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Enjoy Halloween in Japan 2023: LIVE JAPAN Guide to Shibuya Halloween & Other Fun Events

Enjoy Halloween in Japan 2023: LIVE JAPAN Guide to Shibuya Halloween & Other Fun Events

Last updated: 21 September 2023

Halloween in Japan has transformed from an expat-centric celebration to an eagerly anticipated autumn festival across many parts of the country. In Tokyo, neighborhoods like Ningyocho come alive during the weekend closest to Halloween with trick-or-treating events, delighting scores of enthusiastic children.

However, these quaint community events are overshadowed by the grandeur of Shibuya Halloween. Before the onset of Covid, this event anticipated gatherings nearing a staggering million people. Such was its magnitude that Shibuya's mayor felt compelled to request people to refrain from visiting the city during Halloween festivities.

Curious about the current Halloween landscape in Japan and the various ways to revel in it this year? Let's dive deeper!

Main image: PIXTA

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Shibuya Halloween 2023: 'Stay Away from Shibuya in Halloween'?
  2. 2. Halloween costumes in Japan
  3. 3. Halloween events in Tokyo and beyond
  4. 4. Enjoy a Ghost Tour in Japan
  5. 5. What do Japanese think about Halloween?

1. Shibuya Halloween 2023: 'Stay Away from Shibuya in Halloween'?

Photo: PIXTA
Photo: PIXTA

Each year, Shibuya becomes a magnet for Halloween celebrations, drawing huge crowds of giddy, costume-wearing individuals.

For many young adults, the festivities revolve around dressing up, meeting friends for drinks, clubbing, and capturing memories with photos of everyone in their outfits. Many revelers eagerly participate in unofficial street parties and wander the area’s streets in search of fun.

However, in recent years, the aftermath of these celebrations has become concerning. The holiday has been marred by various issues, including excessive trash, noise complaints, and acts of vandalism. Some international visitors have even expressed the misconception that it's permissible to overindulge in alcohol and behave recklessly in Shibuya during Halloween. The situation escalated dramatically in 2018 when a car was overturned by the crowd.

The tragedies aren't limited to Shibuya. A devastating incident occurred during Halloween celebrations in Seoul's Itaewon entertainment district, where over 150 people tragically lost their lives in a crush.

Such incidents have prompted significant changes in the approach to Halloween celebrations. For public safety reasons, the Shibuya City government decided to ban public drinking in specific areas of Shibuya that usually attract a large number of partygoers. This includes parks and streets.

In 2023, there is no official “Shibuya Halloween,” but it's anticipated that many will still converge on Shibuya Crossing in their costumes.

To address these concerns, Shibuya's Mayor Hasebe held a press conference on September 12, 2023, urging people not to gather around the Shibuya Station area for Halloween. The mayor's message is simple: "Don't come to Shibuya for Halloween." As an additional measure, there will be a substantial police presence to assist with crowd control.

For Halloween 2023, the drinking ban will be in place on the following dates/times
  • October 27: 6 PM to midnight
  • October 28: Midnight to 5 AM, 6 PM to midnight
  • October 29: Midnight to 5 AM, 6 PM to midnight
  • October 30: Midnight to 5 AM, 6 PM to midnight
  • October 31: Midnight to 5 AM, 6 PM to midnight
  • November 1: Midnight to 5 AM
Area under public drinking ban in Shibuya for Halloween (Image © Shibuya City Office; English annotations added)
Area under public drinking ban in Shibuya for Halloween (Image © Shibuya City Office; English annotations added)

In Japan, convenience stores readily sell alcohol to those aged 20 and above, and drinking in public areas is generally acceptable, provided there is no nuisance to others. However, alcohol may not be available at shops in the prohibition zone, including convenience stores.

While this ban is aimed at preventing drinking in public, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other shops within the outlined area are not prohibited from selling alcohol.

Shibuya and other cities remind partygoers to enjoy Halloween responsibly. Image credit: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN / Shutterstock.com
Shibuya and other cities remind partygoers to enjoy Halloween responsibly. Image credit: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN / Shutterstock.com

In past years, Shibuya City specifically reminded that people observe a variety of other laws and manners, including no: littering; public drinking; smoking on the streets; urinating in public; vandalism; picking people up; using loud voices; fighting or violence; illegal parking; shoplifting; graffiti.

Police presence intensifies in Shibuya around Halloween. Image credit: Shawn.ccf / Shutterstock.com
Police presence intensifies in Shibuya around Halloween. Image credit: Shawn.ccf / Shutterstock.com

Shibuya is also expected to increase the presence of security and police on foot patrol, with an eye to cracking down on potential issues before they arise.

  • Shibuya Halloween
    • Address Near Shibuya Scramble Crossing, 2-2-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0043
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Shibuya Station (JR Shonan Shinjuku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Saikyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line / Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line / Tokyu Toyoko Line / Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line / Keio Inokashira Line)
    • Phone Number 00-0000-0000

2. Halloween costumes in Japan

Image credit: Opasbbb / Shutterstock.com
Image credit: Opasbbb / Shutterstock.com

In major cities across Japan, particularly in nightclubs, bars, and theme parks, you'll find people enthusiastically donning a diverse array of Halloween costumes.

