Obake yashiki, or haunted houses in Japan, are unique in how they host a unique storytelling experience. Designed to attack all five senses, each attraction has a thrilling story that turns your scariest imagination into reality!
Japan is perhaps the top place to celebrate Halloween in the world! The most popular celebrations take place Ikebukuro, Roppongi, and of course, Shibuya. Since the busiest season for haunted houses is summer, it’ll be much easier for you to visit them in October! Read on to learn more about these attractions you can visit if you want to experience some extra thrills!
Halloween is for horror and frights, where everyone wears costumes, visits haunted houses, and parties all night. Celebrated on October 31st, the holiday marks the end of a month-long celebration of monsters, pumpkins, and everything spooky. However, until the last decade, Halloween in Japan was not the big celebration it is today.
Before the 2000s, Halloween was a Western holiday, often ignored by Japan until Tokyo Disneyland hosted its first Halloween-themed event. Before then, only American expatriates celebrated Halloween during rowdy parties on Japanese trains.
While horror from other countries involves heavy jumpscares and gore to frighten you, Japanese horror simply relies on the senses. Imagine being chilling screams enveloping you while in complete darkness.
Your imagination will finish the job to go where jumpscares couldn’t. They range from modern haunted houses that use special visual and sound effects to more traditional haunted houses that have years of lore and stories.
Japanese haunted attractions should be at the top of anyone’s must-sees when in Japan. If you’re looking for a scary evening, here are five of the top haunted houses in Japan!
Located near the base of Mt. Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland is famous for its frightening haunted house, the Labyrinth of Fear. This haunted attraction is based on the legend of a popular local hospital where doctors sold patients’ internal organs. After which they disposed of the bodies.
As the legend goes, the disturbed spirits of the victims came back with a vengeance to haunt and kill the staff. The attraction is one of the largest haunted houses in the world, coming in at over 900 meters (just under 3000 feet) of twisting hallways and mazes. “The Room of No Escape” in particular is a blood-curdling room with no visible exit, where ghosts taunt and tease you.
With 50 minutes of haunts and horrors, this haunted house is terrifying and thrilling. With eerie sounds, strange smells, and horrifying sights (or worse, no sight at all), the Labyrinth of Fear is not for the faint of heart.
However, if you’re not up for the full challenge, there are a few options. You can purchase an omamori (Japanese amulet) which will signal to the actors to scare you less. However, if it’s still too much, the attraction has pink doors marked “Retire” throughout allowing you to escape if need be. The Labyrinth of Fear only welcomes groups, so be sure to bring a friend along!
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In this haunted house, prepare for the fright of your life. Onryou Zashiki (“Tatami Room of Apparitions”) is a classic scary attraction with a modern twist. The attraction uses the backstory of Yotsuya Kaiden, a classic Japanese horror tale.
Beneath the house is the body of a woman whose name was Yoko. Her husband and his mistress murdered her by poisoning her face powder. Your objective in this haunted house? Explore the house, find Yoko’s ghost, apply an antidote to her face and help her to find peace. However, don’t let her find you first. If she finds you, she will kill you.
As this is a haunted house, you must take off your shoes as with many traditional Japanese establishments. But be careful–every part of you is vulnerable to attack, including your bare feet! So only enter if you dare!
As summer is the prime season for scary attractions in Japan, Onryou Zashiki does offer summer specials. This includes adding additional missions to your tasks such as binding the ghost with rope or other materials.
There is also an option for a more challenging mode at night time where the house gets even more frightening. Despite this, Halloween is the perfect time to visit. Even without the additional hard modes or tasks, Onryo Zashiki is still very scary and is sure to satisfy your horror needs.
Daiba Ghost School is one of the shortest attractions. Its runtime comes in at just 10-15 minutes long, but that doesn’t make it any less scary. The school follows a legendary tale where a young girl commits suicide and later returns in spirit to convince other classmates to do the same.
After failing his students, the principal follows suit prompting the closure of the school. Your task is to explore the school and put the students’ spirits to rest through a blessing at a bonfire within the school.
You’ll be plunged into darkness while eerie sounds, movements, and children’s laughter follow you. Much of the frights in this attraction lie in what’s unseen and that’s exactly the brilliance of Japanese horror.
The ghosts here will even call out your name to frighten you, providing you with a unique visit that will frighten even the most experienced go-er. This attraction can be done with friends, but if you’re feeling up for an extra fright, you’re allowed to go it alone. If you’re looking for a quick scare, Daiba Ghost School is perfect.
Murder Lodge is another great haunted house located in Tokyo at Tokyo Joyopolis. This haunted house uses darkness to hinder your sight and stereophonic sound to surround you with horror as you embark on a journey to run for your life. The story is about group of hikers who lost in a sudden storm.
The group seeks shelter in a cabin they find in the woods and they find an old man referred to as the “caretaker” while there. However, they soon realize things are not as they seem when the old man starts speaking suspiciously about a “master” and glancing out the window.
The group soon realizes they’ve walked into a murder feast and they’re next. This plot may sound like every horror movie ever, but there’s one twist. You are the main star and it’s your turn to outrun the murderers. As a haunted house go-er, it’s up to you to survive the night and escape the horrifying murder lodge!
Sakura no Onrei takes a more old-school approach to haunted houses. Located within the Hanayashiki Amusement Park (Japan’s first and oldest amusement park!), this haunted house is rumored to be haunted in real life.
Taking place in the Edo period, this house’s story comes from a sakura tree that was cut down, enraging the spirits inside the tree. The enraged spirits became vengeful and cursed everyone, continuing to haunt the location for years to come.
Entering the house transports you back in time, where you’ll encounter ghosts along your path. Sakura no Onrei is perfect for those who don’t want a heavily thrilling experience. Despite rumors of real ghosts there, this haunted attraction is open to children of all ages allowing everyone to partake in the obake yashiki experience.
Which one of these haunted houses in Japan would you like to go to? Have you ever been to them before? Let us know in the comments below!
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