There is one more thing about Halloween in Japan that needs to be told, and requires a whole article on its own. I am talking about the Halloween parades.
The biggest in the Kanto region, the region with Tokyo and Yokohama cities, is the Kawasaki Halloween parade. Kawasaki is a big city in the metropolis, halfway between Tokyo in the north and Yokohama in the south.
The parade starts near Kawasaki station, goes along the main road and ends in La Cittadella, an Italian looking shops and restaurant complex. The main road where the groups parade along is partially closed to traffic, and packed with bystanders.
This year's parade is held on Sunday October 25th, and like every year it will surely draw a lot of people who want to either participate in the parade or watch it from outside. Just browsing the statistics from last year's event, I saw that about 2,500 people signed up to be among the participants.
Now, as devoted as the Japanese may be, as endowed of group spirit as they are, there is more to it than simply wear some costume and walk for one hour...
The parade is a competition, where the best costume wins stunning prizes. This year is going to be a lot of money and a trip to Italy. Wow! It makes me want to sign up as well and try my best Halloween attire...
I am not particularly fond of noisy halloween celebrations in general, but I have to say that I was impressed by the high level of this parade in Kawasaki when I saw it the first time.
First of all, participants boast top notch costumes and special effects makeup. I guess it makes sense if they want to win a prize. Skin as pale as a ghost, eyes as white as milk, blood stains and traces skillfully placed on their clothes, severed heads carried on the beheaded body's lap, axes stuck on skulls and many more details to give goosebumps.
Definitely most people opt for the scary to the horrific look, but that's not all. There is a generous portion of the participants who like to be cute even for halloween, so there are lots of feline full body costumes, or other cute animals, colorful costumes, princesses, counts, countesses, dolls and so on.
Then, an evergreen in probably all countries, there are also sexy costumes. Still with a lot of blood and dark bags under the eyes, but totally catchy. I saw sexy geishas, sexy police women, sexy vampires, sexy witches, sexy nurses, lot of skin exposed and the like.
I particularly liked those groups that picked horror movie characters or superheroes, or manga characters. They were...so real!
Groups are usually big, and carry on a theme. Often there is a cart, or shall I say float (like the ones you see at carnival parades), recalling the group's theme and accompanying the members in the group all along the route. On the float, DJ's in halloween costumes playing their tunes and entertain all bystanders.
After the parade is finished and the winner announced, it is party time. A clubbing event is held, where famous and less famous DJs play music until midnight. Also, participants in their costumes will likely hang around, so that people or professional photographers can take pictures of them.
In occasion of the Halloween celebrations, other themed events take place in La Cittadella, like horror movies airings and theatre plays.
It is definitely late for you to sign up and participate to the competition, but you can still spend one afternoon in Kawasaki to just be part of an unforgettable Halloween.
Kawasaki is reachable by JR lines or Keikyu lines. The parade is right outside of the West exit.
More details about the event can be found at http://lacittadella.co.jp/halloween_english/