancy dress they can board five of the attraction’s rides for the minimal price of ¥2000. Many of the rides will be generously giving out free candy to all little monsters who decide to ride. Two costume parades are also taking place on Saturday October 31st, and any costumed child that enters the parade will receive more free candy to add to their pile. As well as face painting, the two Tokyo Dome City Mascots will also be coming out in fancy dress and plenty of photo opportunities will be available.
Step inside the La Qua shopping centre next door and you will find a whole host of Halloween events as well. A plethora of shops in the giant shopping centre will be giving out free candy to children. And if you fancy a bit of I-spy you can have a go at finding the five pumpkins hidden around the shopping centre. Manage to find all five and you will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!
Another shopping centre, Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, will also be getting in on the Halloween action from the 18th until the 31st October. The whole shopping centre will be playing host to a number of events across the Halloween season. Special Halloween items will be sold across stores and deliciously spine-chilling food will be making an appearance across cafes and restaurants. Until Tuesday 3rd November, J-World Tokyo will have anime characters dressing up in Halloween gear, limited edition items being sold, special Halloween mini-games, and mouth-watering spooky food.
Finish your day here by heading to the roof where Sunshine Aquarium will be holding owl shows, allowing you see these spectacular birds up close and even partake in photo opportunities. They will also be honouring the special occasion by showcasing Dracula shrimp and Gobi Bat fish. What’s more, visit the aquarium after 5pm and the lights will be dimmed, allowing you to see into the mysterious nocturnal world of marine life!
AgeHa, a popular nightclub located in Koto City, Tokyo, will be hosting a two-day Halloween spectacular, this year sticking to a circus theme. A costume contest will be held over the two days, with the winner ultimately walking away with a fantastic ¥1,000,000 in prize money! Only 100 tickets for this event are being sold each day at a low price of ¥2,500 each, so if you’re interested in attending it’s best to try and snap up a ticket as soon as you can. On Friday 30th October acts such as Ram Rider and DJ Shintaro will be playing, and you can listen to artists like Dj Kaori and Daishi Dance if you attend on the actual Halloween night of Saturday 31st October. Judging by the exclusiveness of the event and the success of previous years Halloween parties, this surely is not an event to be missed!
One of Shibuya’s most famous nightclubs is determined not to be left out of the Halloween action this season. Three events will be held this Halloween: a Halloween Party on Tuesday 27th October, a Halloween Special on Wednesday 28th October, and finally, A Playground Called Halloween on Saturday 31st October. This house and techno affair will feature Satoshi Otsuki, DJ PI-GE, and Kikiorix of TRESVIBES, one of the most popular Japanese dance events in both the Womb and in Tokyo as a whole. With free entry for girls and all people in costume gaining discounts across the entire evening, this is sure to be a great event and one not to miss if you want a fun-filled Halloween night out.
And finally, who does Halloween better than Disney? Until Sunday November 8th, characters across Tokyo DisneyLand will be dressing up for the occasion in spooky costumes, and the twice-daily parade will find itself invaded by giant pumpkin floats. The whole of the park will be decked out for the occasion with spooky decorations everywhere the eye can see, and across the park delightfully frightening food and special merchandise will be on sale.
Tokyo DisneySea will also be joining in on the celebrations, the Disney Villains eager to use this opportunity to impress the public with their awesome powers. Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends will also be attending, dressed up in creepy costumes themed around Disney Villains. As well as this, guests will be given the chance to attend a special Halloween show taking place three times a day at the Mediterranian Harbour. Spooky food will be on sale at different restaurants in the park and at Sailing Day Buffet the waiting staff, under the spell of Disney Villains, will even be approaching Guests in an attempt to persuade them to join the side of the Disney Villains!
In the evening across both parks the Night High Halloween event will take place. Spectacular fireworks will be fired into the sky, timed perfectly to Halloween-themed music. It truly is an event not to be missed.
Whilst this year is offering some absolutely amazing events, if you’re unable to attend this year do not fret as they all happen to be an annual occurrence! And with the soaring popularity of Halloween in Japan, next year’s line-up will promise an even larger array of events. Happy Halloween!
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・50 Things to Do in Kichijoji, Tokyo’s Hip and Arty Neighbourhood, in 2018