Photo By: Thriller Night

Top 5 Horror-Themed Bars & Restaurants In Japan

Blood bag cocktails, an actual coffin and scary storytelling are all a (trick or) treat at these freaky hangouts.

It’s Halloween season again, but unfortunately, Japan isn’t really into trick-or-treating. Luckily there’s plenty of spooky and creepy restaurants and bars located around Tokyo, and a few other cities as well, that are sure to make your blood curdle. Here are the five best places to eat and drink with ghosts and ghouls all season long — they range from a tad touristy to totally bizarre.

Thriller Night

What really makes this bar a “thriller” is that once an hour the lights turn out and a performer gets up on stage to tell you a scary story.

Photo by: Jake Stroth Look for this sign!

The storytellers have real talent and their spooky sound effects and perfectly controlled voice will make you forget you’re just sitting in a restaurant.

Photo by: Thriller Bar Inside the bar.

During the storytelling — other scary surprises in the bar add to it— as to what it is, we’ll leave it up to your imagination for now! The tales themselves are told in Japanese only, so you’ll need a certain level of the language to actually understand it. Thriller Night is really awesome, but honestly, as a drinkin’ spot, it’s pretty unremarkable. You get an hour of all you can drink and sometimes the staff will come by and chat with you casually about horror stories.

Photo by: Jake Stroth Thrills and chills.

  • https://thriller-tokyo.com
  • 7 p.m.-5 a.m. (closed on Sundays)
  • Kabukicho, Tokyo; Sapporo, Hokkaido - See website for access.
  • Scare Meter: 5/5
  • Tourist comfort level: 0/5 (No English menu)
  • ¥3,980 an hour

Vampire Cafe

Draped in shadow and red velvet, this Ginza restaurant offers you the chance to be served by the city’s finest lords of the night. All the little details of this restaurant from the tome-like menu to the actual bell you ring to call the vampires makeup the eerie and morbid atmosphere any horror-lover needs.

Vampire Cafe

Photo by: Vampire Cafe Vampire Cafe special Halloween foods.

The food is bloodsucker themed, as well, with a pizza shaped like a fancy letter to a vampire soiree and a spider made out of ice cream. It looks creepy, but thankfully the food is so delicious it might be worth being turned into a vampire to get. You can even order a whole chicken they will set on fire for you!

An interior draped in red velvet and candlelight.

As you would expect from immortal beings, the vampire staff is familiar with foreign customers and you won’t need Japanese to enjoy the delicious “death pasta” or a cocktail with a witch finger in it. Call 03-3289-5360 to make a reservation. As far as access, take the Ginza station B3 Exit and walk a few minutes.

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides

Akabane Reien

Akabane Reien (Akabane Cemetery in English) lacks production value, but it does have lots of heart and originality. The two-hour-all-you-can-drink (and sing!) is incredibly cheap, and while you’re partying, the bar’s owner will do his best to scare the shit outta ya with ingenious contraptions he’s hidden within the restaurant (so make sure you’re chewing carefully).

Photo by: Jake Stroth Outside the bar.

The bar, which is on the outskirts of Tokyo, is pretty small, but it’s bursting with skulls, weird test tubes, mannequin heads, and a very creepy painting of a Japanese woman. There’s also some, uh, interesting food choices like a “bunch of hair” or wieners that are certainly… graphic and leave nothing to the imagination. It’s not the most professional, but it sure is special.

Photo by: Jake Stroth Don’t stare into the eyes.

  • No official website
  • Hours: Opens at 7 p.m. (closed on Sunday)
  • Akabane - Map
  • Scare Meter: 3/5
  • Tourist comfort level: 0/5 (No English menu or staff)
  • ¥2,500 an hour for men and ¥2,000 an hour for women. Food is ¥500 per item.

Yurei

This Kichijoji haunt is a fun little izakaya filled with games, ghosts and, of course, a coffin! One highlight of Yurei is the roulette game where each participant chooses from a plate of food and the loser “dies” and gets a mouth full of wasabi (which might make you wish you were really dead). The loser gets a traditional Japanese ghost headband and has to do a ritual to be able to leave the bar alive.

yurie cups

Photo by: suuuu1024 Skeletal cups.

Even if you don’t do that game, at this bar, you may even get lucky enough to stage your own funeral in the on-site coffin. All the servers are ghosts who have their own unique cocktail related to their cause of death, and if you order it they will tell you their tale of woe. Not all the staff speak a lot of English, but they are ready to try and very welcoming to foreigners.

Photo by: k_reina_k Stage your own funeral here!

The Lock Up

The most famous option on this list, The Lock Up, is a prison-themed izakaya where the presentation of the food and drinks takes center stage. The themed drinks are especially fun and include outlandish concoctions like a chemistry set, blood bag and “time bomb” pills, which are ¥150 each but really do get you intoxicated. Once or twice during your visit there will be a prison break and the staff will run around scaring each table/cell.

Photo by: cestmaviemdk Test tube drinks at lockup!

That’s right they really lock you up in a cell complete with iron bars. The atmosphere during the “escape” can get intense, but rest assured it’s totally safe and that the anticipation is really what will get your heart pumping. In reality, what’s most scary is the long waits both to enter and for your food and drink to be served. (It’s less crowded to go on a weekday.) This place is best enjoyed when you keep in mind it is more touristy than quirky.

Photo by: The Lock Up Will there be a jailbreak?

  • https://www.lock-up.jp (Japanese)
  • Locations: Shinjuku; Osaka; Nagoya; Omiya (Saitama) - See website for access.
  • Shinjuku, Omiya and Osaka: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Nagoya. From 4 p.m. on weekends and closes at 1 a.m. every night.
  • Scare Level: 2/5
  • Tourist comfort level: 4/5
  • ¥3,000-¥5,000

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