Traditional favorites like witches, ghouls, vampires, devils, and nurses are now joined by a vibrant cast of characters from video games, anime, and movies.

While there are no strict regulations against wearing costumes on trains, locals typically bring their attire with them and change at their destination to avoid inconveniencing others.

In previous years, businesses often provided changing booths for costume adjustments, but in 2023, it seems public changing facilities may not be readily accessible.

Many opt for store-bought costumes, available at places such as the Disney Store, Don Quijote, and Daiso. For savings on purchases at Don Quijote, you can also check the link below.

As changing areas tend not to store personal property, you will want to locate the nearest coin locker nearby. Tokyo Metro's "Coin Concierge" lets you quickly locate available coin lockers near major train stations.

3. Halloween events in Tokyo and beyond

Image credit: modchan / Shutterstock.com
Image credit: modchan / Shutterstock.com

If you're looking to enjoy a fun Halloween in Japan, theme parks are especially exciting places to visit instead of Shibuya Crossing! In addition, many nightclubs around Japan will be holding Halloween-themed parties and cosplay competitions.

  • Characters at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea will be changing in fun, Halloween-themed ways, with a huge parade in the evening.
  • At Sanrio Puroland, Hello Kitty and friends will be dressing up in adorable Halloween-themed outfits, while in the evening, there will be frightful experiences to entertain young and old alike.
  • Fuji-Q Highland will be running several Halloween-themed events, including a dance party on October 21-22 and a fun Thomas Land event from September 16 to October 31.
  • Universal Studios Japan also runs special Halloween-themed rides, plus a haunted house and other ghostly attractions.
  • Check out some of the other top-rated fun activities you can enjoy on Halloween below!

4. Enjoy a Ghost Tour in Japan

As the sun sets and twilight descends upon the Land of the Rising Sun, a different side of Japan awakens. From the quiet alleyways of Takayama to the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo, from Kyoto's age-old mysteries to the ethereal beauty of Arashiyama's bamboo groves, embark on a journey that intertwines tales of the supernatural with rich cultural insights. Step softly, for every shadow may hold a story, every whisper a legend.

1. Ghost Stories and Nightlife Tour of Takayama: Wander through the tranquil streets of Takayama's old town, where spine-chilling tales come to life. Listen to haunting stories in the very places they occurred before diving into the heart of the city's vibrant nightlife, complete with games and local delicacies. Round off your night at a cozy watering hole and embrace the city's unique after-hours ambiance.

2. Tokyo's Scariest Shitamachi Ghost Tour: Delve into Tokyo's eerie shadows with our cultural expert who unveils the city's spine-tingling history and folklore. This tour promises more than just a shiver down your spine, especially for the faint-hearted. But fear not, families with kids can still enjoy, as our guide ensures tales remain child-friendly while retaining their thrilling essence.

3. Dark Kyoto Tour: Traverse the less traveled paths of Kyoto, a city renowned for its beauty yet intertwined with the macabre and mysterious. From the Yasaka Shrine through Gion's alleys to Kiyomizu Temple, uncover a haunting history spanning over a millennium. Along the way, discover ancient burial grounds, haunted candy shops, underworld portals, and eerie monuments. Beyond the shadows, you'll gain insights into Japan's deep-rooted cultural and religious beliefs.

4. Ghost Hunting in the Bamboo Forest at Night: Explore Arashiyama's enigmatic allure after dusk. Navigate through the Bamboo Forest's moonlit corridors, marvel at the luminous Kimono Forest, and bask in the beauty of the Katsura River from the Togetsukyo Bridge. Concluding at Saga-Arashiyama Station, this tour guarantees a thrilling journey through Arashiyama's mysterious nocturnal landscape.

5. What do Japanese think about Halloween?

5. What do Japanese think about Halloween?

As Shibuya is such a popular Halloween destination, you might wonder how the Japanese think about celebrating there. In October 2019, the Japan DJ Association conducted a survey of 138 Japanese men and women over age 18 to see what their attitudes were toward Halloween and how people plan to celebrate. Some of the results were very interesting!

First, of the 138 respondents, 51% said they were interested in Halloween. But when asked whether they would do anything for Halloween, 26% said they would do “something,” while 18% said they would do something but “haven’t decided on a specific thing.”

When asked where they would spend Halloween, most (over 70%) responded they would spend it at their or a friend’s home, while around 20% said they would be at a restaurant. Other popular answers were that they would go to a club, theme park, or elsewhere.

But when asked why they answered this way, the top 3 were that they didn’t want to get involved in some trouble due to poor security, that it was crowded, that they didn’t want to be bothered, and that they were concerned it would be difficult to get home.

Many said that they wanted to join in the Shibuya Halloween scene they see on TV because it seems fun, but year by year, it seems to be more of a troublesome occasion.

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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