Haunted houses. Some people love them; some people cannot stand them. Whether you are a thrill seeker or not, there is no denying that the dark room, spooky decorations, and your anticipation for someone or something to jump out and give you the scare of your life fills you up with gushing adrenaline.
In the last article, I talked about famous haunted houses in Japan, with some holding world records. If you missed it, don’t forget to check it out here. In this article, I will be talking about more haunted houses, and also a haunted escape room!
Chilling haunted houses in Japan? How scary can they be!
The haunted houses in this article are also around or in the Tokyo area, with only one haunted house in Kyoto. Most of these haunted houses are located in entertainment areas, so it should be straightforward to find them! How scary are these haunted houses? Let’s find out!
SEGA Joypolis’ the Room of Living Dolls
SEGA Joypolis is an indoor amusement park with small rides, themed carnival games, a 3D cinema, an arcade and games, and haunted houses, located in DECKS Tokyo Beach Odaiba. For those who may not have read through the previous article yet, DECKS Tokyo Beach is also the location of another haunted house, or more accurately, “haunted school”, which was haunted by the disturbed spirits of school children. Moreover, we will talk about another haunted house located in SEGA Joyopolis, DECKS Tokyo Beach, in this article, which is the Room of Living Dolls.
Why living dolls? The reason behind the name “Living Dolls” is because of the tales that have been passed down from generation to generation about haunted dolls. Each region in Japan has their interpretation of cursed dolls, but they all share one key feature, which is that they are alive! This haunted house uses these tales and the fear that some people have of human-like dolls blinking or turning their head at them to create an atmosphere that is filled with paranormal activities.
The story of this haunted house is that, a long time ago, there was a room filled with dolls located in the back of a temple, where the toys were used in a ritual for the souls of young children who passed away. This is because they believe that the dolls could prevent the spirit of the children from being alone and feeling lonely in the afterlife. However, after a great tragedy, the temple broke down and was abandoned — the room filled with dolls laid in the demolished temple, hidden from the outside world. Nobody dares go into the sealed off room, filled with unexplainable force. The dolls waited for visitors to come by and “play” with them. Your mission is to go through rituals that would be held inside the room.
The outside of the haunted house is decorated with white paper prayers hanging from thick twisted ropes, with talismans scattered on the building and all over the door, signaling that this haunted house is home to extraordinarily evil and dangerous spirits. A small shrine with a Japanese girl ceramic doll, wearing a traditional Japanese yukata, is in one of the corners.
Inside the haunted house are shelves of ceramic and somewhat sinister-looking dolls. Once inside, you would have to put on headphones to listen to the story and follow along with the history of the room.
The Room of Living Dolls is located on the 3rd floor of SEGA Joyopolis
Age limit: Children age under seven years old are not allowed, and children age 7 to 11 years old need to be accompanied by a guardian.
Price: 600 yen
For more information, visit their website here. Available in English and Japanese.
Real Escape Game: The Haunted Manor (Survive the Urban Legend)
Foreigners might know Asakusa as being a more traditional side of Tokyo, and the location of the famous Sensoji temple and it’s large red lantern with the thick black Kanji saying “雷門”, or as translated as “thunder gate”.
What most foreigners might not know is that it is also the location of a series of escape rooms! Created by SCRAP, an entertainment company, Real Escape Game consists of several types of different themed escape rooms. They also have locations in Nagano and Kyoto, but English instructions and services are only available in Asakusa as of now. Real Escape Game is an escape game where you and your group of friends are locked inside a room, and your mission is to gather the information from your surroundings and, with all your problem-solving, wit, and analyzing skills, piece all the information together to solve the puzzle which would lead you to your freedom! The game is available in a “room type” and “field type”.
Escapes room are fun and thrilling as is, but what if it is combined with a fearful factor like a haunted house? That is what the Haunted Manor: Survive the Urban Legend is. The storyline of this escape room is that whoever entered the ‘house’ never returned, thus earning it the name “the house of no return”. Your character is a special investigator who was requested by the police to investigate and solve the mysteries inside this house.
Other than the anxiety caused by the constant pressure to find a way to escape, you will also experience the chilling atmosphere of the room and the shadowy figures that lurk in every corner of the room. Will you and your friends be able to escape the horror and return from “the house of no return”? Or will the mischievous spirits get you first?
