Favorite Haunts

Favorite HauntsRecently, there has been an increased interest in Japanese people visiting haunted places. Where are these places? Below are some of the creepiest places in Japan. What makes them so scary? Why not go find out for yourself?!

Osore Mountain —- “Mountain of Fear.”

Though not really a mountain, this area in Aomori prefecture is the traditional gateway to Hell for Japanese people. It is a volcanic wasteland with many sulpher springs that give the place the smell of rotten eggs. Many people do visit the temple and surroundings here, but only in the summer time as the area is snowy and cold in the winter months.

Suicide Forest—bottom of Mt. Fuji

This is a famous place for people to commit suicide and is responsible for nearly 70 deaths per year. The area is dense forest, so not many things grow inside. The place is also popular among sports-minded people who use the grounds for walking, jogging and sightseeing. All you have to do is get off the path, it can be very, very scary and hard to find your way back.

Kotsu Tunnel—Kamakura

This tunnel was dug to connect Kamakura to the city of Kotsu. However, the tunnel was dug underneath a cemetery of “yagura” (graves in the steep hillsides). These graves are said to be the tombs of soldiers. To have the scariest experience, walk through the tunnel at night and climb up the mountain to the graveyard.

Kamakura is also the site of a mass suicide by over 800 samurai who committed hara-kiri in front of Tosho Temple in 1333. The samurai faced being captured by imperial forces and chose the samurai way: suicide over surrender. Harakiri Yagura is a cave where the remains of the samurai were buried. Not recommended that you visit alone or at night….

If these places sound a little too scary for you, then you might want to try some of Japan’s haunted houses. Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (Kyoto Studio Park) is an entertainment park where you can see filming of Japanese period dramas. Inside the park there is a reputedly very realistic and scary haunted house.

Another is Fuji Q Highland Amusement Park’s three-story Haunted Hospital, about and hour and a half outside Tokyo. This was previously a real hospital that was abandoned and afterwards made into an attraction. Some Japanese people believe it is actually haunted.

Amy Chavez is a columnist for The Japan Times. Visit her website at http://www.moooobar.com