How Japan Has Embraced Halloween
Halloween hasn’t always been celebrated by Japanese people like it is now. It’s only been since the early 2000s when Halloween was thoroughly embraced by the masses in Japan by Tokyo Disneyland.
They put on fantastic Halloween special events, which hooked Japan on the spooky holiday. Before then, Halloween celebrations were minimal, but they did happen.
Halloween is not celebrated the way it is in Western countries. However, While it hasn’t been embraced in Japan for very long, there are some events one can expect every year, whether living in Japan or visiting during the month of October.
Is Trick Or Treating Observed In Japan?
Japan does not trick or treat. The concept of trick or treating is very outside the norm for the Japanese way of life.
It’s not commonplace for one to show up at another’s house uninvited, and it’s even less common for someone to show up at a home to ask for something.
What Is A Japanese Halloween Like?
When Japan embraced Halloween, the idea of dressing up in costumes and enjoying the spooky elements of the holiday was what enticed people.
All over the country, people dress up and go to a series of macabre and on-theme events.
Being in Japan during Halloween is nothing short of fun and exciting. No matter how you like to celebrate Halloween, you’re bound to find Halloween celebrations close by to where you’re staying.
20 Great Ways To Experience The Holiday
There is no shortage of things to do during the Halloween season in Japan. The good news is you don’t have to pick just one; many festivities are held on multiple days.
There is also something for everyone, whether you like going to high-energy parties or want a more laid-back way to experience Japan on Halloween.
1. Go Shopping For Costumes
Shopping for costumes in Japan is a thrilling experience. You’ll be blown away by all the options you’ll have and will be more amazed by the prices.
A lot of popular stores known for their awesome prices, such as Don Quijote, sell Halloween costumes at discounted prices.
You’ll find everything from typical Halloween monsters and creatures to your favorite pop culture icons and everything in between.
2. Embrace Popular Japanese Costumes
If you’re going to multiple Japanese Halloween events, you might as well get multiple costumes.
You’ll notice that a lot of costumes revolve around popular characters in Japanese pop culture, such as Japanese anime, manga, and television characters.
3. Celebrate Halloween All Month Long
In recent years Halloween is not just celebrated on October 31st; you can pick and choose the festivities you want to attend all month long.
A lot of the events will span multiple days, with some even starting before October. This way, you don’t have to pick just one annual Halloween event to attend.
4. Enjoy A Japanese Halloween Street Party
Japanese Halloween street parties can get pretty rambunctious, with people coming out in droves to show off their costumes of favorite characters, dance, and drink.
It’s perhaps one of the only times of year you’ll see people drinking a lot, as these parties tend to be full of young people. Even if you don’t like to party, checking out at least one is worth it.
5. Check Out Roppongi Hills’ Street Parties
The street parties held at Roppongi Hills are legendary. Typically, it starts out as a parade, and as the evening transitions into spooky darkness, the parade turns into a big party.
All you need to do is bring yourself dressed up in a costume and bring what you might like to drink.
6. Seek Out Limited Edition Halloween Treats
Just because you may not be able to trick or treat, it doesn’t mean you can’t find any treats. Anywhere from little shops and convenience stores to bakeries, will create a ton of on-theme treats you can buy during the Halloween season.
You’ll find treats decorated with Halloween colors, characters, and imagery that are as delicious as they are creepy.
7. Indulge At A Restaurant For Halloween Season
It’s also worth going to a restaurant while in Japan to take a look at their Halloween menus. Many restaurants will put together unique dishes during this time that you can only enjoy during Halloween.
If you tend to eat on a budget when in Japan, make sure you pick at least one night around Halloween to indulge.
8. Ride A Train During Halloween Season
Even before Halloween became a big deal in Japan, there would be parties at train stations that would spill into the trains.
People will dress up and mingle, though the festivities are more toned down and regulated than they once were. Check out the websites of your nearby train stations to see if any parties are being held.
9. See Tokyo Disneyland Transform For Halloween
Walking through Disneyland Tokyo and the Tokyo Disney Resort, you’ll be able to see all of your favorite Disney characters embrace the season of fright.
