Up until only a few years ago, Halloween in Japan was just another excuse to eat a pumpkin pie. But things change quickly here and now, second to Christmas and Valentine’s, Halloween is a hugely popular event and a legitimate reason to take your oh-so-spooky look to the streets without the fear of getting arrested. No surprises here, after all, we live in the capital of cosplay and there’s no better event to get a little creative with your outfit and share the spine-tingling fun with fellow party people.
So, this Halloween, whether you’re planning to party like there’s no tomorrow or just looking for some awesome photo ops, celebrate the season in style with our guide to the best Halloween events in the city!
Roppongi Hills Halloween Parade
Anyone wearing a costume can join this famous annual parade held for the 16th-consecutive year. As usual, the theme is “Cinema” in-line with the Tokyo International Film Festival, which will be held from Oct. 25 until Nov. 3 in Roppongi. Dress up as your favorite movie hero and join the fun! Held from early in the morning, this is one of the most family-friendly events in the capital.
When: Sat, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Where: Roppongi Hills Arena area. Register upon arrival between 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Recommended for: Families and kids
Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival
© Photo by kxn4t_
No area in Tokyo can perform better than Ikebukuro when it comes to cosplaying, so it makes perfect sense that one of the largest Halloween festivals is held here. This event features everything from a cosplay flea market, live stages, a parade, a red carpet to walk along with fellow cosplayers, cafes, photo booths and even a free costume-mending stall in case (parts of) your shoulders fall off.
When: Sat, Oct. 27 and Sun, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: JR Ikebukuro station, east exit area, Higashi-Ikebukuro Central Park
Recommended for: Anime and cosplay fans, photographers
© Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson
Though there is no official public Halloween parade out in Shibuya per se, we all know that this is where all the Minions, zombies and nurses will gather on the last day of the month. The real fun is here and it gets really wild with plenty of what-happens-in-Shibuya-stays-in-Shibuya kind of entertainment. For indoor fun, head to some of the area’s best clubs, namely Womb, Camelot and Vision, all of which will be throwing special Halloween parties in the last days of the month.
When: Wed, Oct. 31 in the evening
Where: Around Shibuya station
Recommended for: Party animals
Kawasaki Halloween Parade
© Photo by Rena Iwama
One of the biggest Halloween parades near Tokyo, this one has 2,500 participants wearing the spookiest and most creative costumes walking for approximately 1.5 km along the streets near Kawasaki station to a backtrack of live DJ music. This year once again, the parade also collaborates with LGBT groups to include a smaller “Halloween pride parade,” in which up to 200 people will take part. There will also be prizes for the best costumes (and more), the biggest one being 0.5 million yen! No wonder why the costume quality at this event is that high!
When: Sun, Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
Where: JR Kawasaki station, east exit
Cost: ¥1,000. Register between 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Recommended for: Families with children above elementary school age and really anyone who wants to dress up for the event
© Photo by Dennis Amith
Tokyo’s No. 1 spot for parades and celebrations — the streets of Omotesando — host a massive 1-km-long procession for Halloween, inviting everyone from kids to adults (and celebrities) to join in. It’s one of the most kid-friendly Halloween events in Tokyo, and you’ll find a number of shops in Omotesando Hills and other areas offering trick-or-treat surprises and gifts for the little ones. For a total heartwarming experience, check out the “Pumpkin parade,” featuring only kids under the age of 12! It’s the cutest thing ever.
When: Sun, Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Harajuku, Omotesando area, Omotesando Hills
Recommended for: Families with little children; anyone who wants to party safely and just enjoy Halloween
Odaiba Halloween Ghost Ship
Tired of partying outside? Here you can enjoy the Halloween atmosphere while taking a cruise around Tokyo Bay — but watch it, it’s haunted by ghosts. This unique event gathers up to 250 people for a two-day party on board of a cruising ship starting from Tokyo Big Sight Terminal and cruising around Odaiba, Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower and other famous sightseeing spots. There will be live DJ music and a best-costume prize. No better way to see the best of Tokyo while partying with ghosts and more. Book in advance here.
When: Sat, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m., & Wednesday, Oct. 31, 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Where: Gather at Tokyo Big Sight Terminal
Cost: ¥4,500 (Women, ¥300 discount if wearing a Halloween costume), ¥6,000 (Men)
Recommended for: Groups of friends, couples, girls’ night out
Known as one of the best weekend destinations for families, Futakotamagawa is always well prepared when it comes to entertaining the kids. This season, the area will host a two-day Halloween event featuring various events for families and kids, including a parade, Halloween-themed stage shows and dancing, characters performance, workshops, a photo panel and so much more. Have your kids dress up as their favorite characters and spend the weekend with them at this family-friendly favorite spot.
When: Sat, Oct. 27-Sun, Oct. 28, 20178, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Until 5 p.m. on Sun) The parade starts from 3 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Where: Around Futakotamagawa station and Rise shopping mall
Recommended for: Families with kids
Tokyo Disneyland Halloween
© Photo by ©Disney
Though Disneyland is a special place to visit for any seasonal holidays, this year the park is turning things around with its first-time ever theme “ghost version of Tokyo Disneyland.” Come and see for yourself a side of the dreamland you’ve never seen before — its more eerie, spooky version. In addition to that, there will be the usual Halloween parade, special merchandise, decorations, and plenty of Halloween-inspired treats and meals to spend a significant amount of cash on. The kids will love it for sure though!
When: Now through Wed, Oct. 31, 2018
Where: Tokyo Disneyland
Cost: One-day Pass: ¥7,400 (Adults), ¥4,800 (Kids)
Perfect for: Families and kids, couples
Halloween Ghost Walk Tours
Last but not least, if costumes and tricks are not your thing, join these two spooky tours organized by the expert ghostbusters behind Haunted Tokyo Tours for a real goose-bump experience. The first tour, “Backstreet Tokyo Ghost Walk,” held on the Saturday before Halloween, will take you to Tokyo’s most notorious ghost spots, including an empty tunnel, a vertical cemetery, a ghost hill and more. The second, “Halloween: Demons of the red light district,” falling on Halloween, has an even darker side as it takes you to real sites of crimes of passion, notorious from ancient times and recent day. Book in advance and don’t be late on the day, because ghosts won’t tolerate it!
When: “Backstreet Tokyo Ghost Walk”: Sat, Oct. 27, 2018, from 7 p.m.; “Halloween: Demons of the red light district”: Wed, Oct. 31, 2018, from 7 p.m. Each tour takes two to three hours.
Where: Inquire here for details on meeting place
Recommended for: Fear-resistant people and such with strong hearts
For a list of 2018’s best Halloween-inspired buffet plans and sweets, see this article.