One of the many reasons why people think that Halloween is getting popular is because of the amusement parks which popularized the holiday with events. For example, Tokyo Disneyland as well as Tokyo Disney Sea celebrates by having its decorations around the park alongside the Halloween parade, while Universal Studios Japan has their Horror Nights which started in 2012. Other speculations of why Halloween is popular is in the cosplaying culture that is already present, as well as the JET program. Most college students celebrate the holiday compared to children. Every culture is different so with Halloween, Japanese adapt with the parts that better fit with their culture.
Other ways Japan celebrates Halloween is in their food. Some fast food restaurants in Japan have released special menu items for Halloween, such as McDonald’s orange and black colored squid ink burger and the Pumpkin Oreo Mcflurry. Burger King also has the black burger, and KFC has the pumpkin biscuits. Tokyo Disneyland has their pitch black sausages and other spooky treats such as the black gyoza dog and the special black sausage. In Universal Studios Japan there is “The Dark Restaurant” that is opened to a limited of 200 guests per night where the guests dine in the dark with the dead chef that was brought back to life. Some candy makers release special Halloween editions of sweets such as the Pumpkin Kit Kats, Mister Donut Hello Kitty Halloween donuts, “Krispy Skreme” donuts, Halloween themed menus are participating stores, and many more.
Many of the major Japanese cities, towns, and shopping malls hold Halloween events and parties for the holiday.
Some Halloween celebrations around Japan include:
Kawasaki Halloween Parade in the Kanagawa Prefecture just outside of Tokyo: One of the largest and most famous parade held annually with over 2,500 people participating this year! During the event there is a parade as well as cosplay contests and a Halloween film festival along with guest DJs.
Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills Arena: Open for people who come in costume to get candy and other prizes.
Hakata District of the Fukuoka Prefecture: Participants walk from the Hakata Riverain to Canal City Hakata, and in the afternoon there will be a costume party.
Shibuya of the Tokyo Prefecture: Shibuya Adult Halloween event and this year was the first Halloween costume contest on a train.
Yokohama Yamate Seiyoukan Halloween Walk: A parade that has an open café, face painting, and candy. Just pick up a stamp card to collect stamps for a prize in 13 locations.
Rokkō Island in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture: This includes the various mini parades, Cosplay contests, and Halloween workshops for carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns as well as a haunted house.
Kitayama Halloween Festival in Kyoto: Different kinds of musical events, pumpkin carving, Cosplay contests and Halloween themed parties. It’s an all-day affair that includes the Halloween Food Village with stands selling all kinds of Halloween themed goods and candies.
Harajuku Omotesando: Hello Halloween Pumpkin Parade where over 1,000 children dress up to form a parade. They also have a map where children could follow to get sweets from participating stores.
Aoyama festival: This is under the theme international friendship and on the last day they have an event where kids wear costumes and say trick-or-treat and the participating stores give them candy.
There are many other events than these but here are just a few examples in Japan, and some are actually celebrated the weekend or week before. Although, it is still rare to see pumpkin carvings or trick-or-treating. Nevertheless, the holiday is still growing. So go out there and have fun on this spooktacular holiday whether you’re in Japan or in the US.