They will usually roam the park grounds dressed up as ghosts, joining the crowds for parades and parties throughout the night.
10. Visit Universal Studios Japan
If you like the scarier side of Halloween, head to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka during one of their Halloween Horror Nights. You can see characters dressed up and walk through haunted houses, encountering spine-chilling characters along the way.
Universal Studios Japan also has a ride dedicated to all things scary for Halloween.
Many of the costumes donned by the character actors and the decorations can be quite terrifying, so it may not be the best place to bring kids.
11. See Spooky Season Hello Kitty At Sanrio Puroland
Throughout the month of October, the cutesy Sanrio Puroland, also known as Hello Kitty Land, turns into an eerie place but in a kid-friendly manner.
The characters will get dressed up at night, and several events are hosted at the park throughout October. It’s the perfect place to spend Halloween with your family.
12. Check Out A Shibuya Halloween
Shibuya is known for having large street parties and will typically close off a big section of the street from Center Gai to Scramble Crossing.
These parties can get pretty rambunctious with the number of young adults, and unfortunately, one year led to some property damage and unruliness.
That said, that unfortunate circumstance was likely a one-time occurrence.
13. See The Wonder Of The Kawasaki Halloween Parade
The Kawasaki Halloween Parade is an annual event where people get dressed up in their scariest, creepiest costumes and parade down the street to spread the Halloween spirit.
You’ll be amazed at just how ambitious some of the costume designs are, as people will usually save their most elaborate costumes for this parade.
14. Participate In The Ikebukuro Cosplay Festival
Ikebukuro is a great place to be during the month of October. There’s an annual cosplay festival that you can attend, get into character, and meet new people.
Outside of the cosplay festival, there are often Halloween-themed events in Ikebukuro that are much more kid-friendly than many other affairs.
15. Visit The Sumida Aquarium
You get a completely new experience of the place while also getting to see all the sea creatures swimming around.
16. Celebrate At The Dotonbori Street Party
The Dotonbori area of Osaka is a beautiful outdoor space overlooking the water with an accompanying bridge to take you from side to side. During Halloween, there are often several parties held in the area, all-embracing the frightening aura of the holiday.
Typically, these parties occur on Halloween itself, as well as the weekend before or after Halloween.
17. Watch Tokyo Tower Light Up
If you want something more low-key but still on the theme, you can watch the Tokyo Tower become illuminated while surrounded by Halloween decor.
In the area of the tower, they also have different photo booths and shows set up.
18. Party At The Absolute Halloween In Sakae
If you like to party, the massive block parties that happen in Sakae are going to excite you. Sakae is a district in Nagoya that offers fun any time of the year.
Parties will often spill into the street from several clubs that join in on the festivities, blasting music late into the night while people dance the night away in their costumes.
19. Celebrate Halloween In Sapporo
Sapporo’s Susukino district also gets into the Halloween spirit with an expansive outdoor party. The party typically spans a large area, with the central area for a gathering being on Tanukikoji Shopping Street.
If you want to join in on this party, it’s often held on Halloween or the closest weekend to Halloween.
20. Celebrate Safely
Parties on the street can get pretty crowded, no matter which one you choose to go to. People are also drinking, so it can get loud and very busy.
Be sure that you always know how to get back to your accommodations and that you drink responsibly when you’re there.
Although because of the state of emergency in recent years, the first Halloween event this year was packed and was a great way to let off some pent-up tension.
Costume contests on Halloween night are found throughout Tokyo, and other main events, as Halloween parties sponsored by various clubs and restaurants, are sure to bring a good time.
The biggest Halloween event will be found in the heart of Tokyo, and late October is a great time to experience the mild weather. Zombie flash mob and people boarding Halloween trains, and mobile costume parties are parts of the Shibuya districts.
The way in which the Japanese celebrate Halloween has become a part of Japanese culture.
Although its thought of as one of the western holidays celebrated in the United States, its a relatively new holiday and has become one of the biggest events in October.