Vampires, werewolves and the occasional zombie lurch into the streets as everyone kicks into party mode for Halloween in Japan. While Tokyo is most well known for its crazy night of cosplay on the streets of Shibuya (where drinking is now unfortunately banned for this year), Osaka can really hold its own when it comes to groovy ghoulies.
Each year, thousands descend upon Osaka’s Sankaku Koen (Triangle Park) on the last Saturday before Halloween (Oct. 26 this year), to soak up the atmosphere, marvel at the creative costumes and just enjoy the general weirdness of the whole thing. While Triangle Park may be the focal point of the city’s Halloween festivities, there are a number of venues holding exciting events of their own.
Whether you want to show off your cosplay game, get scared sh*tless by zombies, or just enjoy the spooky atmosphere, this year promises events planned to suit all ages, tastes, and budgets. Check it out below!
Osaka Sankaku Koen, Amemura
Sankaku Koen (Triangle Park), in Amemura at the heart of Osaka’s bustling Shinsaibashi district, serves as the focal point for all of Osaka’s Halloween celebrations, as cosplayers from across the country gather to strut their stuff.
Unlike Tokyo’s Shibuya district, convenience stores around Sankaku Koen will be stocked and ready with your favorite alcoholic beverages and you can stand back and enjoy a drink with your friends as you soak up the atmosphere and admire the sights and sounds of this unforgettable event.
Given its location in the heart of Osaka’s Shinsaibashi nightlife district, Sankaku Koen is also surrounded by bars, restaurants, and clubs that will be hosting their own after-parties.
Universal Studios Japan Halloween Horror Nights
Going toe to toe with Tokyo Disney for the title of Japan’s premier theme park, Universal Studios Japan always pushes the proverbial boat out (sometimes into shark-infested waters) when Halloween comes around.
From now until Nov. 5, Universal Studios Japan is offering the latest incarnation of their famous “Halloween Horror Night.” Among the attractions, you can enjoy being chased across the park by a hoard of zombies (if that’s your kind of thing!) or even have a run-in with some undead pirates.
The popular “Biohazard: The Extreme” escape room experience makes a return this year, with a fresh (or should that be putrid) new look for 2019. Based on the popular Biohazard (Resident Evil in the west) series of video games, the 2019 incarnation of this popular attraction has been remodeled based around last January’s hit game Biohazard RE:2.
Choosing to follow the path of either rookie police officer Leon Kennedy, or his companion Claire Redfield, you and your friends must negotiate a series of rooms filled with not only zombies but all manner of other terrifying creatures from the recent video game. Survive long enough and you may even have an encounter with everyone’s favorite trenchcoat-wearing bioweapon, the fearsome Mr. X.
Long-running attractions will also, for a limited time, get something of a Halloween twist. Japan’s favorite well-dwelling undead, Sadako will be popping in to say “Die!” when you least expect it.
USJ also has events to cater to the fainter of heart. “Kowa Kawaii Halloween” is a fun and interactive Halloween experience that runs all day throughout the park. Younger visitors and those of a nervous disposition can enjoy seeing their favorite Sesame Street, Shrek, Minions, and many more don cutesy Halloween costumes and partake in parades, live shows and a host of other fun games and events throughout the day.
Universal Studios Japan
Halloween Night Zoo at Tennoji Zoo
OK, don’t get too excited, you’re not going to see any Resident Evil-style zombie dogs here. Nonetheless, Tennoji Zoo’s annual Halloween Night Zoo is a great night out for all the family. The zoo takes on a whole new dynamic at night with the focus shifting to the zoo’s many nocturnal creatures. There will also be Halloween decorations, Halloween-themed menus and activities like face painting for the kids, along with special performances at the park’s plaza.
The night zoo will be held this weekend on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27. This is a kid-friendly event, but since it’s Halloween, you never know, there just might be the odd spooky animal surprise in store.
Osaka Tennoji Zoo
Umeda Halloween Costume Party at Owl
Owl, a popular foreigner-friendly club, is hosting their annual Halloween Costume Party from this Friday until Thursday, Oct. 31. Based on the theme of a creepy AF haunted school, there will be food and drink promotions, live music and performances, too. The highlight of the whole celebration is the costume contest, with big prizes in store for whoever has the best outfit.
2019 Osaka Halloween Pub Crawl
Organized by The Osaka Pub Crawl Group which hosts regular social events in the city throughout the year, the Osaka Halloween Pub Crawl 2019 takes place on Saturday, October 26. Over the course of the evening, participants will drink at a few different bars around the main Halloween party area, enjoying a free shot in each and other drinks promotions and discounts. The evening finishes with free entry to a local nightclub for a Halloween-themed party. Judging by the pics from previous years’ events, this looks like a super fun night out—if you can remember it!
Halloween Pub Crawl