You’ve been to Roppongi and Shinjuku, but do you know what lurks there at night? (Other than hawkers for hostess bars, that is.) If you’re looking for something different to do while visiting Tokyo, a ghost tour of the city with Haunted Tokyo Tours is a great way to spend the afternoon. The walking tours are conducted in English, and there are several to choose from. Upcoming tours include “Demons of the Red-Light District,” “Graveyard Mystery Tour,” “Ghosts and Demons of Shinjuku,” and “Ghosts and Goblins of Old Japan.”
I took the “Graveyard Mystery Tour” in late Dec. 2010. Lilly, our guide for the afternoon, has lived in Japan for about 20 years and is very knowledgeable about the history of Japan and Tokyo, Japanese culture, and Japanese concepts of death and the occult. The tour focused on Tokyo’s oldest graveyard, Aoyama Reien (青山霊園) and its occupants, from generals to foreign missionaries, the often strange circumstances of their deaths, and the happenings thereafter. I really like exploring graveyards, but without a guide, I’m usually lost in the Japanese ones. Overall it was a great experience: the tour ran on time; the meeting location was easy to find; and I learned a lot of good stories and historical facts.
Most tours are open to about 20 participants. Tours average 2-3 hours and cost 3000 yen per person, which you can pay in cash before the tour starts. Whether you’re a history buff, ghost hunter, or just someone who wants to learn more about Japanese culture, sign up and see a side of Tokyo you’ve never seen!
Updated (Aug. 2011): HTT has a new website: check the schedule of tours and click “buy now.” You can pay with paypal or a credit card. Contact Director Lilly Fields at hauntedtokyotours[AT]hotmail[DOT]com or by calling 080-3573-6838 for more information.
Leah Zoller is a second-year CIR and the editor of this blog. She’s glad this subset of ghosts lives in Tokyo and not Ishikawa.