I arrived late in Tokyo around 10:30pm by train from Kyoto. After settling into my hostel it was already 11:30pm. Since it was Halloween I decided to head out to one of the main districts; Shibuya to see if there was anything interesting going on. To be honest I wasn't really expecting anything in particular since Halloween is mostly a western tradition. But dang, I was wrong...
As soon as I got off the train I could sense there was definitely something going on in Shibuya. The station was packed to the brim full of people and railway officers were stationed at every corner trying desperately to control the masses. I actually learned later from some of the party goers that Halloween was basically a non-event 5 years ago in Tokyo. It was mostly a thing celebrated by Japanese students studying English at events organised by their schools. It wasn't until recently that Halloween exploded in the scene and became a massive event.
When I exited the station and onto the famous Shibuya crossing, the atmosphere was insane. If you thought Shibuya was hectic on a busy day, this was even crazier! You could tell that some of the costumes were influenced by Japanese anime. Taking a lot of inspiration from the cosplay community in Japan.
One thing I noticed straight away was that people were very open to having their photos taken. It was refreshing for me because I had just finished a trip to Central and South America where most of the time people were a lot more reserved about being in front of a camera.
After exploring awhile, I wandered into an open street that had been shut down for Halloween. It was completly overrun by party goers all parading up and down showing off their costumes. In the middle there was a guy holding a boom box over his head blasting some sick beats. Naturally people started to congregated around him and pretty soon there was a massive dance party happening - it was like walking into a music festival.
Every now and then a circle would open up and one by one dancers jumped into the middle to show of some of their moves.
By 1:00am I was beginning to get pretty tired so I called it a night and made my way back to my hostel. Considering there were so many people still out, I was shocked to find out that the trains had stopped and the station would be closed until 4:30am. I was now stranded in Shibuya for another 3 hours! With no way home and taxi's in Tokyo being super expensive at this hour, I decided to headed back and continue partying until the trains reopened.
Overall Halloween in Tokyo was an amazing experience that I was very surprised to experience while I was in Japan. If you find yourself in Tokyo during Halloween make sure you head down to Shibuya to check it out. This years celebrations were insane, though I have a feeling Halloween is only going to get bigger and better in Japan.
THANKS FOR READING
Hi, I'm Phillip Lay — I love to travel, I'm passionate about photography and I love sharing my experiences. Let me inspire you to travel more with some stories, photography, and useful tips from my travels. Join the newsletter and receive exclusive email updates by signing up below...