Memos from Asia

Halloween in Japan. It’s Almost a Cosplay Festival.

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Tokyo, Japan – October 27, 2018: People are gathering to celebrate Halloween in Shibuya, one of the popular districts in Tokyo. Halloween is the new tendency in Japan and it has become a big occasion for enjoying cosplay.

Japanese culture and holidays are vastly different from the ones across Western countries or America. Of course, Halloween is no exception to this case.

Within the last two decades, Halloween had grown in popularity across Japan, and is now one of the biggest holidays held October 31. Yet, in comparison to other countries, Japanese Halloween does not follow the same traditions, for example, there is no ‘trick or treating’ involved because it might be considered as inconvenient or bothersome to many people.

However, Japan is quite famous for its cosplay (costume play) events held throughout the year and people tend to focus their creativity on creating unique Halloween costumes just as much. Besides, many restaurants and cafes adjust their menus to holiday season and offer limited edition desserts, beverages and even give small gifts!

Halloween costumes

Costume revelers at Shibuya district during Halloween celebration. Halloween has become a massive hit in Tokyo in recent years.

Cosplay in Japan is widely popular as it is, and Halloween street events give people another reason to dress up in costumes, which vary from classic witches, vampires, zombies and simple black cat ears on the head to more complex ones.

On the streets, in nightclubs, and bars across Japan you can see people in crazy outfits like Pokemons, Star Wars, characters from various TV shows or movies, and pretty costumes from video games or anime. Those vary from cute to terrifying, from simple to complex full-body outfits with a lot of small details.

The most popular places to find costumes and different accessories for your outfit are Daiso (famous $1 store across Japan and overseas) and Don Quijote or ‘Donki’ – two popular discount places.

View of Daiso store located in Dotonbori, Osaka. Daiso is a large franchise of 100-yen shops founded in Japan.
Don Quijote shopping center in Osaka. Don Quijote is a Japanese shopping chain selling general goods for a discounted price.

Halloween Events

Amusement parks in Japan are always a must visit if you are planning to stay in Japan for a while. Not only there are many unique attractions worth experiencing, but also they run different thematic events and parades throughout the year, and Halloween is no exception.

Parade events in Tokyo Disneyland usually happen at least once a day during the whole month of October, including different spooky characters, ghosts, goblins participating in dance parties and just strolling around the park.

Universal Studios Japan has a special Halloween-themed movie ride and dance numbers happening several times per day, and it even runs a zombie flash mob. Moreover, the restaurants in parks tend to add seasonal menus with unique foods and drinks, changing every year.

Halloween street parties and bar crawls

Bar crawl, or bar-hopping, is the act of drinking in multiple bars or pubs during the night, and some of them could end up in a nightclub. You can find a lot of bar crawl groups that organize the event on Facebook.

Honestly, bar crawls are really popular activities to enjoy with friends and meet new people without much effort any day of the week. Participating in bar crawl during Halloween is a lot of fun and a great chance to get acquainted not only with foreigners but also with many Japanese people of all ages.

Street parties and parades tend to happen all over the city, usually in a big open space like park or square where you can see a vast variety of Halloween costumes and meet new people. You can also bring your own drinks!

Halloween-themed trains

During Halloween, even Japanese trains get to be transformed and decorated. Pumpkin decorations, stickers, even the outside of the train is plastered with Halloween stuff or just simple advertisements with party or event information, promotions and so on.

Can you imagine walking into the train full of terrifying zombies or vampires? SPOOKY. But you can also sign up to participate in a train party for the fun!

Just in general, trains in Japan during the Halloween are very colorful as you can see people in costumes and scary outfits heading to the city center to participate in the celebrations.

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