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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Friendly Yokai in a Park in Chofu

Who knew yokai could be such fun playmates for kids? Kitaro Hiroba in Chofu, Tokyo is not your ordinary Japanese playground.



The yokai Ittan-momen entertain children at the Kitaro Hiroba park in Chofu, Tokyo. (© Sankei by Masamichi Kirihara)

There is a haunted park in Chofu, Tokyo. Not by your typical apparitions, but by yokai — the monsters, spirits, and other supernatural entities in Japanese folklore.

At the park's entrance, the yokai welcome the daring visitors into their playground. One of them seems especially enthusiastic, even waving its hand. 

The park is named Kitaro Hiroba after the famous manga series GeGeGe no Kitarō by late manga artist Shigeru Mizuki. He was an honorary citizen of Chofu city. 

Kitaro is the protagonist of the famous manga series Gegege no Kitaro. (© Mizuki Production)

Eccentric Playmates

Some of the manga's most iconic characters frolic in the park, their eeriness softened by an impish charm.

One odd-looking creature is Ittan-momen, a yokai in the form of a piece of cotton. Flying is one of its special powers.

Another conspicuous creature is Nurikabe, whose name means "plaster wall." Although the name suggests a dull character, Nurikabe is a devoted member of the Kitaro family, always willing to serve as a shield to protect its friends. It also doesn't seem to mind when kids practice rock climbing on its body.

While adults might have second thoughts about spending a Sunday afternoon with yokai, the children appear to enjoy their eccentric playmates. The playground is alive with the children's laughter thanks to the yokai.

A child climbing on the yokai Nurikabe. (© Sankei by Masamichi Kirihara)


Author: Masamichi Kirihara

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