Locals commemorate the day with colorful, raucous revelry at Japan’s capital
Halloween was barely a blip here five years ago. All that’s changed now, and here are four events to keep an eye out for in Tokyo in Japan:
The biggest organized Halloween event in the country — and one that has been active since before the current boom got underway — is Kawasaki Halloween (lacittadella.co.jp/halloween/). A short train ride from Tokyo, the area around Kawasaki Station transforms into a Halloween fair throughout October. The biggest events happen on October 27 and 28, with a kids’ parade and general Halloween parade respectively. Don a costume and join thousands of others as they march downtown.
In the northern corner of Tokyo is the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival (ikebukurocosplay.jp), held on October 27 and 28. This one’s a must for any anime fans in town for the weekend, as the majority of people who come out to the northwest neighborhood come dressed as Japanese animated characters.
And for those looking to add some art and music to the festivities, the lead vocalist of glam-rock group of L’Arc-en-Ciel, Hyde, will hold his Halloween Party 2018 (hyde.com) — a concert event featuring pop and rock artists and more — over three days (October 26–28) in Makuhari Messe, just outside the city.
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Come with us and you will see… Tokyo’s pre-Halloween street parties
In the week leading up to October 31, most party people in Tokyo simply take to the streets to celebrate Halloween. And no spot in the city attracts as many folks as Shibuya, which turns into a mess of costumed bodies late in the month. Peak party nights will happen on October 27 and 28 — on the 27th there’s the free-for-all, Asahi-sponsored Shibuya Halloween Party (otonahalloween.com) in the Hikarie building; go for food, drinks and a costume contest — but you can hit up Shibuya anytime in the week before or after to enjoy the lively atmosphere. On your next Tokyo getaway in time for Halloween, try getting off at the Hachiko exit of Shibuya Station and the party will be everywhere around you.
Once among the crowds, grab a drink from a nearby convenience store and enjoy it with other Halloween-loving folk. It’s more spectacle than anything else, but being in the middle of it is a fun, unique cultural experience. Just make sure to clean up after yourself once you’re done.
This article first appeared in the October 2018 issue of Smile magazine.