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Halloween in Japan: Gotta Catch ’em All!

Halloween celebrations in Japan are entirely unofficial. On the Saturday night before whichever day October 31st falls on, people simply congregate in costume.

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There’s a different kind of magic in the air as crisp and golden October dissolves into the chillier winds of November. For many, the reason for the season is the festival of Halloween.

Originating from the Gaelic rite of Samhain, Halloween exists today in many forms, including All Saints Day and Dia De Los Muertos. Conversely, the Japanese festival of the dead is named Obon and happens in August. As such, we can safely assume that Halloween in Japan is an entirely secular event and an unofficial excuse to drink in public while dressed as Pikachu.

If you’re heading out for Halloween in Japan, be sure to keep this Field Guide on your phone and see how many points you can score. Battle!

Halloween in Japan is truly an event unlike any other. [A large crowd in Halloween costumes fills a park in Osaka at night].
Japanese Halloween: a jovial kind of mayhem.

Halloween in Japan: exactly as good is looks.

Halloween celebrations in Japan are entirely unofficial. On the Saturday night before whichever day October 31st falls on, people simply congregate in costume.

However, in recent years, celebrations have occurred on the closest Saturday to Halloween, and Halloween night itself. In Tokyo, the street party will usually stretch from the Hachiko statue and along the ‘Center-gai‘ in Shibuya. For Osaka, the best party is at America-mura’s Triangle Park. Additionally, Kyoto residents will often travel a short distance to Osaka to join the larger celebrations.

The event in itself is in many ways unthinkable to the Westerner. Quite simply, people gather in costume, consume a merry amount of beer and chu-hi and have a lovely time. Generally speaking, there are no fights, no riots, no police visibility.

People will even dress in matching outfits with their pets and children, with no fear of any crowd-based dangers. It’s a beautiful thing to do on a refreshingly crisp night in October. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Japan during this time, you’d be missing out if you didn’t participate to the best of your ability. In order to help you see it all in one short night, you’ll need some assistance. Luckily, the perfect field guide is right here. Enjoy responsibly!

The “Safety in Numbers”

+1 point, +1 bonus point for each group member.

A Japanese Halloween classic! Dressing in a manner that may get you fired from your day job requires the unwavering dedication of the office group. Presumably, the group are all co-workers from the same company division.

“Safety in Numbers” seek to obfuscate their identities by looking identical to their colleagues. In short, this ensures that their boss cannot obtain a positive ID when images of them vomiting on a police car surface on Instagram the following Monday.

Four young women dressed as leopards walk past a foreign man dressed as Frankenstein's monster during a Japanese Halloween event in Osaka, Japan. 1 point!
Frankenstein’s monster: the unlikely leopard hunter.

(You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on October 30, 2021. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook.)

Author: Team JJ

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