Price: 3,200 yen
Age limit: None, although parents or guardians should accompany children.
For more information, visit their website here. Available in English, Japanese, and Chinese.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park and Studio: House of Horrors
Toei Kyoto Studio Park is another interesting tourist attraction for those who want to experience something new and different other than the famous Kinkaki-Ji gold castle or Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine that has the gorgeous vivid line of the red gate in front in Kyoto.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park also has that traditional Japanese atmosphere, with buildings and houses built to resemble what would look like Japan in the past, more specifically the Edo period. You can also see Japanese people dressed in samurai dresses here. This attraction is an active film set, meaning that on a lucky day, you will be able to see famous actors filming a show, program, or movie. Over 200 Japanese period dramas are filmed here each year! To top things off, the park also has statues of ninjas scattered all around, with one zip-lining between two houses. Other than the historical atmosphere and feeling like you have ridden a time machine back in time to a village in Edo, this place also has other attractions like optical illusion maze, anime museum, and our highlight, the house of horror.
The house of horror keeps in touch with the period-theme, with the building painted in grey, cracks on the walls, and roof tiles like the ones used in the past. You can see a big sign at the entrance of the house that translates to “scariest haunted house ever”. The haunted house was renovated in 2012, with added and upgraded lighting, sound effects, and a more complex path for visitors. The number of actors inside, waiting to spook you, also increased. You can expect to go back in time, or perhaps let the past time caught up to you when the angry samurai and warrior “spirits” creeps up to attack you. You have to navigate through each room before you can find the exit.
Price: Ticker price for park admission is 2,200 yen for individual adults, 1,980 yen for groups of 25 people or more, and 1,100 yen for adults with disabilities. The attraction costs an extra 500 yen to enter.
Age limit: n/a
For more information, visit their website through clicking here. Available in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
Asakusa’s Hanayashiki: Sakura no Onrei
Do you know the name of the first and oldest amusement park in Japan? Most foreigners might not know the answer, which is the Hanayashiki amusement park, located in Asakusa. This amusement park was built in 1853 and still operates until today. It was first built to be a flower park, then a zoo was added, although the zoo no longer exists. Over time, the park was renovated and became an amusement park. Being the first and oldest amusement park in Japan, this park has many histories in itself and still stuck with the traditional Japanese style of amusement park, which is a contrast to the tall building and busy roads just outside the gate. If you want to know more about the interesting facts and history of the park, there is a “History Walk” that you can take, where headsets are given to inform you the facts as you make a trip down the memory lane. The park also has different types of rides, attractions, games, and of course, a haunted house.
Sakura no Onrei is a haunted house in Hanayashiki amusement park, with a chilling story. Before we get to the actual story, it is rumored that real ghosts possessed this haunted house. Given the park’s old age and long history, this rumor is not quite a surprise, especially that the whole park kept its theme of traditional and old period Japan.
The story of this haunted house has been passed down since the Edo period, when it was built, and is about the famous flower of Japan, the sakura. However, you can erase the image of gorgeous sakura trees during cherry blossom season, because this story is about vengeful spirits. The story says that back in the Edo period, a sakura tree was cut down, causing the spirits residing in the tree to be filled with rage and cursed everyone. Once you enter the haunted house, you will be transferred back in time, to 400 years ago in Japan. The old and dark atmosphere, mixed with rumors and stories of the haunted house, and the “ghosts” residing inside, could definitely send chills down a person’s spine.
Price: Admission to the park costs 1,000 yen for those aged 13 to 64, 500 yen for those aged 7 to 12 and over 65, and free to those with a physical disability (must provide physical disability certificate). Freeride pass (admission not included) is 2,300 yen for adults and children 13 years old and above.
Age limit: n/a
For more information, click here to visit their official website. Available in English and Japanese.
Are You Up For the Challenge in these Chilling Haunted Houses in Japan?
Japan has countless activities to offer, but if you are seeking for something thrilling and that keeps you on edge, visiting a haunted house in Japan can be one of the best choices. Most of these haunted houses are located in a place with other different types of attractions, so if you ever feel the need to take a break from getting your heart raced up, you can always enjoy the other fun activities that each place has to offer. Visit them with your family, friends, or lover, so you have someone to hold on to when the “ghosts” jumps at you!
Baimon / Thailand